drgrainnemcmahon

researcher, feiminist

Love/ Hate : more on TW’s violence against women (tw)

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On feimineach.com: Love/ Hate : more on TW’s violence against women (tw)

Ages ago, I wrote about the very problematic portrayal of women’s bodies, and violence against women, in True Detective and TV in general. This post is on the same theme.

Love/ Hate is a crime/ gangland drama set in Dublin. It’s not often that an exportable (and/ or popular) drama is made in Ireland so I try to tune in if one crops up. I asked people in Ireland about Love/ Hate, however, and they all said the same thing to me: “No, it’s not for you. You’d hate it. It’s violent and its portrayal of women characters and experiences is often misogynistic.” That was enough to put me off. I read up about the series and agreed with my advisers. There was one scene – a rape scene – which has been written about more than others. Indeed, the series received most of its criticism because of that scene. But I was intrigued. I am not shy about violence on television (though I don’t enjoy it) and I wanted to see how it was portrayed by Irish writers, producers and directors, in Ireland.

Love/ Hate (needless to add, there are spoilers ahead) is a slick, fast-paced, beautifully-shot intense and affecting drama. I cannot speak to its accuracy in terms of gangland activity in Dublin (for I know little about it) but I would be surprised if it wasn’t a little farcical, convenient, and silly. Nonetheless, I don’t doubt that its portrayal of frequent, brutal, and indiscriminate violence is realistic, at least for the most part. (Pick up a copy of the Irish Times any day of the week to read all about it, as they say, media representations and bias notwithstanding.)

The series’ female characters are secondary, always, and are there only for titillation or to explicate the men’s stories. They seldom (three times, I can recall) have scenes without the male characters and, if they do, they are talking about men and their relationships with men. But I didn’t start this series expecting it to pass the Bechdel Test.

There is a lot of violence against women in Love/ Hate: inter-personal violence within a relationship, implied abuse of sex workers, stalking and intimidation, and, of course, that rape scene.(Rest.)

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