I guess if I’m here, I should mention something I’ve been wanting to post about:
During my General Social Psych class (which ended just a few weeks ago), I remember us discussing aggression, and the myth that letting loose and attacking something “lets it out” and helps you feel better. Doing aggressive things doesn’t lessen your aggressive feelings, but apparently seeing the effects of aggression does help. We also discussed how, similarly, if research subjects watched a video of Guy 1 beating the shit out of Guy 2, and the subjects in Group A saw a video that focused on Guy 1’s aggression, and the subjects in Group B saw a video that focused on Guy 2 getting the shit kicked out of him, Group B would have less aggressive feelings.
My teacher also told us about, a couple years/decades ago, the government was growing concerned with the amount of aggressive violence on television, but because the TV studios didn’t want to be regulated, they made a deal to curb it themselves; however, programming was edited so that there was less focus on the consequences of agression, instead of aggression itself.
So, a week ago, I was reading a review of Superman: Unbound, and the review made a comment about how you can get away with a lot more violence in children’s cartoons by making the characters on the receiving end, robotic. How many times can I remember characters ruthlessly tearing apart robots, crushing their skulls and putting arms through their chests, letting electrical wiles bust out instead of human blood vessels? Too many to remember.
So it occurred to me how related those things might be, and how bad that might be…do things like these raise our aggression? Most people are much more comfortable letting their kids watching an obviously nonhuman robot get disemboweled but by doing this are we teaching ourselves that violence is cool and to be less attuned to victims’ feelings? Maybe the horror we feel when we see someone’s bloodied, beaten face, might actually help to reinforce the idea that violence is horrific, as opposed to murdering androids who feel nothing.
Or maybe action media, like cape comics, maybe when we beat the shit out of characters, far beyond what a human could survive, maybe that’s detrimental? When Superman gets into a fight and punches people who just get back up, with no bruises or significant problems, is that doing damage? Is that reminding that violence is cool while allowing us to forget that violence does damage?
i also wanted to add that it seems like a ton of media are just looking for flimsy excuses for the hero to kill a bunch of people without consequence or regret (like turning them into zombies or robots or Nazis, etc.)