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Violence Against Women in “The Sopranos” Essay

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2021

Throughout the history of humankind, women have been considered the weaker sex. While for some, this fact means that females should be protected and treasured, others regard women’s weakness as the possibility to exercise their power and physical strength. Currently, violence against women (VaW) is acknowledged as a public health problem and a violation of human rights (Krantz and Garcia-Moreno 818).

Violence against women is defined as an act of gender-based violence that results in “physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts” (United Nations General Assembly). VaW can take such forms as sexual, physical, or psychological (Krantz and Garcia-Moreno 818). Whichever of them is present in a woman’s life causes much suffering. Moral and physical outcomes of violent treatment have a detrimental effect on females, which leads to various negative health outcomes.

While it is evident that VaW has reached an unprecedented level, there are TV shows that portray the acts of VaW on a daily basis. The Sopranos, a popular TV series, involves many scenes with VaW. In different episodes, women are treated brutally and cruelly, without respect, and without thinking of the consequences. While The Sopranos is regarded as a high-quality TV show, the question arises as to why its creators deemed it not only possible but also necessary to include such scenes. In the show, there are many instances of violent treatment of women, both physical and psychological. I would like to investigate why men portrayed in The Sopranos consider it possible and acceptable to treat women with cruelty. Thus, the key term “violence” seems appropriate for the research paper.

The social nature of VaW in The Sopranos can be explained by the theory of patriarchy. As Hunnicutt remarks, it is possible to theorize VaW through the concept of patriarchy because it holds the theoretical focus of power, gender, and dominance (553).

Moreover, the patriarchy theory views the problem from a social perspective rather than an individual one. Although the term patriarchy has been widely criticized and became largely abandoned, its meanings are used by many scholars and critics who, however, tend to select other terms to signify the same notion. Thus, such “disguised language” units as sexual inequality theory, feminist perspective, and male-dominated society are employed by those who analyze VaW from the patriarchy perspective (Hunnicutt 553). In The Sopranos, there are many portrayals of the domination of males over females.

One of the ways of analyzing VaW in The Sopranos is through the depiction of sexuality in it. Miklitsch remarks that the TV show gives much attention to sexuality, aggressivity as its intimate double, and death as the drive most closely related to it (181). Miklitsch notes that the calculated and frequent recourse to violence, nudity, and graphic language is employed with the aim of popularizing the TV show (186).

However, the scholar doubts the necessity of such a frequent depiction of cruel scenes. In particular, he mentions that the real value of The Sopranos is in its combination of realism and satire (Miklitsch 187). It seems viable to agree with this opinion since, indeed, the TV series contains too many VaW issues. I would like to investigate the concept of violence in a more detailed way, and The Sopranos seems like a highly suitable material for analysis.

Works Cited

Hunnicutt, Gwen. “Varieties of Patriarchy and Violence Against Women: Resurrecting “Patriarchy” as a Theoretical Tool.” Violence Against Women, vol. 15, no. 5, 2009, pp. 553-573.

Krantz, Gunilla, and Claudia Garcia-Moreno. “Violence Against Women.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 59, no. 10, 2005, pp. 818-821.

Miklitsch, Robert. “Shot/Counter-shot: Sexuality, Psychoanalysis, and Postmodern Style in The Sopranos.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2004, pp. 181-209.

United Nations General Assembly. “Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.” United Nations. 1993. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Violence Against Women in "The Sopranos"." June 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/violence-against-women-in-the-sopranos/.

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