Carrie Underwood And Revenge Videos By Female Artists – Good Or Bad For Women?

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on January 25, 2013

Carrie Underwood released a video for her new single “Two Black Cadillacs”. Revenge videos by female artists such as this one is not the first nor will it be the last. The question is; are these types of violent videos good or bad for women? Yahoo Shine interviewed this Psychotherapist and Marriage and Family Therapist to discuss. As a mental health and wellness expert, I say that murderous revenge videos is an unhealthy representation of how to cope with infidelity and it concerns me greatly.

This particular song; “Two Black Cadillacs” by country star Carrie Underwood tells of two women who discover they are sleeping with the same man. The women murder the man with the use of their vehicles. It is my strong opinion that the display of acting out on one’s emotions in a violent manner is not good for women, it is bad for women.

Control Of One’s Angry, Violent, Murderous Impulses

In my counseling office I help women and men, adults and children, everyday to choose to be in control of their behavior making wise and healthy choices. I help people to make the choice to be mindful of and honest with themselves about what they are feeling, and choosing not to act out their aggressive impulse to others. There are healthier outlets. When being hurt by another’s actions we can choose to feel our pain, heal from our pain, learn from our pain, rise up and be all that we want to be.

Survive and thrive when hurt by another’s actions is the way to go rather than seeking out revenge, act violently, and/or committing murder!

As I explained during my interview with Yahoo Shine, I understand that a woman who has been hurt by a man’s actions of infidelity  is angry and sad. I further explained that some women when watching a revenge video they feel a sense of connection to the character in the video thereby experiencing catharsis as she relates to the hurt and actions taken by the character  I further explained during my interview: “the risks outweigh the benefits”. In essence, this catharsis for some is not a reason enough for me to grant a mental health thumbs up for this style of video. Certainly I am not one to control another’s form of art. Rather, I am simply answering the question; is it good or bad for women? Is it good or bad for us as a culture? My answer: murder as an option for infidelity is not good – bottom line.

When I help women and men who are struggling with their emotions due to infidelity I remind them that another person’s actions (e.g., infidelity) speaks about that person’s character and choices, not about yours.  I help them to find themselves through this process, not just survive but to truly thrive post such a traumatic life experience.

Another’s actions (e.g., infidelity) must not lead to a culture of acceptance of murdering that person. Good grief! Infidelity hurts, it is traumatic. My specialty is relationship issues. Each day I counsel couples who have been traumatized by infidelity, the pain it causes, and I help them with the long journey back to individual and relational wellness. Not once have I nor will I recommend to have a fantasy and then act out on that fantasy of murder. Whether a woman becomes physically violent toward a man or a man toward a woman, even though they feel they have the right to be physical due to the emotional hurt the other caused them, I explore alternative healthy options. Physical violence does not truly lead to catharsis nor emotional closure. It opens up more problems.

What another person says or does that hurts us, if we choose to act out on our venom then who have we become? It is the normalization of acting out on one’s angry impulse that exacerbates this already existing human condition. It is unwise for us as a culture to support that type of behavior for women or for men. Hence why this particular type of video is concerning from a mental health and wellness psychotherapeutic relational perspective.

Infidelity

If you wish to learn about the signs of cheating in a relationship, cheating prevention techniques, how to have a healthy long term relationship, and re-connect after relational duress, check out my practical tips for a successful relationship in ‘Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual’.

Having Homicidal Feelings Vs. Acting Out On One’s Feelings

Having feelings of wanting to hurt another person who has hurt us is not odd or problematic in and of itself, although it could be. The problem is when we are considering acting on those feelings. The problem is if we do act out on those feelings. Videos that normalize the acting out of murder leading to a desensitization of violence – wow, how can that be good?

Hurt Turned Inward Toward Self Vs. Outward Towards Others – Female Vs. Male Dominated Traits

Hurt turned inward (e.g., depression, anxiety) is typically displayed more in the female reaction. In treatment, women more often then men report symptoms of depression and anxiety, although there are men who do experience and seek out help for depression and anxiety. In contrast, men more often report in treatment anger management issues and aggressive impulses, in contrast to women. Hurt turned outward (e.g., anger, aggression) is typically displayed more in the male reaction. As we can see, what is deemed more “typical” for men vs. what is considered more “typical” of women’s behaviors has merged more and more through the years. What is typically considered a male dominated vs. a female dominated trait is no longer as concrete.

Much has changed for women, thus it makes sense that videos have changed when it comes to the emotional expression of anger which at one time was considered more of a male dominated trait. Let us take a moment to list just but a few of the things that has changed for women through the years that used to be more in the male dominated realm:

  • military
  • combat
  • voting
  • work
  • breadwinner
  • politics
  • power
  • business owners
  • travel for work
  • agency heads
  • undercover agents
  • police
  • infidelity statistics have risen for men and women
  • increase in gun ownership
  • women in a position of power is more accepted

Conclusion

Mental Health Thumbs Down – says this Psychotherapist. I am not in favor of murderous revenge videos by female artists in terms of the health and wellness for women nor for us as a culture overall.

Check out my interview in a well written article by Jessica Ferri in Yahoo Shine entitled: Revenge Videos by Female Artists: Good or Bad for Women?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim September 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Thank you for a well reasoned and thoughtful response to a totally unacceptable message in popular culture. I was a multi-decade domestic abuse victim. I can assuredly tell you that there is a massive double standard to the point that if a male complains at all, they are threatened with eviction from the home, potential arrest, and draconian actions by a police and court system totally engineered to presume the male is ALWAYS the perpetrator, ALWAYS violent, and NEVER a victim. The first thing I learned was to NEVER EVER call the police. The will NEVER believe you and may jail you even though you are the violence victim. This and other similar pop-culture messages do nothing but reinforce this diabolical situation for men.

Reply

Dr. Karen Ruskin September 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Thank you Jim for taking the time to comment. I am so sorry to hear of your pain. I am hopeful you are in a better place emotionally then your pained past. I am hopeful you found and received kind and helpful therapeutic care, as well as supportive friends.

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