Love, American Style: Gendered Representations of Marriage in the Media

  • Melissa Ames
  • Sarah Burcon


On Valentine’s Day 2014, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was videotaped as he dragged his unconscious fiancé, and now wife, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator after delivering a punch that knocked her out. The incident, which Janay Rice claimed was a one-time event, served to draw attention to domestic violence — which is much needed given some sobering statistics about this widespread problem. For example, 4,774,000 women in the United States experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year; 18,000 women have been killed by men in domestic violence disputes since 2003; and 40–45 percent of women in physically abusive relationships are raped and/or assaulted during the relationship.1 While the coverage of the Rice incident prompted media commentary on domestic violence — bringing awareness to grim statistics such as these — it also provided an opportunity for people everywhere to voice their strong, unsolicited opinions about how Palmer should have reacted to the situation. Countless negative posts were made by the general population in the comment sections of online news stories covering the event, with many posters criticizing Palmer’s decision to stay with her husband after his abusive act. (This negative commentary prompted an equally strong online conversation, #WhyIStayed, a hashtag that encouraged women to tell their stories of domestic violence.)


Domestic Violence Wage Earner Wife Beating American Style Hollywood Film 
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Copyright information

© Melissa Ames and Sarah Burcon 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Ames
    • 1
  • Sarah Burcon
    • 2
  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganUSA

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