“Despite the heinous nature of Mayweather and Pacquiao’s attitudes towards women, hordes of people worldwide have shown themselves content to ignore their respective crimes and moral transgressions. But then, why should people feel any obligation to oppose the continued celebration of men who hate women? It’s not as if our culture imposes any penalties or punishments on them. Woody Allen and Roman Polanski are still making movies, winning awards and being defended by their Hollywood colleagues. In 2010, after almost two decades of documented violence against women, Charlie Sheen was celebrated as the highest paid actor on television. Mike Tyson, who was sentenced to six years in 1992 for rape, has been culturally rehabilitated thanks in part to the dudebro comedy franchise The Hangover. Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys in 2009, and the organisers declared that they were the real victims of the whole sordid affair.
This kind of widespread amnesia is nothing new. But it has long lasting, dangerous effects. Our society has a collective disinterest in tangibly addressing the issue of men’s entitlement to violate and control women. As a result, the lingering images of a ‘prize fight’ between two such men won’t be those of unified community condemnation. They will instead be of admiration and even wonder. They will include the memory of a slew of celebrities taking their seats to applaud at and condone a Las Vegas show stopper, along with the sounds of cheers and the pungent smell of money. And they will finish with the image of a man’s fist held triumphantly in the air before thousands upon thousands of cheering spectators – the same man who hospitalised a woman after stomping on her and punching her, with the same fist he used to beat four others.
The truth is, despite the lip service people like to pay to opposing violence against women, very few of them actually care. There are always reasons cited as to why this example is different, or why that man can’t be held to account, or how those incidents are in the past. The only thing we can ever be assured of seeing change is the faces of the men whose victories on the sporting field or behind a camera or in front of an audience are considered more important than the rights of all women to live safely and free from violence.”