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“With all due respect, I’m far from a slut”, the hidden social justice advocate in Maury Povich

by Ethan Tussey

by Anonymous for IN MEDIA RES

Daytime television has mostly been overlooked by academics even though the long-time standing of daytime television shows seem to have a deep cultural impact. In this posting, I want to focus on how the Maury show frames domestic violence through their two narratives of abusive relationships.

The first narrative can be seen in the structure of the episode “Like Father Like Son…It’s Our Right to Abuse Our Women!”. The show begins by Maury talking to the women in abusive relationships who admit they are abused by their husbands and that their husband has an effect on their life. The show then introduces the husband, who reinforces what the wife has admitted, and usually admits to more things the woman does mandatorily for him. This narrative makes the husband evil by looking at the effects of the wife in the relationship. In this light, the wife and her sphere of influence is the focal point to how we, the audience, react to the husband.

The second narrative is in the structure of the episode “Women Can’t Think For Themselves...They Need To Be Controlled!”. In this narrative, the show begins by having the husband talk to Maury about how he believes women should be treated. In particular, the husband said women who hyphenated their last name versus women taking their husband's name after marriage, are “sluts”. The show’s producer then comes to the stage (clearly a very educated person) and said “with all due respect, I’m far from a slut”, in which the audience booed the husband. The husband is evil based on his beliefs and actions after he talked to Maury, and the woman is shown to suffer from his thinking.

The difference in these narratives is how we, the audience, view domestic violence. To see the woman and her environment, we get a more holistic view of the environment of abuse. To see the man solely, we get a narrowed perspective of abuse where he is the sole core of the abusive relationship, leading to more implications than facts. Regardless Maury clearly thinks domestic violence is wrong, giving all abusive relationships some kind of intervention therapy in the end. Yet these two different narrative structures are important in that it reveals how abuse can be framed.  

“With all due respect, I’m far from a slut”, the hidden social justice advocate in Maury Povich

by Ethan Tussey

by Anonymous for IN MEDIA RES

Daytime television has mostly been overlooked by academics even though the long-time standing of daytime television shows seem to have a deep cultural impact. In this posting, I want to focus on how the Maury show frames domestic violence through their two narratives of abusive relationships.

The first narrative can be seen in the structure of the episode “Like Father Like Son…It’s Our Right to Abuse Our Women!”. The show begins by Maury talking to the women in abusive relationships who admit they are abused by their husbands and that their husband has an effect on their life. The show then introduces the husband, who reinforces what the wife has admitted, and usually admits to more things the woman does mandatorily for him. This narrative makes the husband evil by looking at the effects of the wife in the relationship. In this light, the wife and her sphere of influence is the focal point to how we, the audience, react to the husband.

The second narrative is in the structure of the episode “Women Can’t Think For Themselves...They Need To Be Controlled!”. In this narrative, the show begins by having the husband talk to Maury about how he believes women should be treated. In particular, the husband said women who hyphenated their last name versus women taking their husband's name after marriage, are “sluts”. The show’s producer then comes to the stage (clearly a very educated person) and said “with all due respect, I’m far from a slut”, in which the audience booed the husband. The husband is evil based on his beliefs and actions after he talked to Maury, and the woman is shown to suffer from his thinking.

The difference in these narratives is how we, the audience, view domestic violence. To see the woman and her environment, we get a more holistic view of the environment of abuse. To see the man solely, we get a narrowed perspective of abuse where he is the sole core of the abusive relationship, leading to more implications than facts. Regardless Maury clearly thinks domestic violence is wrong, giving all abusive relationships some kind of intervention therapy in the end. Yet these two different narrative structures are important in that it reveals how abuse can be framed.  

Domestic Abuse and Maury Povich

A clip from "The Maury Povich Show"

from The Maury Povich Show (2015)
Creator: Maury Povich
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey
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