Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Campbell: Staying alive

Contextualizing women's violence and aggression: Beyond denial and demonization

Meda Chesney-Lind a1
a1 Women's Studies Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822


This commentary focuses on the role played by constructions of women's violence in the maintenance of male control over women. While actual women's violence tends to be denied, pathologized or minimized, cultural constructions (particularly in the media) of women's violence tend to demonize it. Both of these androcentric cultural processes fail to illuminate the actual sources of the gender gap in violent behavior and instead tend to normalize male aggression and to cultivate female passivity.