How Odd!

Part Twelve in an ongoing series…

Shaker Astraea sends me the heads-up that Reuters is at it again:

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a pub, taking her home and forcing her to iron his clothes and wash the dishes, police said Monday.

The 43-year-old man dragged the woman out of a pub in the port city of Genoa, shoved her into a car and took her to his home where he made her iron and wash dishes after threatening her, they said.

Police arrived at his house after being tipped off by a friend of the woman who watched the scene at the pub.

The man, who was apparently furious at his ex-girlfriend for leaving him, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, police said.
Of course "Guy kidnaps ex-girlfriend to get ironing done" should be filed in Oddly Enough, because it fits in just perfectly with the rest of the kooky and quirky stories that typically fill that section, like "Kung pao chicken made official for Olympics" and "Sometimes it rains cement." If there's anything as wacky as falling cement, it's men who kidnap women to force them into domestic labor! Zany!

Inevitably, when I post one of these things, someone wants to argue with me that stories about violence against women are included under the definition of "odd" meaning "rare"—and lest this comment thread devolve into the same old horseshit, let me just take a moment to point out right now that there is, unfortunately, nothing particularly rare about women being stalked, kidnapped, and/or brutalized by ex-boyfriends. The sole reason this story was included was because of the "hilarity" that he not only kidnapped her, but kidnapped her to do his chores. Ho ho ho. Wacky!

And even if this story did warrant, by virtue of being "unusual," inclusion in the "Oddly Enough" section, grouping stories about the mistreatment of women with the typical "chocoholic squirrel steals treats from shop" fare inevitably trivializes the former. That's the whole bloody point of this series—the routine trivialization of women's lives and experiences by placing stories about everything from breastfeeding to rape to dismemberment and—hey, lookee here!—more dismemberment alongside ridiculous items about water-skiing rodents.

And all I can think every time I see another story about a woman being kidnapped or beaten or raped or killed in the Odd News section is that it's the head of a snake eating its own tail: That the Odd News trivializes the mistreatment of women is both reflective of a culture that itself already trivializes the mistreatment of women and a reinforcement of that culture—thereby ensuring there will be no shortage of such stories in future. And the beat goes on…and on…and on…

[How Odd: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven.]

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