'Hit The Bitch' Anti-Violence PSA Stirs Controversy

03/18/2010 05:12 am 05:12:02 | Updated May 25, 2011

The intentions behind it may have been noble, but a Danish public service announcement about violence against women called "Hit The Bitch" has people asking just what those behind it were thinking.

Made by a Danish advocacy group as a web campaign (www.hitthebitch.dk), the site allows you to use your computer's mouse to move a gigantic hand so that it repeatedly strikes a female model in the face. The site then rates each hit on a scale beginning at "100% pussy" and ending at "100% gangsta." As you hit the woman her face begins to show bruises, and once enough blows are struck and the user reaches "100% gangsta," the woman falls down and the phrase "100% IDIOT!" appears on the screen. It then shows her sobbing and grabbing her neck in agony on the floor. The spot's message about violence is then presented in Danish while mournful music plays in the background.

The response from the handful of sites that have written about the PSA has been one of discomfort. The PSA "takes things to a a disturbing level," writes Nick McMaster at Newser. Meanwhile, Tana Ganeva of Alternet has accused the PSA of having gone "very, very wrong":

Seriously though, this seems like the end result of some people sitting around a table trying to figure out how to make domestic violence edgy and attention-grabbing. Are we really so inured to the standard imagery of wide-eyed kids cowering in the background, or the bruised faces of women?

Ganeva isn't totally dismissive of the PSA, however, and concludes her article by suggesting that since domestic violence is rarely discussed in the mainstream media, the makers of the spot may be on to something in their approach: "even though it's pretty fucking tone deaf and horrifying, are they on the right track by trying to be aggressively controversial?"

The confusion that the PSA causes for the user -- is this raising awareness to the severity of the problem, or is it unintentionally trivializing the issue -- was captured by Tim Nudd at Adweek: "Perhaps you're supposed to feel guilty, like a real-life abuser might, for continuing to hit the woman just to see what happens next? Who knows. Maybe something's getting lost in translation from the Danish," Nudd writes.

Perhaps the best way to decide is to visit the site and experience it for yourself, should you feel it's not too unpleasant to do so.

And please let us know how you feel about the PSA.

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