MOST PEOPLE have personal experience of a woman who is violent, and they accept it as a normal part of her personality, according to new research.
Susannah Chappell, a researcher at the Open University, found that society sees violent women in five different stereotypes that can be found in real life and fiction.
Presenting her findings on "Violent Women - Reality or Media Hype?" to the British Psychological Society conference yesterday, Ms Chappell said the most extreme form manifested itself in the fictional portrayal of "the bitter and twisted revenge-seeker". A classic example in film, she said, was the psychotic nanny played by Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. "Society believes that more women are becoming violent," said Ms Chappell. "The research showed that there was a split between the portrayal of a new breed of uncontrollable violent women on television and in film and the more mundane violence of everyday life." The study analysed the responses of 100 people who were asked to think of a violent person, real or fictional. They rated them on a 13-point scale for 81 statements such as: she is cruel and sadistic; she does not care who she hurts; she is well able to stand up for herself; she has a nasty temper. Seventy- two respondents identified a real person while six people identified a fictional character and 22 could not think of a violent woman. …