No Comment: Grilled Cheese and a Side of Trivialization

What’s up with the food industry trivializing domestic violence?

Last February, a passerby snapped a photo of a chalkboard (top) in the window of Smiths, a Philadelphia bar and restaurant that provides “friendly yet stellar service.” The not-so-friendly chalkboard read: “I like my beer like I like my violence … Domestic.”

A month later, Chops & Hops in Watkinsville, Ga., introduced a new item to their menu: a black and bleu [cheese] sandwich inspired by Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship. Encouraging customers to “put [their] hands on this … sandwich,” a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page reassured everyone that “Chris Brown won’t beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with a R and ends with A.”

 To make matters worse, Chef Richard Miley (the mastermind behind this daily special) revealed in an interview that he had no regrets. In fact, Miley took to the restaurant’s Facebook page in the days following to flippantly shift the onus onto the disapproving blogosphere, telling “all those so incredibly passionate about Domestic Violence to … [let] go of the keyboard and [volunteer] at a shelter.”

And just this month, I happened upon a Los Angeles-based food truck (left) emblazoned with the name “Slap Yo Mama.” The name was accompanied by a cartoon depiction of a woman with a red handprint on her cheek. The truck gets its name from a colloquial phrase popularized by the 2002 movie Friday After Next: “Tastes so good, make you wanna slap yo mama.” Though the expression does not have a formal definition, Urban Dictionary says it is derived from a situation in which someone discovers such delicious food that they become angry at their mother, whose cooking now pales in comparison—so angry, in fact, that they would slap her.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Domestic violence is not funny. Disturbing acts of abuse and assault happen to one in four American women throughout their lifetimes. Making light of this trivializes survivors’ experiences and reassures perpetrators that what they did was socially acceptable.

All I want when I go out to eat is a grilled cheese and a side of fries—hold the trivialization, please.

TOP LEFT: Photo of chalkboard from philebrity.com. CENTER RIGHT: Screenshot of burger from post on Chops & Hops’ Facebook page. BOTTOM LEFT: Photo of food truck from Christine Parker.

Comments

  1. As long as this sells, advertisers won’t stop using it. Our mission is far greater than halting the supply of this kind of “entertainment” – we need to stop the demand.

  2. Are we still at the consciousness raising stage? What an endless battle to gain respect for women.

    • yoteech – I am thinking the same thing. I am 65 years young and have been raising consciousness now for way too many years. Seems there are just a lot of people out there who prefer to remain in the dark ages. The ones who make me keep working on it are the children!

  3. I agree with this article. I’ve heard comedians crack jokes about slapping girlfriends, wives or children, and all I can think when I hear the jokes is that these people must come from abusive backgrounds.

    I actually feel sad for the people cracking the jokes.

  4. Jessica Hudson says:

    I went to Slap Yo Mama at a food truck festival… it wasn’t that good.

  5. Cheryl Cooney says:

    I lived in an abusive relationship for over 20 years and finally got the strength to leave. This is no joke, and anyone that patronizes these establishments should think – would you want your mother, sister, aunt, etc. to be a victim? Don’t trivialize this crime.

  6. The phrase slap yo mama is much older than the 2002 film mentioned above. I heard it as slap your grandma as a child back in Georgia and it was probably old then. This was said by good old down home folk who would probably never dream of slapping their grandmothers, yet the expression does carry a mock aggression and a whiff of misogyny. That whiff is raised to a reek when it is used in public to promote a commercial venture. As a male raised in the 70s ( a more enlightened and progressive era it seems to me), I feel like we are still pushing the rock uphill when it comes to gender politics.

  7. I agree that violence against women is not funny. I went to a Tracy Morgan live comedy show, and I was sitting right at the front where he could see me. He made a lotof disgusting “jokes” about things like having anal sex with an old woman and how loose she would be. He also “joked” about incest survivors and the limits they set to protect themselves.I glared at him, and he saw me, so he said soemthing like “Oh, she mad!” Then he said to my date “You with a fat girl. That’s okay- I like fat girls! They give you warmth in the winter and shade in the summer.” People were laughing.
    Then he lay down on the stage so his face was right in front of me, stuck out his toungue, and told me to give him a kiss. I didn’t want to, but I did because I was on this date and didn’t want to make a fuss.
    Everyone seemed to think this was all so funny! Are people really that obtuse?
    For some reason, being disgusting and immature seems to pass as “humor.” It’s the same in a lot of the lowbrow, misogynist “comedies” that keep coming out, mainly those ones starring Zaxk Galifinakis. The women are always such a drag, wanting the men to be responsible and considerate. I also noticed this in”Ted,” which I walked out on.
    It is really very confusing and disappoiting that so many people seem to think so little.

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