“I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats…I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires…”–from Carrie Underwood’s hit single “Before He Cheats.”

One of the ways the double standard about domestic violence manifests itself in our popular culture is the female revenge motif. Women who are wronged (which, to some, means all women) exact revenge in a way which, were the genders reversed, would be widely condemned.

One example is country singer Carrie Underwood’s hit single “Before He Cheats”, in which Underwood (pictured holding her Louisville slugger) brags about destroying her cheating boyfriend’s car. Destroying an intimate partner’s personal property is often considered to be domestic violence (at least when a man does it), though it certainly is a much smaller matter than a physical assault on the victim.

According to Wikipedia, the video debuted at #1 on GACTV, was #1 on CMT’s Top Twenty Countdown five weeks in a row, and was named best video of 2006 by CMT. In April of this year, the video “swept the CMT Music Awards, winning three categories: Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Director of the Year. Underwood made history by being the first female to win Video of the Year.”

There has been no discernable protest or criticism of the song or the video. I find it hard to believe that a country song and a video approving of a violent, jealous man destroying his girlfriend’s car would get on the air for five minutes.

To watch the video, click here. The full lyrics to the song are reprinted below.

Before He Cheats 

Right now he’s probably slow dancing with a bleach blonde tramp, and she’s probably getting frisky… right now, he’s probably buying her some fruity little drink cause she can’t
shoot whiskey…

Right now, he’s probably up behind her with a pool-stick, showing her how to shoot a combo…

And he don’t know…

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats…I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires…

Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.

Right now, she’s probably up singing some white-trash version of Shania karaoke..

Right now, she’s probably saying “I’m drunk” and he’s a thinking that he’s gonna get lucky,

Right now, he’s probably dabbing on 3 dollars worth of that bathroom polo

And he don’t know…

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats, I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires…

Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.

I might’ve saved a little trouble for the next girl, Cause the next time that he cheats…
Oh, you know it won’t be on me!

Ohh… not on me…

Cause I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats…I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires…

Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.

[Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]

 To read more on these issues, visit Glenn Sacks’ blog at www.GlennSacks.com .

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