Contemporary screen violence is inextricable from seismic shifts in gender relations, growing schisms in personal and political belief systems, and a polarization of public sentiment, highlighted in the Anglo-American West in the election of Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit referendum in the UK.
We have witnessed growing racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism and misogyny. Some of this violence has emerged from ‘obvious’ places, such as in the extreme nationalism of the alt-right or in the recuperation of power by MRAs. In the media industries, the Weinstein scandal, among others, has revealed swaths of sex pests, abusers and rapists living on multi-million fortunes, reanimating feminist arguments about the ways in which patriarchy and capitalism are entangled in media industries themselves as well as the media they produce. At the same time, critical attention has been paid to the role of austerity, neoliberalism and widening social inequality in intensifying violent public discourses around race and ethnicity, migration, poverty, disability and mental health. In such ‘troubled times’, it is no wonder that screen cultures reveal a new, complex kind of violence. This includes a range of media, from television, film, and digital culture.