trensu: (bullshit)
[personal profile] trensu

In a purely artistic perspective, taking into account the efforts one has to put into filming and CGI-ing the thing, it is beautifully done. The lighting and colors were exquisite. The contrasting images (Rihanna crowding the scree with the flaming house blurred in the background; Eminem, small, in a a wide clearing and blue sky; the lovers enclosed in a poor, untidy house, racks of alcohol, a crowded bar) were a stroke of genius. They captured the frustration and hoplessness that comes into play in an abusive relationship. The confusion found in these opposing gives the audience a glimpse on how it may feel like to live in a world with inconsistency. The jarring differences shows how ambiguous, unstable, and inconsistent the relationship between the lovers is; people need to have some sort of stability in their relationships, romantic or otherwise, to maintain physical and mental health.

Musically, the song is beautiful. The drumbeats and Eminem's staccato-like phrases emphasizes the fluidity of Rihanna's voice. The lack of bass sounds during her parts accentuate the pounding during Eminem's parts. It works; it captures attention and invites the listener to sway with it. It's wonderful and inspiring.

At this point, I love this song. But then I heard the lyrics.

"High off of love, drunk from my hate."

"You ever loved someone so much you can barely breathe?"

"I love you too much to walk away now."

"I apologize even though I know it's lies."

"I promised her; next time I'll show restraint."

"Next time I'm pissed, I'll aim my fist at the drywall."

Those were all Eminem's lines, taking the role of the abusive male. It ties love with violence, which is backed up with images of the man slamming the woman around both of them making out against the wall. The implications here are that love equates violence which equates sex. What is said here are that the three are inextricably linked to one another; if you love someone, there will be violence. Where there is violence there is also sex. Likewise, love and sex, while together would be a beautiful thing, they will eventually lead to violence.

That last line I mentioned just makes it all worse. It condones aggressive behavior. It's okay for the man to punch, to hit, as long as it is away from the woman. This is not appropriate behavior; it shows poor emotional regulation and a lack of effortful control. Condoning this behavior--because he is a man and he's "supposed" to be aggressive--is insensible. This behavior leads to crimes that society as a whole will have to suffer through. One of the last lines in the song proves it. Here it is: "She ever tries to fucking leave again I'mma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire."

And then there are Rihanna's lines.

"Just gonna stand there and watch me burn; but that's alright 'cause I like the way it hurts."

"Just gonna stand there and hear me cry; but that's alright 'cause I love the way you lie."

What does this say? Pain, being hurt, is something one, the woman, should look forward to; that the woman should just ingest the man's lies, his false promises, because it's worth it. The lover should withstand this torment, this blatant deceit, because that's what it means to love.

The video does such a good job at representing the cruel realities of abusive relationships...and then it goes romanticizing them. To top it all off, many of the viewers are young teens who are impressionable; who are prone to risk-taking behavior because that is the developmental stage they are at; who are not developmentally capable of controlling themselves like an adult. Girls are already expected to be submissive, expected to strive for male attention at whatever cost. Boys are already expected to be aggressive, expected to be dominant at all times; the only emotion they're allowed to express is anger. No matter how the components are mixed, the end result is the same: abuse and love are one and the same, that's what one should look for in a relationship. This is not a message that should be displayed to anyone, much less young teens.

What tears at me most, at the end of it all, is that this video had so much potential, to be informative, to be educational, to be healthy, and they ruined it. They chose to reinforce stereotypes that are obviously harmful to both men and women. It is so unspeakably aggravating.

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