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10 August 2010 @ 05:16 pm
Love The Way You Lie  

ETA: this is stirring quite a debate online about whether this is good or bad in terms of raising awareness of domestic violence and the dynamics that go on. A lot of good points have been made regarding Rihanna's lyric seeming to affirm the myth that battered women like the abuse. On the other hand, as one commenter writes:

many famous rappers, Biggie, Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Big Pun, etc etc, have all been accused of violence against there women and down played it!. BUT As far as I know, he's the first Rapper, address it from a personal point of view, openly admit He hit his woman, and express SHAME and REMORSE for hitting a woman in a song. That's a big freekin deal in hip hop!!! He never said anything like that in Kim when he addressed it! Quite the opposite! No rapper has ever had the balls to say this - --"but when its bad, its awful, I feel so Ashamed, I snap whose that dude? I don’t even know his name. I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again. I guess I don't know my own strength" ---- Because it will be seen as weakness by other Rappers

One thing that I notice as I watch the video and, yes, am triggered by some of the scenes is that it accurately depicts the lows and the highs of the relationship. What you have are two people with extremely low self esteem, having felt unloved for most of their lives, finding that the intensity of attention, both good and bad, they get from each other makes them feel like they matter, like they affect someone. The dramatic "I can't live without you!" moments seem to validate their existence. That someone would want to kill them if they leave also, in a horrible way, makes them feel important, validated, wanted, loved. In another lyric Eminem raps that "It's so insane cause when it's going good, it's going great
I'm Superman with the wind at his back, she's Lois Lane."
For people coming from dysfunctional homes, these highs may be the best they've ever felt, and they convince themselves they can overcome the low points, the violence, the fighting, if they just try harder.

It takes a lot of work in recovery, a lot of counseling, to get past this dynamic and have a healthy relationship, and it's work that must be done by both parties. This is not at all to say that women some how deserved their abuse. But if they are going to have a positive relationship, free of abuse, women (or abused men) must heal their own psyche and repair their self esteem. Then the drama of the abusive man, that initial rush of intense attention before the abuse, the instant relationship, the "I've never known anyone like you before! I feel like we've known each other all our lives" type of guy won't seem attractive--he'll seem alarming and creepy. The healthy guy, the one who gets to really know you, slowly, and considers carefully whether this is working--that's the guy you'll gravitate to instead.
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on August 13th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
"I've only ever heard abuse survivors who also dabble in conscious, consensual power exchange relationships (i.e. BDSM) talk about that particular issue/emotional payoff."

Huh. That is so interesting! Now that you mention it I am certain that my participation in consensual BDSM relationships has given me a better dialog - especially an inner dialog around this subject. Of course one of the things that frustrates our community the most is when people outside of it believe that we are unwittingly participating in our own abuse...and it just so not *that.* It has been through the very careful and loving negotiations and frank conversations around power and pain exchanged in context, within specific time frames and for specific purposes...with great care taken to make sure both (or all) parties feel safe before, during and after...with great care taken to ensure that everyone knows they have the power to end it for whatever reason, the moment it begins to feel uncool that has helped me see where I have existed in relationships where that has not been a priority.

And, on another note as an artist I want there to be room in America for art to create discourse, and make people uncomfortable without automatically feeling like it needs to be shut down. Obviously it's difficult to say..."That Eminem...I love everything that comes out of his head! He makes me feel warm and fuzzy and seen." :)

No. He makes me uncomfortable all the time. Yet he is a remarkable wordsmith. A high end, heavily produced and packaged, yet talented wordsmith. It is difficult for me to ignore him because he continuously brings the issue of Class to the forefront of his work - and often with an authenticity that I cannot deny, though sometimes I wish I could.

But Charlie Sheen held a knife to his wife's face last Christmas and his punishment was 30 Days of posh rehab already served and $2 million an episode for an idiotic television show. That makes me so much more uncomfortable than this video.

I'm also uncomfortable with how many times I've seen the press - notably the feminist press - write: "Rhianna and/or Megan Fox glamorize Domestic Violence in Eminem's New Video."

That is *so* interesting and telling to me!

I mean, Mathers wrote the song. Monaghan is doing the majority of the hitting in the video while portraying Mathers. The video was directed by a man. Certainly the music company execs and people who will profit most heavily from this project are men....but somehow Rhianna and Fox are guilty of betrayal.

Is that because beautiful women don't get beaten?

Beautiful, famous, wealthy women don't get beaten?

Do I even need to say: Nicole Brown Simpson. Just for starters?

Fox donated her paycheck from this video to Sojourn House. I'm pretty sure that was the only donation to come from this project. It seems like lots of different people have a lot invested in continuing to portray an archetypal female victim of domestic violence. And my questions are: Why? And, Who does that serve?

Tapatitapati on August 13th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
We always focus on the women. Always. We always analyze and criticize and judge the women. We don't ask why the men do this (well some just figure Eminem/violence/abuse all go together, nothing to analyze, but I think he's a bit deeper than that and this is an effort to do something positive) (yeah, complex guy). No one is asking why Dominic is doing it that I can see so far, and I keep looking at articles. Maybe they think he just wants to kiss Megan in between the violent scenes. I don't know. But yeah, women aren't supposed to participate in this even if the ultimate goal is to make people think about the dynamics of domestic violence and perhaps do something about it. It's maddening, that's what it is.

Warrior of Worrywarriorofworry on August 14th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're reading the articles, since I can't right now. But I'm not surprised. And yes, it's always our fault. St. Paul and the (early)Catholic Church - demonized an entire gender, and we're still paying for it.
Tapatitapati on August 14th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Sigh. Yes we are. :(