How would you feel watching a domestic abuse victim admit her desire for more pain? What if the cycle of violence were enacted by two celebrities, alternating between scenes of fierce aggression and passionate love?
What if all these images were set to a number-one, radio-friendly rap hit? Would you call it glamorization of a serious issue or a creative public service message?
Never one to shy away from controversy, Eminem recently released the new video for his single featuring Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie.” Starring Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan in a (literally) fiery relationship, the video is causing a big debate among music fans and domestic abuse prevention experts.
I have to admit, I’m torn on the matter. My first instinct is to scoff at any form of media that attempts to employ Megan Fox in a meaningful way (she, of the eloquent quotes, like: “I resent having to prove that I’m not a retard — but I do.”).
It also makes me absolutely uneasy to watch Rihanna, who repeatedly spoke out about her abusive relationship with Chris Brown, coo to the camera,
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie.
And though I can’t deny being a fan of Eminem’s lyrical skills and serious talent, it’s no secret that he’s had his own violent past with ex-wife Kim. The song, allegedly about the couple’s roller-coaster relationship, even includes the disturbing lines, “If she ever tries to f—ing leave again/I’mma tie her to the bed and set the house on fire.”
The thought of MTV’s target audience interpreting the frightening lyrics and engaging images as sexy or glamorous is completely revolting. But to play devil’s advocate, there are some positive points to the video as well.
And some experts believe that depicting the chilling realities of domestic abuse can help spread awareness. Stephanie Nilva, executive director of sexual assault and trauma resource center Day One, told MTV News, “The most important thing the video is doing is raising the topic of dating violence among young people.”
My own personal jury is still out, but feel free to form your own opinion on the video below:
–— Michelle Konstantinovsky is a student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an avid admirer of shiny objects and preteen entertainment. It would be nice if you visited her website: www.michellekmedia.com. Also, she may learn to use Twitter more effectively if you follow her @michelley415.