Out of the woods and into the media melee

No outlets in there to charge up your iPod.

This weekend the boys finally come back from camp, where they have spent the summer reconnecting with nature. So many “teachable moments” to make up for!

Speaking of teachable moments, the new Rihanna-Eminem video, Love the Way You Lie, depicting domestic violence, has been the source of much discussion on the net this week. Rihanna, you will recall, spoke out against domestic violence in 2009 after boyfriend Chris Brown left her badly bruised. And Eminem has apparently had his own troubles with domestic violence.

The video features Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan depicted in an abusive relationship following along with the lyrics sung by Rihanna and Eminem. Here’s the Associated Press story, which is worth reading.
Since your teens (pre-teens, too) will no doubt see this video unless you keep them locked up in a closet at home, I have gathered a few passionately expressed views on the message coming out of that video that may help you to discuss the video, the song, and dating violence with your boys and girls.

Melissa Wardy at Pigtail Pals hates it:

I am smoking mad that the video for the Eminem and Rihanna duet “Love The Way You Lie” makes domestic violence look sexy and glamorous. It shows the girl going back for more. Liking it. Wanting it. Asking for it? It shows her going back for more. It shows her initiating some of the violence, yes. But it also shows hot make up sex right after the boyfriend puts his fist through the wall just inches from her head while his forearm is against her throat, holding her against the wall.

Ms. Wardy is primarily angry that the video, in her opinion, failed to teach, even after Rihanna in 2009 vowed to set an example and help teach both boys and girls that dating violence is not okay.

Sort of an opposite view is here at Revolution of Real Women:

I think this was a courageous step in Rihanna’s healing process after experiencing a very public, very terrifying relationship. I don’t agree with those who say she glamorizes abuse in this video. I do not agree that she shouldn’t have been involved in the project. I believe the pain in her eyes as she sings the lyrics is real –and that many are too quick to discount her experience with abuse just because she’s famous or is choosing to speak out about the issue through her form of art whilst making money on it. If you want to defend victims, don’t stop short of defending Rihanna.

I, for one, hope that the video comforts and empowers those in abusive relationships by reminding them that they are not alone in their suffering and that it isn’t right.

Smart Girls Know says the video does glamorize dating violence:

The first time I watched the video, I put myself in my 15-year-old self’s shoes. At 15, I was insecure, longed to have connection, and often looked for validation that I had worth in others, especially boys. I would have watched that video, with every slow motion, passionate kiss and heated exchanges, and part of me would have thought, “I wish someone loved me that much, loved me so much that the thought of losing me would drive them to do dangerous things.”

At Feminist Fatale, Melanie Klein says the whole video misses the boat by simplifying the “complex realities of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse:”

The video for “Love the Way You Lie” is so far removed from some of the realities of domestic violence and abuse that it seems almost satirical…

Monaghan is simplistically vilified (he steals a bottle of liquor) and Fox is still a representation of Hollywood’s unrealistic and damaging expectations (as she stalks like a runway model through the house, her profile is slender and fashionable)…

The video’s settings and dingy, cluttered production design seem to evoke a lower social status, relegating the song’s subject matter to a class that Rihanna did not inhabit when Chris Brown hit her.

Kahn’s video and its tedious triteness is proof that there is still much to uncover regarding violence in a world that continues to lord one narrow sex and gender expression over all the rest.

And, you can find a lengthy discussion at Jezebel.

I haven’t formed a strong opinion about the video, myself, but I do plan to ask the boys what they think about it. I’ll give them a few days to ease back into civilization, though.

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