Holy Blue Cheese on a Tuna Cracker, where do I even BEGIN with Eminem ft Rihanna’s new single “Love the Way you Lie”???
The lyrics, the music video, the fact that Rihanna forgot to wear pants in the video clip, so much to dismantle and growl over!
Okay first let me begin with the song, if you have not heard it, here is the main jist. Man loves woman, woman loves man. However relationship is complex and highly dysfunctional. He cuddles with her whilst another woman’s number is written on his hand. She hates him, no, loves him….no wait I think she hates him…its complicated. They go about their shoddy house throwing each other against walls, shouting and screaming followed by open mouth kisses and lower body thrusting…against the wall. Charming.
My issue: The romanticizing of domestic abuse. Now if you watch the video both man and woman are smacked hard across the face, so its not just a female beating but both parties who are on the receiving end of physical violence. Perhaps the director thought that throwing in a man getting whalloped would even out the obvious bruising on Megan Fox’s face. Oh wait, did I not mention? Yes indeed, Megan Fox is the girl featured in the video, Dominic Monaghan is the tormented beau who appears unwashed in the clip. Remember when I said romanticizing? lets add sexualizing to the list as well. Because, lets be honest, the image that is put forth of Megan Fox by Hollywood media is heavily saturated in sexuality and sensuality.
But back to the violence, both characters are beaten beautifully, yes I mean that. There are closeups of Megan Fox’s marred cheek with her hair tumbling over her face and big blue teary eyes staring alluringly at the camera lens, whilst pantless Rihanna croons in the background that “its alright because I love the way it hurts”…Well of course, pain = love , right? Bloody lip = I adore you, sweetheart. On the other hand, Dominic Monaghan shirtless,well toned and tormented, looks at himself in the mirror before driving his fist into it, whilst Eminem raps that next time he will show restraint and drive his fist into the drywall. Brilliant, THIS is the message that we are sending out to the kids nowadays, the rationalizing and sensationalizing of violence? Because domestic abuse expierenced by both parties is not aestheticly pleasing, it more often than not involves hurt, betrayal, pain and anguish.
There are shots of Dominic slamming his fist into the wall right beside Megan’s head, followed with the next shot of them heavily making out. The idea that violence is a show of affection is a terribly wrong concept that is propagated by such video clips. The scuffles between the couple are caught in such an alluring manner, from the position of their bodies, to the dim, soft lighting within the room. The viewer also gets a sense that these violent scuffles happen on an everyday basis, from the moment that Dom says “here we go again”. But hey, its alright because they really,really love each other(noticed when Megan mouths I Love You whilst tongue wrestling with Merry, eh I mean Dominic).
What terrifies me the most is that I wonder who listens to these songs? Public radio plays it, and I know that my little cousins who are between 12-16 listen to these popular songs, mouthing lyrics and watching MTV. Is this what we teach the children then? That domestic abuse is part and parcel of a relationship and violence is a concept that is natural between two individuals that love each other? The whole video clip romanticizes the horrors of domestic abuse, and I don’t only mean cases involving women, but men as well. No individual, man or woman has the right to inflict violence upon another, and to watch that allowance on screen, in slow motion, was chilling.
The popularity of both the singers, Rihanna and Eminem also mean that this song is going to reach a large demographic of listeners, and of a specific age. Listeners who might distinguish what the rapper is saying as the truth and apply it in their own reality. The glamourous way that violence is endorsed also means that the surface effect takes place for viewers. When I say surface effect this is what I mean; Eminem’s rapping, because of his social/class background and his struggles, oft times comes from a dark and angry space. He raps about the difficulties that he encounters and the effect proves to be cathartic for him ( based on my interpretations of his songs & interviews). Thus, his music belies a deeper context, its an attempt to purge himself of personal demons ( for example the track Lose Yourself). However, this becomes problematic when listeners or fans only ingest parts that are glamourized by the rappers’ image and songs, such as the brooding, misunderstood artist. They take the surface effect of the song, copying clothing styles, speech, behaviour etc without understanding the deeper issues that gurgle beneath the surface. So back to the music video, whilst Eminem might be rapping about his dysfunctional relationship, the younger viewers might be taken in by the surface effect of the physical violence in the video, as I mentioned earlier, the sensationalizing of it through sexuality, aesthetically- pleasing camera work and hot actors (to name a few). The video had a hit of 71 million viewers, and with comments ranging from
“Wow, best video and song i have seen/heard in a long time. No one can deliver like Eminem and Rihanna and having Dominic and Megan in the video brings it all together. Rihanna makes me wanna catch myself on fire… Eminem is at his best when he sings with passion and this song is so symbolic of love/hate relationships”
“leave it to megan fox to make domestic abuse so sexy”
and my personal favourite
“this was My Ex and I’s Relationship to a T!!! I miss u Meli!!!!!”
I think the impact of the music video is highly-superficial and massively disturbing.
The music video ends with the entire house and the two individuals bursting into flames, and that is probably the only section of the song that worked for me, because the whole underlying message within the video should be burned into the ground. Violence begets violence, there is no solution when investing in it, there is no rationalizing of it, there is no security in it and it is most certainly not a declaration of love within a relationship.
For your viewing pleasure: