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Eminem and Rihanna Showcase Domestic Violence, but is it Glorified?

August 9, 2010


After a recent brief discussion about the music I exposed my kids to in the late 90’s and 2000’s, I have been looking back to when Eminem came blazing onto the music scene in 1999. I remember hearing the song, 97 Bonnie and Clyde (although I never even knew it was named that) and thinking what a master wordsmith this white rapper was. Although the song morbidly depicts a trip to the beach with his young daughter, where he plans to throw her dead mommy off the pier (she being “asleep” in the trunk), I was taken by his exceptional way with words and taken aback by his  intensity.  I think Eminem’s genius was only trumped by his deranged brain. What a sick song! That I was impressed by it made me question my own mental health.

My kids were 11 and 9 when that song came out and I honestly am not sure if I exposed them to it or not. I didn’t own the cd and could only have heard the song on occasion, probably online. I lived remotely at the time and our only radio came from CBC in Canada and one commercial station in British Columbia. I don’t think they played that song. I am pretty sure that Eminem was so popular with kids then that my kids heard the song too. I just can’t remember discussing it or listening to it with them. I found other songs by Eminem to be of the same lyrical quality and his rapping style was almost without comparison, at least to me. There was something different about him. Maybe it was that he seemed to have so much rage.

So today I read that Eminem has a new music video that co-stars Rihanna. Rihanna is well-known, besides singing, for being beat up by her then boyfriend, Chris Brown. Which makes the content of the video all the more relevant (see above). The video contains acts of domestic violence. It shows a couple engaging in violence, and then making up. Some of the lyrics suggest the abused woman enjoys being hurt. The lyrics also acknowledge that when the man promises to never hurt her again, he is lying.

What I wonder is, does a video like this condemn domestic violence and provide an opportunity to discuss the vicious cycles some relationships fall into, where women are brutalized and then wooed back into thinking it will never happen again (which of course, it does)? Or does it give excuses for why couples fight physically and shows that although it’s wrong, that’s the way some love is. 

Perhaps this video doesn’t exactly glorify domestic violence, but it shows the reality of too many relationships today. That’s what Eminem is good at.

 Most of us have at least seen domestic abuse, if not experienced it personally. I have. I  know there are too many women who are trapped  into accepting abuse., through either fear, helplessness, or a warped idea of love. I’m not saying there aren’t women who abuse, but the overwhelming cases of physical violence, comes from men beating women.

I only hope that this new music video can provide a forum for helping women in these situations to find help. Especially in tough economic times, frustrations are maximized. Women are often easy targets for releasing pent-up rage. That, of course, is unacceptable.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 6:53 pm

    Now he should consider making one showing that nearly half the batterers are women. Such as the Major League Baseball Pitcher who was beaten on by his girlfriend, a super model, while driving in their car on a California freeway at the same time it was happening to Rihanna. I guess it male victims don’t make all the news. It was just a back page story in the LA Times.

    Annette’s Story: The Other Face Of Domestic Violence

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