Eminem Makes Sexism Seem Sexy – And That’s A Problem
“Eminem and Rihanna Collaborate to Address Domestic Violence,” reads one headline.
The phrase “address domestic violence” rings of efforts to decrease it.
Is that the message of “Love the Way You Lie”?
Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that’s alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Eminem joins, mouthing these words:
As long as the wrong feels right
It’s like I’m in flight
High of a love
Drunk from the hate
Rihanna’s lines are jarring since she broke up with Chris Brown after a brutal beating. She had said she wanted to be a good role model for girls and young women. These lyrics send a very different message.
Eminem’s words fit his history of domestic brutality. In concerts past he sent an inflated doll resembling his wife into his audiences to be batted around. In 2008 he told Esquire, “I’m a T-shirt guy now. But wifebeaters won’t go out of style, not as long as bitches keep mouthing off.”
Megan Fox plays the sexy battered lead in the music video, where frames shift from abuse to making love, and back again. The video has had nearly 20,000,000 hits on YouTube.
All involved seem to want it both ways. Eminem and Rihanna said they wanted to start a conversation, while Megan Fox donated her salary from the shoot to Sojourn House, which helps abused women.
But the overall effect romanticizes violence against women.
That makes sexism feel sexy.
Unfortunately, that makes both women and men more accepting of it.
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