Discussion Thread: "I Love the Way You Lie" Video

[Trigger warning for imagery, lyrics, and discussion featuring domestic violence.]

Eminem, featuring Rihanna: "Love the Way You Lie"

[Lyrics available here.]

The above video is for the new single from Eminem's most recent album. The song features vocals by Rihanna, who was famously assaulted by then-boyfriend Chris Brown. And, of course, Eminem has regularly sung about domestic violence, often from the position of a perpetrator, wishing violence against his ex-wife and mother.

The video itself features Eminem and Rihanna singing in front of a house on fire, interwoven with scenes of Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox, playing a couple who inhabit the fiery house with their fucked-up relationship that is a combustible mix of love, hate, fucking, fighting, dependence, contempt.

Okay, so. There's a lot to deconstruct about this video, and I'm not even sure where to begin to parse it all, which is why I'm opening it up as a discussion thread. My two primary thoughts after first watching the video, however, were these:

1. While this is a narrative (the quality and efficacy of which is debatable) broadly about "domestic violence," it looks less like a classic domestic violence narrative in which there is one clear abuser and one clear victim of abuse, and more like an abuser's fantasy that reimagines the relationship as a mutually abusive relationship with passion that burns so hot there's a thin line between love/hate, fight/fuck, etc. "Can't live with you; can't live without you." Which is not to say those relationships don't exist in the world, but I'm not sure they're as common as our media suggests they are.

2. I'm trying to imagine watching this as a, say, 15-year-old girl, long before I had the tools to critique it, and before I had any relevant experience to the subject matter. I imagine I would have found it less an admonishment against violence than a suggestion that this is what real love is like, because I was raised in a culture that constantly suggests that is so. And respect is boring.


[Commenting Guidelines: Naturally, everyone's reaction to this video will be different, and please be respectful of other people's opinions. Even survivors of abuse will have different reads on it. We can debate and disagree while simultaneously acknowledging the validity of individual opinions.]

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