Sunday, November 11, 2012

Domestic violence in popular culture

Years ago, I got into an online discussion about the song "Goodbye Earl" sung by the Dixie Chicks.  At the time I felt strongly against the song because of the violence it advocated.  I got a lot of negative feedback from people who told me I didn't understand what it was like to be a victim of domestic abuse.  I responded that I'm not judging what an individual victim may do to protect herself but instead am judging a message being put out by a famous country song that can be interpreted many very bad ways.

Now after three years working directly with victims of domestic and sexual violence, I don't pretend to know what they go through but it has given me a better understanding.  And with that better understanding my thoughts have not changed regarding that song.  I will not judge what an individual victim decides is best for him/her.  But I will not ever feel it is appropriate for popular culture to advocate violence.

There are other songs that follow this trend which I strongly do not agree with such as Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats."

Another song I would like to mention is Eminem (with Rihanna)' "Love the Way you Lie."  This song is not as clear cut to me because I feel it does bring up the conflicted emotions of a victim and the cycle they are stuck in both things that can bring awareness.  On the other hand it really romanticizes the violence and avoids accountability.  I feel like it sends the message that there are excuses for the violence and in my opinion there is no valid excuse for violence towards another individual.

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