In the video, Eminem’s character follows his on-screen girlfriend around, yelling insults at her in a car and trailing her to a diner where he discovers that she has been cheating on him by checking her cell phone when she momentarily leaves it. Throughout the video, she appears not able to see him, and he’s occasionally shown as translucent as if he’s a ghost. Eminem follows his girlfriend home, where he brutally beats her and then, graphically depicted in the video, shoots himself in the head.
One UK nonprofit, Mothers Against Violence, has spoken out against the video, saying that Eminem is both “evil” and “selfish” for showing such disturbing images.
The video’s chilling message is reinforced by the song’s hostile lyrics.
It’ll be dangerous/ If you f- me over/ ‘Cause if I get burnt/ Imma show you what it’s like to hurt
I’m trying to stop you from leaving/ you won’t even listen so f- it/ I’m trying to stop you from breathing/ I put both hands on your throat/ I sit on top of you squeezing/ ‘Til I snap you neck like a Popsicle stick/ Ain’t no possible reason I could think of to let you walk up out this house/ And let you live
This is certainly not the first time Eminem has shocked us with angry lyrics and violent imagery. The single “Love the Way You Lie” acts as a predecessor to this song, both similar in messaging and the graphic nature of the video. And who can forget the hateful songs he wrote about his ex-wife, specifically the song with her namesake, “Kim,” in which he fanaticizes about murdering her new husband and son in front of her, and then killing her, dumping her dead body in his trunk. That song even has sound effects to match.
At loveisrespect, we have multiple responses to this video. Some of us worry that songs like this, with videos to boot, normalize the behavior and make hurting a partner seem ok. Some claim “artistic expression” while others cite it as yet another example of the media glamorizing violence. A few of us are bored by what we see as Eminem simply being shocking for the sake of shock value. Others argue that everyone has a right to free speech, and this – at the very least – is Eminem’s use of that freedom.
Regardless of our stance on this particular song or video, we all agree that dating abuse/domestic violence is wrong and is never warranted. Every woman is someone’s daughter. Imagine the fictionalized woman in this song and video as a sister, a cousin, a coworker, a classmate, or a best friend. Domestic violence, sexual assault and dating abuse are crimes that happen everyday to innocent people. The brave survivors of these horrible acts deserve to have us understand that fact, and remember it as we process domestic violence scenes shown through the media.
What’s your take of this video? How do you interpret it? Do you think it was creative? Irresponsible? Trite? Let us know what you think below.