Eminem’s “Space Bound” Rotates Around a Familiar Controversy

Eminem’s “Space Bound” Rotates Around a Familiar Controversy

Eminem’s latest video “Space Bound” has sparked a debate around its portrayal of domestic violence and suicide.

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.

Comment section

8 replies
  1. as much as i love this site, and i am a devoted Eminem fan so i have to say he does follow her in the video but he doesnt yell insults at her in the car. he seems pretty calm. and as for ‘brutally beating her up’ he just grabs her and shoves her down to the floor and she isnt seen again after that except in a rewind of the video. i am not saying he wasnt abusive, he definitely lost his temper, but he didnt brutally beat her or do half the stuff mentioned.

  2. I believe that everybody has a right to free speech, but they should know what hurts people and should know when to stop. Although I personally am a fan of Eminem, domestic violence is no joke and he shouldn’t write songs about it.

  3. I do think you guys are right. It is very disturbing. Lil Wayne songs are like that too. I mean I am only 12 but im very mature and know about this stuff. It makes me very sad. I think that his songs are not the best. I wish he could find happiness.

  4. I think expressing oneself through art is the only thing we have sometimes. In this case, Eminem is telling a story of how it is out here in the real world. We all know this kind of abuse occurs everyday and if nothing else, this video raises awareness. I am glad someone is talking about it instead of pretending it isn’t happening. Also, I believe writing about something so violent and not acting on it is maybe his way of abstaining from acting out these violent behaviors.

  5. @Kristen Wow! You say “he just grabs her and shoves her down to the floor”. You must not see that as violence, which it is and no one I know would want or think it is ok to be treated like that. All violence is WRONG! No one has any right to do those things to you even if you did something wrong. People need not to accept this behavior from videos, songs or real life!

  6. Violence against women is wrong. We all believe that. But I think that Eminem’s videos are useful – they portray shocking things, so that instead of pretending they don’t happen, we can start reacting and talking about them.

  7. @Tammy
    i am not saying that it is not violent and wrong, and i said that i wasnt saying he wasnt abusive in the video, i am still saying that, but its not to the extent people are saying, being shoved down is a lot better then the lyrics where he states ‘i’m trying to stop you from breathing, i put both hands to your throat, i sit on top of you and start squeezin til i snap ya like a popsicle stick’ so that compared to being pushed down is a lot worse, and both are still violence, but the video isnt that bad, the Love The Way You Lie video has more violence then this one with Dominic Monoghan and Megan Fox getting in fights. and Eminem is great by writing songs about abuse, it helps get it out there to his strong fanbase that abuse is wrong.

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