I'm so torn by this song and video. I read here that the relationship in this story is mutually abusive, that it goes both ways. But I don't think the video shows that. I see Megan Fox as the victim, even if she does throw a punch or two. She is the one running from him, the one hiding in the bathroom, the one having to forgive, the one deciding to leave the relationship, never the other way around.
I can't stop watching the video, and listening/singing this song. Something about it feels so real and raw, that I'm not too critical of it, even with a line like "I'm a tie her to the bed and set the house on fire". Am I a bad feminist? Pop culture have too much of a hold on me? The song's lyrics are explicit and detailed, but also ambiguous. Does Eminem really regret his actions, or is he lying to get her back? Maybe both?
Knowing both Eminem's and Rihanna's history of abuser and victim, does that make this song ok? Does the song and video excuse domestic violence? Why did Rihanna choose to sing lyrics that pretty much excuse Chris Brown's actions?
This is what Rihanna said in an interview with Access Hollywood:
"It just was authentic. It was real," Rihanna continued. "It was believable for us to do a record like that, but it was also something that needed to be done and the way he did it was so clever. He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence and it's something that a lot people don't have a lot of insight on, so this song is a really, really powerful song and it touches a lot of people."
This seems to be empowering to Rihanna. Maybe this is her way to deal with the abuse she experienced. And who are we to judge her? To tell her that "No, you're doing it wrong"? This is her taking her experience, her life, into her own hands and making a statement.
The fact that this song is making me feel all conflicted and bringing up so much emotion from me makes it successful in a way. On the other hand, the way I read and interpret this song/video might be part of the minority. The other day while listening to this song on the radio, after it finished the DJ said something along the lines of, "oh boy, I bet a lot of girls are singing this at the top of their lungs after a few drinks". Is he saying that girls like being in abusive relationships? That they will in the end forgive if they're drunk (there is a lot of alcohol involved in this video)? More victim blaming?
I'm aware that these are all questions and not a lot of answers, but this is all I have right now. Just questions.
One positive thing I can say is that after making this video, Megan Fox donated the money she made from it to a women's shelter, Soujourn House. So it looks like if the song's goal was to raise awareness and help for domestic violence, it is getting there.