Lord of the Rings Eminem and Steubenville: Lessons of Rape

The video for “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Eminem and Rihanna went down in flames a couple of years ago. Overall, I had a bad feeling while watching the video. How could anyone believe that Megan Fox would be hooking up with a Hobbit from Lord of the Ring? Really? All jokes aside, Eminem and controversy seem synonymous. But what is it about Eminem’s lyrics that instigate such debates? It’s the year 2000, and I’m in the east end of London. My future brother-in-law comes to pick us up and blaring from his car is Eminem’s infamous song Kim. My first impression was wow that guy needs some prozac but overall it was clear to me that the intent was to shock, which it obviously succeeded in doing quite well. Was Eminem channeling Author Rimbaud and Marquis De Sade via his alter ego Slim Shady?  Fast-forward a couple of years to the Eminem single with Rihanna Love the Way You Lie which quickly became a number one hit. Quite honestly I found the song intoxicating with its brutal honestly. But many were offended by violence lyrics. Was it glorifying violence against women or was it a brave portrayal of honestly? It was both but that’s for another post.
The overall presumption people have of physical abusers, rapists, and murderers (to a less extent), is that of a male perpetrator. Rightly so as most data shows men being the main instigators in such deplorable actions. Consequently it seems a mislaid subliminal message comes into play. Consider rape as an example. Curve Magazine wrote a profound and insightful article titled Lesbian-on-Lesbian Rape. The author crystallizes a underlining message we don’t generally seem to question. Viz. men are perpetrators and women are victims. One need look no further than the recent Steubenville trial of Jane Doe a Ohio teenage girl gang raped by the local high school football team to justify the association with male perpetrators. But Victoria Brownworth’s article cuts straight thru that given inference and rhetorically illustrates our double standard and turns it on its head. Deferred stereotypes of women being victims and men being perpetrators is not always the status quo. The issue of rape is one that must be approached respectfully of all past present and potential victims. There are no easy answers when the issue of rape is at stake. It is a subject that must be addressed with perspectives of all victims regardless of gender or sexual orientation. There are many victims of rape and sexual abuse that have hesitated to speak. I myself am one such person.
To be continued…