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The Glorification of Abuse in Media

Over the last few years, I began noticing how society communicates within itself. I noted how much murder, crime, violence, and sex are glorified. What caught me the most off guard is the glorification of abuse. I can and will, at the bottom of this post, name just a few movies and TV shows that, in some way, glorify violence. Before this, let me specify what I mean by glorifying. Glorification occurs regarding the relationships themselves. Once again, let me explain. As someone who has had her fair share of bad situations, I do believe that films and television should show the strength and courage a lot of abused people posses. And I do believe that there are shows and movies which do depict this. However, this rarely happens. Instead, abuse is depicted as sexy, normal, romantic, required. Films such as 365 Days, make kidnapping, sexual assault, and intimidation look passionate and sexy. They do not show the truth. It does not dive into how perverted and dangerous this situation actually is.

With this said, I have no authority or knowledge to be able to claim that these types of films make people violent or rapist. That is not my claim. My purpose in bringing this topic to the blog and starting this conversation is more for the potential victims. See, when I was younger, I would sit with my parents and watch Law Order SVU, Degrassi, and more. I knew that these shows and the actions shown were wrong in cases like Law Order. However, Degrassi and other teen shows depicted relationships in a whole different light. When I was younger, I thought a relationship meant always being together, always having to have sex, continuously checking each other’s phones, and have little trust. Now while this may seem extreme, and in a way it was, this was my reality. My parents had an extremely healthy relationship, but I still took these shows and movies as a way to create a scheme for young love. What soon occurred was the idealization that you needed to be with someone 24/7, or you were not cool. You needed to have sex, or you were not cool. Flirting and messing around with older guys was sexy. Once again, I understand and accept that this is not the case for everyone else. I know a lot of people who grew up watching the same thing or worse and never knew relationships in this way.

One film which I am guilty of binge-watching myself was Fifty Shades of Grey. This series is another one that glorifies abuse in the name of love. The main character’s actions are dismissed because he is deemed broken and “just that way.” He stalks his subs and has files on them. He makes them sign legal documentation that states they will not release any of his info or even say that they know him. He has people follow them without their knowledge or consent. These people then take pictures and notes on potential subs for him. He limits who Anna can talk to and how much she can go out drinking. When she does go out he becomes enraged. Despite them not being in a relationship at the time, nor Anna being her own person. These are just a few of his actions put into blatant and unfluffed terms. It is weird. Yet, watching these films myself, I caught myself feeling bad for him, feeling like he had to do this. I felt myself finding his stalking attractive. It is depicted as him loving Anna and protecting her. Yet put into honest words, it is scary. The controlling nature he represents is creepy. It is not romantic. Concern is good. Concerns can be adorable and sexy. However, there is a fine line between concern and controlling. This line is often blurred in this series. A few years back I met some girls around 13 and 14 years old. They would say that they wanted a guy just like him. That he was sexy and romantic. That his intense love was just what they wanted in a guy.

This is just my experience, but I wonder with the increasingly easy access to Netflix and other streaming devices, how easy it will be for kids to watch films that glorify sexual assault. Now if you watch one movie with intense sexual adult content your Netflix or Hulu is bound to be bombarded with sexual and violent content. This in turn allows children who are merely scrolling through to stumble across these films and begin watching them.

I am not saying that we need to get rid of this genre or that these movies do not have a niche. I am also not saying that those who enjoy these works are dangerous, being brainwashed, or anything terrible. All I am trying to do is say that the glorification of abuse can be dangerous and shape adolescent schemes of what a healthy relationship looks like. This, in turn, can lead to poor judgment and put these kids in hazardous situations. Once again, I am not a professional and am speaking from personal experience with my life and some of my acquaintance’s experiences. As always, I would love to hear and discuss your opinions. Whether you agree or not, I would love to have an open discussion on this topic.

Some examples:

  • Edward and Jacob — Twilight – I understand this one may seem like a stretch, however, Edward fully admit to stalking her. Plus he stood at the foot of her bed without permission to watch her sleep. Jacob also manipulated her in Eclipse and acted as if he would kill himself in the big battle because Bella chose Edward.
  • 365 Days 
  • Fifty Shades Series
  • Degrassi
  • Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn and The Joker
  • The Great Gatsby: Jay and Daisy

Published by Kathrine

Emergency Room Nurse spends too much time thinking, reflecting, and over-analyzing every detail of life. Hoping to one day figure it all out.

11 thoughts on “The Glorification of Abuse in Media

  1. I think it’s so important to talk about these topics. Don’t know much about the other shows you mentioned, but I remember watching Twilight. Looking back now, I can definitely agree that some behaviors were just not okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! This is super important because it truly shapes the mentality of young people and connotations of what love and abuse are. I’ve never seen 50 shades of grey because I didn’t care for the movie, but the coercive control you mentioned is one of the many things that really put me off to the movie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You know, when I read fifty shades I felt that he was very manipulative. Its odd how the reader can feel sorry for him. I never watched the films, I didn’t think the book was particularly well written


  4. This is a great thought provoking post. It is frightening how the media desensitizes the public to the horrors of abuse.


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