Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

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thewrit3r
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Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:15 am

So out of morbid curiosity and my desire to write an essay on problematic media I watched Netflix’s “365 Days.” I can safely say that this is the worst film I’ve ever seen. For those who don’t know it’s a cross between Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight but romanticizes abusive relationships to a whole other level.

I can’t believe it’s actually a movie but what’s more irritating is that I chose to watch it. How do we stop watching these films that romanticize abuse? It’s so problematic and it just shows that rape culture, misogyny, and toxic masculinity are still very much alive in our culture. And I know we have to stop places other than media (like actual laws) but the media has a large influence on it. And when I see films like “365 Days” are getting sequels, I worry about how we can break this cycle. Plus, there’s simply better entertainment out there
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Sam W
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Re: Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:44 am

Hi thewrit3r,

Yeah, I read someone's summary of that movie and made an audible "arghghg."

I think there are a few things that could help media that romanticizes abuse become less prevalent. One is people stop consuming it; mainstream media is very driven by what has a history of making money. In a similar vein, actively supporting the media we want to see is important, both because it can help those creators and it tells the people green-lighting stories that there are people out there who want to see different narratives.

I think increasing diversity in creative professions could help as well, because you have creators who have already taken the time to examine the problems in more common narratives and who want to create alternatives to them.

thewrit3r
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Re: Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby thewrit3r » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:22 am

Yeah I should’ve have watched it. I’m not going to give any more attention to it. If someone mentions it it’s problematic but I’m not going to give it the satisfaction of being in the spotlight. I can’t stop others from consuming it but I sure as hell can stop myself!

I feel like part of the problem with these films is that they show more “taboo” forms of sex and we have such sexual shame in our society that we crave to see these things. I think undoing our sexual shame and treating sex as normal and not “bad” could go a long way in how we change media and entertainment, actually portraying healthily sexual and romantic relationships on screen. I’m a writer by heart, and while I doubt I’ll be making the big screen any soon perhaps I can use my skills to create more sex positive stories? It certainly wouldn’t hurt :)
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Sam W
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Re: Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:50 am

I'm a big fan of creating your own sex positive stories, even if they don't become the "next big thing!"

And I think you're right that some of this comes from a desire to see more "taboo" sex on screen. There still seems to be a pervasive belief that you can only show those things in the context of toxic or abusive relationships. And a lot of that, I think, is tied to the idea that "vanilla" sex is had by "normal, well adjusted" people, while more "out there" sex is only had by people who are somehow messed up. It's a very nasty (and unrealistic) dichotomy.

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Re: Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby KurtisC » Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:17 pm

Great topic, thewrit3r!

I hope you do get to write positive sex stories for TV one day! I'd love to see that, we need that kind of content. I don't think I've ever seen healthy sex on TV apart from in a couple of cartoons, which are few and far between (and often get cancelled).

I'd love a show that truly celebrates healthy, equal sexuality without stigma and shame.

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Re: Can we stop romanticizing abuse?

Unread postby jdelforge » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:42 pm

Hi thewrit3r,

I think the discussion of whether or not you should have watched the movie is really valuable. It's a tricky situation--on one hand, by watching problematic media, even to criticize or understand it, you're propagating that media and paying the creators (perhaps indirectly like with Netflix.)

However, it's also important to understand what we're up against when it comes to creating a well-educated, consent-first, sex-positive world. So I encourage you to watch movies like this when you're interested (only as part of balanced media consumption!), give them a thumbs down and think critically about what you've watched. This is particularly important if you want to do better with your own work. Think about which details contributed to the romanticizing of abuse, whether anything could be easily changed for a healthier portrayal or whether the film would be better off not existing at all, etc. Discuss it with friends and online. Look up reviews.

That said, don't force yourself to watch garbage if you don't have the kind of curiosity that drove you to watch 365 Days when you did. You need to be in the right headspace. Self-care first!


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