Piping hot take: Abusive “romantic” relationships are not cute, sexy, or romantic. And as someone who has actually had an abusive boyfriend before, I can tell you exactly why they should not be portrayed in a positive light & how the romanticization & glorification of abusive relationships within mainstream media & geek culture personally affected me & made it much harder for me to escape him.
I had also met my abusive boyfriend a few months after the death of my abusive father. And the fact that I had grown up as an active fan of media that romanticized & glorified abusive relationships (both romantic & familial, but mostly romantic) were part of the reason why it took me so long to realize what was happening to me & could never escape my father until he literally died before I could come crawling back to him.
Yes, we absolutely should talk about abuse both within & outside of the stories we tell. And there is nothing inherently wrong about portraying abuse in fictional works- Except when it is portrayed as something positive & to be sought after. Doing so is damaging to people who are being abused in real life. Romanticizing abusive dynamics hurts abuse victims.
A lot of people who make works like these do so out of ignorance, & some of them are also very young & don’t understand because they don’t have the same knowledge or experience as those around them. A lot of people do not understand how media can influence people & thus why it is important for them to be mindful & think critically about the media they consume. I don’t think that all people who create content like this are necessarily bad people. Although there are a couple bad eggs here & there; Many of them are simply misguided- Which is why it is so important to talk about these issues & how media can influence people’s lives.
Art & storytelling are an integral part of human cultures around the world. What we create has the power to leave an impact on people. And there have also been many, many, individual works throughout history that have influenced many cultures as a whole. Art is not meaningless. It leaves an impact. I wish more people would understand this.