Unhealthy relationships don’t all look the same. Some include emotional abuse like manipulation, others involve verbal abuse like threatening harm, and some even include physical abuse. Warning signs of an unhealthy relationship include possessiveness, extreme jealousy or one partner telling the other what to do. All of these signs, as varied as they are, are what make watching Robin Thicke’s new video, “Get Her Back” so uncomfortable. The blood smeared across Thicke’s face, the texts that say things like “This isn’t the end,” and, of course, the drowning woman, are all things that we need to talk about.
The Internet has had a lot to say about it so far, and we decided to round up some quotes that speak to the visuals in the video, and why it perhaps wasn’t the best way to “Get Her Back.”
“Singing “I gotta treat her right, I gotta cherish her for life,” or any variation thereof, is not proof of self-awareness or artistic insight. It is a massive cliche, and one with sometimes-deadly implications for the women who are urged by violent or emotionally abusive partners that this time it will be different.” —Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post
“None of us know the ins and outs of the Patton and Thicke’s relationship outside of what’s public — they were high school sweethearts and they have a child together. But romanticizing the creepy and potentially harassing efforts of a man obsessed with this ex sends a dangerous message to young men about what “romance” really is. Hint: It has nothing to do with haranguing and publicly shaming us back into a relationship.” —Jessica Valenti, The Guardian
“The video is the epitome of male entitlement and an excellent example of faux apology. Thicke attempts to gain sympathy for putting his flaws (drinking) and groveling apologies (“I hate myself”) out there, but really he is attempting to take away his wife’s agency to leave him.” —Laura Stampler, Time
“According to the National Institute of Justice, the definition of stalking includes “persistent patterns of leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents that may range from seemingly romantic to bizarre” and “harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information or spreading rumors about the victim,” all of which Thicke has wrapped up in one stalkerish video.”- Elizabeth Plank, Music.Mic
“The music-video version of Paula is unswayed by Thicke’s entreaties, but he’s never been great at interpreting a “no” — see e.g. “Blurred Lines” (2013) — so he leaves his ex (and his audience) with an ominous final warning: ‘This is just the beginning.’” —Jay Hathaway, Gawker
“The idea is that if we keep talking about sexist, misogynistic behavior, if we keep revealing how ideas that seem to have sprung from the very ground — ‘Of course, you try some grand gesture to win back your love, dude. That’s what women want!’ — to actually be warped and creepy and wrong, maybe things will get better. We could all ignore what Robin Thicke is doing. Or we could keep talking about why he’s wrong and maybe that will help.”—Ross Scarano, Complex
“Every day, our advocates at loveisrespect provide help and information to people about healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. Some rejected partners who refuse to ‘give up’ stalk their former partners or threaten them with violence, even death if the victim doesn’t return. Any time that pop culture glorifies stalking behavior or relationship violence, abusers get the wrong message that stalking or the threat of violence to get their partner back is acceptable. Although we support free expression, music videos and songs depicting unhealthy, abusive or threatening behavior go directly against our daily efforts to promote healthy relationships.” —Love Is Respect
If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs that they’re in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to get help. You can visit LoveIsRespect.org, call 866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522
Love Is Respect
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