Lately, a debate has sparked up among parenting experts about the portrayal of domestic violence in pop culture. What was previously considered to be a social evil has gone from being a concern to being glorified in the media. According to a recent study, the alarming increase in domestic violence incidents among celebs and its depiction in music videos is directly influencing teens and their opinion of this highly sensitive matter.
Celebrities and domestic violence
There is no denying the fact that teens are heavily influenced by celebrities and pop culture. Be it a famous musician, actor or an athlete; adolescents tend to idolize them and follow their example.
With domestic violence issues becoming more and more prevalent in the personal lives of celebrities, teens are frequently being exposed to cases of physical confrontation and harassment in relationships. This is not only subliminally encouraging them to take such measures if a similar situation arises in their own private lives but is also inducing a personality trait which does little to resolve disagreements peacefully choosing instead to rely on violent means.
One of many examples of domestic violence in show business is that of Hip Hop artist Curtis Jackson. Popularly known as 50 Cent, the influential rapper was recently charged with domestic violence for allegedly beating his girlfriend and inflicting damages worth several thousand dollars. A look at 50 Cent’s career would reveal similar incidences in his past and run in with the law from time to time. Incidences like those prompt his fan base that largely consists of teenagers to accept such behavior as the norm and pay little regard to victims of domestic violence.
Another example of domestic violence being rampant among celebrities is the smash hit single “love the way you lie.” The music video featuring Detroit based rapper Eminem and R&B singer Rihanna talks about a violent, passionate relationship. Rihanna – a victim of domestic violence herself sings about deriving erotic pleasure from being in an abusive relationship. According to Ayonna Johnson, Director of Legal Services for the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic violence in Georgia, the message delivered to young people through the song was “This is normal”. She further stated that “It illustrated a sense of normalcy to a very abnormal dysfunction. It definitely has the ability to increase domestic violence ... as well as the lethality piece”.
Educating teens about domestic violence
Keeping in mind the influence such popular musicians have on teens Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of an organization named Break The Cycle which aims to end domestic violence among teens believes that “when kids see that video they are interpreting it as a healthy relationship”. Teens have also been seen getting hooked onto drugs and alcohol because of Pop culture.
Parental intervention is crucial to educate teens about violent behavior in relationships and the repercussions it could have on their lives. Reducing your kids’ TV time or disconnecting the house Internet will do little to curb this flaw. In this age of technology the onslaught of violent video games, movies and music can barely be stopped. However, parents can take an active interest in their teens life and observe who they hang out with/date. Noticing subtle changes in temper which become frequent overtime is a warning sign that your child might need help. Encourage your teen to discuss their problems instead of keeping them bottled up inside can so that an appropriate solution can be found and the risk of developing such violent traits can be eliminated.