The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

EW Description: “When two of hip-hop’s most fearsome talents team up, they can make even a sample of the cheesy dance tune “What Is Love” sound epic. As if torn from the headlines, their dramatic new video encourages young fans to stand up to bullies.”

The video centers on a young boy who is being bullied by a group of kids at school. We see clips of him being shoved by other boys and being pelted by dodgeballs. The boys throw his papers down on the floor of the bathroom and also steal his hat to flush down the toilet. We then see one of the boys punch the main boy in the face, giving him a black eye. When he gets home from school, his dad sees the black eye and teaches his son to fight. The video ends with the boy standing up to the bullies.

I know this video was very well-intentioned, but so many things about it are very problematic. For one thing, I am not a fan of teaching children to punch someone who is beating them. I feel like there are other ways to to stand up for yourself without perpetuating violence. Having a boy find the inner strength to walk away from the bullies with his head held high doesn’t make for quite as dramatic of a video, however.

The lyrics are much more positive than the message of the video. Rather than saying he is going to beat them up or kill them, Eminem and Lil’ Wayne rap about getting even with those who did them wrong. However, he phrases it more as just becoming more successful than them and having better raps. While he says “what comes around goes around,” this is not one of the songs where he seems to be advocating violence against another person, which is refreshing.

Overall, it is a very well-intentioned video that fits in very well with the current string of bullying reports. I just do not agree with the overall message.


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