“You’re the Joker to my Harley Quinn” seems to be the most used caption for pictures that young couples upload today.
After the release of the much awaited and hugely popular Suicide Squad film, people are not only looking up to the couple, but are also glamourising the abusive relationship without knowing how messed up it actually is.
But youngsters seem to be following the trend for a while now which is not only being depicted in films, but music too! When Rihanna opened up about her abusive relationship in the song Love The Way You Lie with Eminem, they inevitably seemed to glorify the relationship.
So often we brush off pop culture, without fully understanding that it has the ability to shift our preferences and also change what is seen as normal.
“A major theme of these films is about the female protagonist who is constantly trying to fix her abuser, which has in turn made girls think they can actually change the ‘bad boys’ in their lives. Films portray these male characters as misunderstood which a lot of youngsters take at face value. What they don’t understand is that being abused and accepting it while hoping the other person changes is not the same thing as love,” explains Tanvi Seth, a corporate employee.
Seems like, the disturbing qualities of the male protagonists is seen as attractive – where the dark, brooding character is passed off as desirable rather than a creep!
“Many young girls even relate to character such as Harley Quinn because she tried so hard to make the Joker happy, while he used the fact that she was madly in love with him to his advantage, but doesn't follow through with his promises,” says Namrata, who was in an abusive relationship.
“People are usually shown one side of the story where a silly little delusional girl thinks she’s in love with a man who makes false promises and abuses her, and seems to be ok with it as she does not object,” continues the corporate employee who shows her distaste towards such depictions.
Physical torture and abuse does not depict a mad man who can be fixed, but a dangerous man instead. “Pop culture may not be intending to glorify abusive relationships, but eventually end up doing so because it defines our social norms,” explains Dr Saakshi Shetty, a relationship counsellor.
“Abusive relationships are being used to tell a gripping story, without painting the entire picture. Displaying passion and love, in the form of violence makes people think the abuse is a form of affection. On screen, we aren't shown the tears and there is no representation of the fear that these victims faces, which is interpreted that they are actually enjoying the abuse,” explains the concerned psychologist.