We all have fictional worlds that we have fallen into deeply. We've found ourselves becoming one with them and can't really seem to break away from them if fictional world means a great deal to us. There are characters that we attach to and there are characters that we want to be with other characters. The story and the romance become something that we "live" for and want to see grow further. We yell at the page when the story goes wary, but we also cheer when it all works out in our favor. This type of attachment can become even deeper when these stories hit the silver screen because now they have come even more alive. They grow bigger traction and are then blown into a new proportion that we never thought that could be possible for these fictional worlds.
But there is a darker side to the fictional worlds and it is okay to admit that they we enjoy what is created within them. They can have the darkest of secrets or problems, deal with the scariest of ideas, and taboo subjects that we ourselves never thought we actually enjoy reading or watching. It's okay to admit that we do, because it is simple why we like them. We like these dark worlds because they are not happening to us personally, they are occurring in a different universe that is away at arms' length. And we do get a little excited when these things gain traction and some fame, but we still need to be wary of their content and how it will hit the world in more of a noticeable eye. As a whole, all of it needs to be done properly so that certain communities are not being taken the wrong way or that the wrong ideals are not being inappropriately romanticized.
I decided to pick out a few fictional worlds that have of late gotten a lot of traction with fame and have indeed been inappropriately romanticized. Now as a disclaimer, I will say that I have to a point enjoyed the story lines of each fiction piece, because I have read a lot from each universe. I do think they are well thought out and I do understand why we enjoy being entertained in some way by each one, but I believe we need to take a step back from these fictitious places and understand that we cannot continue to hold the things or ideals created within them in such a high regard or brush off the shoulder.
Recently I saw an advert for the second movie to this trilogy and it caused my jaw to drop. Above the trailer there was the line, "Every fairy tale has a dark side." Okay, let me just stop you right there and have you have that line sink in for a minute. Now, if you know anything about this book trilogy or the movie(s) then maybe you'll understand why that advert's words threw me off kilter for a minute. Yes, I agree about every fairy tale having some kind of dark side because that's how a good fairy tale is made. The good heart-ed prince fights the evil dragon for the princess and they all live happily ever after - give or take a few fairies and romantic kisses. So with that being said, I'm pretty sure that Fifty Shades has nothing to do with any of that storybook fairy tail shenanigans. As I briefly stated above but I will say it again, I have read all three of these books so I'm pretty sure there were no princes, fairies, or dragons lurking around the castle tower.
Now, I will give the advert this, that little trilogy of E.L. James's does most definitely have a dark side. To bluntly put it, the dark side is what is considered to be sex of the BDSM nature (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism). I can tell you might of cringed or gasped from that little tid-bit if you already didn't know but hey, whatever you do in the bedroom is your business. Oh, and don't act like it wouldn't be interesting to read about; we're all curious. But I'm not too keen on the idea that this franchise that has created two movies has basically overshadowed the idea that the BDSM community is safe, respectful, and loving by showing that this relationship seems to be more centered on the ideas of abuse and maybe even Stockholm Syndrome. This may be because these ideals don't seem too prominent in the books, but if I remember correctly Anastasia was not too big on Christian Grey bullying her around unless it was in fact, in the bedroom where there was consent -which is still highly skewed if I'm going to be honest.
So really the problem here is that we now have this skewed idea of what is right and wrong in a relationship and that we just have kind of need to let it go. Yes, I know it is a fictional world, but think about how real this actually is for some people. Abuse in any fashion, whether it is physical, emotional, or mental, it is not okay. The characters in this world all go through some kind of abuse or harmful tribulation; such as emotionally attacking one another, mentally abusing each other, and there is even the talk of rape. Christian literally does everything in his power to try to get Anastasia to yield to him at any given point in the day for his own gain. And we just seem to just not pay much mind to it because it isn't "real." But I'm sorry, we shouldn't necessarily romanticize this because we think the sex is interesting. Rather, we should look at all of this and think to ourselves "Okay, wow, this is not okay. Please let this get better. Please let there be character development. Or let this stop." Yeah, major buzz kill but abuse isn't something we should ever just shrug off because it is very, very real and there are people out there that need their voices heard and by just shrugging off the fictional ones, we start to ignore those very real voices. Respect. Love. Safety. They're all so important.
Harley Quinn and the Joker
Okay, so speaking of abuse these two are basically the definition of abusive relationships. I could literally sit here and break down every moment that the Joker has abused the holy heaven out of Harley and it would fill up a novella. Plus then we would have sit around for the times where Harley abused the Joker, but that list isn't quite as long. From the moment Mista J met Harley Quinn, he manipulated and weaseled his way into her heart and mind so that he could get whatever he wanted. He made her believe that he loved her -which in some ways he does- and that he was her only ally in the world because they both were some how on the same level of crazy. Harley basically becomes a Florence Nightingale figure with him and gets him out of jail while also joining his insane cause. Over every arch, story line, and universes these two have crossed together Joker has not just mentally and emotionally abused her time and time again, but he has also physically abused her. From pushing her out of airplanes, trains, cars; punching or slapping her; biting her; and even just abandoning her when the stakes get high, he has literally put this woman through the ringer. He's told her that she is worthless, that should could die and it wouldn't bother him (lies), and that she will never amount to anything without him. You name it and the Joker has probably done it to Harley Quinn.
Now Harley is no dummy, she recognizes every last thing that the Joker does to her. She takes it repeatedly, hardly ever giving up on him even though there are times you can tell that she does and will, but she never truly leaves his side. He has basically conditioned her enough to where she actually believes that she couldn't live without him. And yes, I do understand that they love one another and they do show it in odd ways when they aren't beating up on one another, but Harley would be much better off without Mista J -I know gasp, how dare I even think that, but I have a point.
And although Mista J and Harley have been around for close to handful of decades, their relationship has really come to light recently because of the release of Suicide Squad in the summer of 2016. Although they as a unit were not a huge dynamic in the movie, they were still together enough on the silver screen for us to see how abusive their relationship is. He literally leaves her injured in their totaled car to get caught and even pushes her out of an airplane, all for his own selfish gain. There were many articles that came out on how we should not romanticize them or wish for a relationship like theirs, which I whole-heartedly agree. It seems great to want to be with someone that matches our "crazy" or "dark-side" but there are ways that you can achieve this without you or your significant other crossing the line of abuse. Again, by just brushing this aside in the fictional world causes us to believe that in some way that it is okay for real abuse to occur all around us, or that we think that an abusive relationship is what we deserve. In no way does anyone deserve to be treated in that manner because there is most definitely someone out there that is 100x better that will match you perfectly.
I actually have this one to thank for the creation of this article. This web comic, or manga -what have you- has created quite a stir in the world. I'm not really sure how it became such a popular hit out of nowhere despite the fact that the Yuri!!! On Ice fandom got its hands on it and then it took off. Again, I'm not sure how that happened because that fandom is so pure and fluffy, but hey, we all like reading crazy dark stuff. And boy-oh-boy, is this web comic full of some crazy dark shenanigans. There are so many twists and turns throughout each chapter that there were times that I held my breath and other times where I just yelled "what is this?!" for five pages. And although I am about to tell you why you shouldn't romanticize any part of it, I do think you should read it not just so you can see my point but also see how well written and well drawn it is.
Okay, the short and dirty of this story so that I don't spoil any of it is there is a character named Yoon Bum (the one up front in the photo) who ends up getting kidnapped, tortured, and basically almost murdered every now and then by another character named Sangwoo (the little creepy f*** with the baseball bat). It is almost a little uncertain why Sangwoo decides to keep poor Yoon Bum locked first in his basement and then his house, other than some kind of sick gain or game. Of course, Yoon Bum shouldn't have been in Sangwoo's house to begin with, but that is beside the point and if I told you why he was there, it would then end up with me telling you the wild ride of this story thus far.
Obviously I don't really need to tell you why kidnapping, torture, potential murder, potential rape, and all that crazy stuff should be considered hard no's in our world. But I should point out that there are some people out there that are romanticizing this story and I have a big issue with it because of all the aforementioned happenings. Killing Stalking is tagged as a romance story and a part of me is real uncertain about this besides each character being homosexual and wanting one another (which is still unclear at this point). Yes, Yoon Bum does in an odd way have a crush on Sangwoo before the roller-coaster ride kicks off but that is kind of where it stops. He does say he loves Sangwoo through the story but it could most definitely be classified as a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome. He has been hurt and beaten down enough to where he could only be saying this to please Mr. Crazy and not be killed. Then we have Sangwoo who acts -in the oddest and darkest ways- that he cares for Yoon Bum. He feeds him, watches after him, dresses him (in women's clothing), and lets him sleep next to him BUT this is all after he has beaten on him and continues to harm him physically and mentally. And the whole fact that Sangwoo puts Yoon Bum in women's clothing is not only to demean him but to also show that he, Sangwoo, has an odd Oedipus Complex -which my best friend kindly pointed out when we discussed the latest chapter- because he loved his mom very dearly and wanted to do what he could to please her; which is what he kind of tries to do with Bum, but again, in the darkest of ways. So, yeah, I am not really sure in any way why anyone is calling this a romance because it is clearly is not and we should not stand for it being called such. By doing so, just like the others, it diminishes the very real happenings that this story touches on and causes us to just brush it off.
All of this false romanticizing of dark ideals needs to stop because it not only hurts us but it can potentially end up hurting others too. Yes, enjoy reading or watching it because it is a secret pleasure we all hold, but never get too wrapped into these fictional worlds to where you don't believe that these things do actually happen. We need to be on the look out for them and look out for those who go through the abuse and harm we read about. We are given the advantage to see it through different eyes, let us use this knowledge for good. Let's stop romanticizing all the bad and start giving the love, respect, and safety we all deserve.