Edit: I’m sorry, I allowed my anger at the time of writing this article get the better of me. I don’t think any of you are terrible and I screwed up royally when writing this. Again Sorry.
Over at The Mary Sue comments, we were having a discussion about abusive relationships in fiction. Though it was about comics specifically, it reminded me of Legend of Korra Season 2, aka the crap season and how it used abusive relationships for laughs and how fans enjoyed it.
I didn’t start watching Korra until after the series had finished so I missed out on most of the discussion. This may have been a blessing because I think if I had, I would have been pissed off with many of you.
To get to the chase, Eska abused Bolin, it was an abusive relationship... And it was played for laughs.
Like how about the time when Eska used a wall of ice to physically drag Bolin away from Korra, aka, one of his best friends... And played assault for laughs?
Or how about when Bolin tries to break up with Eska and then she threatens to freeze him in a block of ice and feed him to dolphin piranhas... And emotional abuse is played for laughs?
Or how about when Eska forces Bolin to marry her and then Eska drags Bolin away in pain... And both emotional and physical Abuse is played for laughs?
Or how about when Eska tells Bolin, “Boyfriend! Bow to me before I exit!” and Bolin throws himself on the ground terrified. Eska responds to this by grinning and saying, “You are so sweet when you grovel.”... And emotional abuse and the abuser being rewarded is played for laughs?
And these are just a few of the dozens of times where it’s shown that Eska abuses Bolin and it is played for laughs which is disgusting. Not only does it fall into the dangerous trope that men can’t be abused (40% of victims in the real world are men), it ingrains a horrible message in the younger audience watching that being in an abusive relationship is okay.
What were they thinking with this! Why did no one called them out on this! Well there is an answer for that, you enjoyed it.
Fans either didn’t care or enjoyed it. You see victim blaming Bolin and demanding that Eska become part of the main group and given more character development. Because that’s what we want apparently, more development for the abuser. Fans reveled in the abusive relationship and wanted to see more of it.
Then there was the ways fans said it was okay. It was okay they were Bolin was in an abusive relationship because he was the comic relief (which is victim blaming), Or that he was a man (victim blaming), or Eska had some issues that she was using Bolin to express that (victim blaming) or they simply didn’t like Bolin but liked Eska (Victim Blaming). Seeing a pattern here.
There were of course a few who did call it out: