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Blair & Chuck: “An abuser’s paradise”

Well, who doesn’t love a good gossip? Rumour has it, that the author of this blog thinks that the relationship between Blair and Chuck is driven by toxic masculinity and extreme attachment issues. While talking about the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite, Gossip Girl, also tends to portray negative ideas on romanticising love.

Dear readers, looks like the ghosts of Chuck’s past have come back to haunt him. Charles Bass, also known as Chuck, a persistent sex offender and dangerous misogynist, is placed on a pedestal because of his conventional handsomeness. While being introduced in the plot episode, he is shown to attempt rape on his future wife’s best friend by using blackmail, and on the same day, he coerces a 14 year-old girl to drink more alcohol despite her being visibly uncomfortable and afterwards tries to kiss her; he is glorified for being a “bad boy”. In particular, his whole identity is based around his wealth and the power it gives him. His catchphrase, “I’m Chuck Bass” perfectly illustrates that he can do anything he wants because his money can open any door.

In an effort to spread rumours, we look over someone even more scandalous—Blair Waldorf. Living on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, she spent most of her life as part of New York’s high society, and considers herself the Queen Bee.  She’s domineering, manipulative, yet loyal. After failing to build a future with Nate Archibald, Blair starts a romantic relationship with Chuck Bass but later embarks on a failed marriage with Prince Louis Grimaldi throughout the series. She has remained the highlight of the gossips with her “Bad Blair Ways”.

All masks have to eventually come off, and so will of their relationship’s. They say, “the person you lose your virginity to always remains special”, and I guess that’s why Blair can’t stay away from Chuck. His need to control Blair is truly harmful and toxic. He stalked her from the comfort of his stretch limo by hiring a private investigator, refused to tell her that he loves her and let her go, and trades her for sex to his uncle in exchange for his hotel. The point of no return for the couple (or at least what should’ve been) was when Chuck nearly punched Blair. This isn’t just awful in and of itself, but because of how the creators of the show frame the incident. Blair told Chuck that she is engaged to Prince Louis, and at that moment, he grabbed her and forced her against a glass wall, which he then proceeded to punch, causing the glass to fall and cut her face. Whether or not he was trying to hit her or the wall doesn’t change the severity of the incident. Threats of violence through acts of intimidation are abuse and also extremely harmful to victims’ emotional welfare.

No less than two episodes later do Blair and Chuck sleep together, with Blair then trying to convince him that they belong together. Chuck’s abuse of Blair is only mentioned once again when he much later apologised to her. His apology was meaningless as it isn’t followed up by a change in behaviour, as is often the case with abusive partners. His need for proving to be a man led him to over-obsess with expanding his father’s empire, and in this process, he forgot about Blair and gave her less priority over his hotel. This was a portrayal of toxic masculinity that was then romanticised when he goes rogues and tells Blair that he can’t survive without her.

Trouble in paradise or true love? Serial harassers turning into soft core boys? Guess the love wore on. Sure, there are times I’ve rooted for them. There are moments between the pair that make me swoon. But I can’t shake the toxicity of the relationship. The directors made sure of romanticising abusers onscreen that had an impact on the audience. I was also in awe of their relationship until recently when I rewatched the show, while realising that the thing that I imagined to have one day, the love that I needed,  was actually some fiction created with the worst form.

Who wouldn’t want a cute relationship that everyone desired? But on the inside, this was the most damaged one, and Blair constantly trying to fix it, going extents to stop it from breaking is something I wouldn’t want to do in life. This wasn’t love, this was attachment issues that Blair had with Chuck, and not letting him go showed that womanisers/harassers can get away with anything and still get what they want. The constant aggression, games, abuse is something that is glorified in this show, and this all promotes toxic masculinity with the love sphere among their viewers.

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