Perhaps because of my higher than usual comfort with horrific imagery, I’m usually not the best at anticipating what images will be labeled as triggering (a word I loathe but that’s for a separate post), and so my immediate reaction to this image as problematic was a surprise. Excited to be ahead of the curve for once, I immediately went to the interwebs to see how people were responding—only to be met with silence. It’s an obvious cliché but in this case the silence truly was deafening.
And so in today’s Short Cut, I want to spend a little time unpacking why I find the image troubling and posing a few questions I hope people will weigh in on. While I fully expect many will argue it is just one image and of little consequence, I truly believe that the popular culture we consume greatly influences our beliefs and perceptions, even if we aren’t fully aware of it.
I want to acknowledge from the outset that clearly this image does not exist within a vacuum. As viewers, we know that Morgan’s captivity is a consensual act negotiated between the two characters in an attempt to ward off The Wolves, who are violently attacking the community. We recognize that the intent of this moment is about subterfuge and not enslavement. For viewers in the moment, the distinction is clear.