Chuck Bass and Blair Walford are the well-known characters of the iconic couple from one of the most popular series in the United States, “Gossip Girl”.
Gossip Girl was a teenage drama about the luxurious and scandalous lives of the Manhattan elite families that began broadcasting in 2007 and ended in 2012. The influence of the show was enormous, and even today it is still very popular. The series consisted of a group of protagonists, among them the actress Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf and the actor Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass, whose people are known to be an iconic couple “to the test of everything.”
This popular couple continues to give a lot to talk about. In any social network, one does not have to search much to come across a photograph of this couple, a meme, a tribute, or simply posts on Twitter about the relationship of the couple as a goal. The most loved and idealized couple in the series.
This type of blind romanticization and idealization of this couple is a very common pattern. People seem to ignore that the development of this couple was disastrous, in which it was normalized and romanticized sexual harassment as well as sexual, physical, verbal, and mental abuse. The violence that these characters present not only within their relationship but with the rest of the characters are very worrying, especially for the male character Chuck Bass, since from the first episode Chuck harasses Blair repeatedly, and later in the same episode he sexually assaults a fourteen-year-old girl. But why would such a misogynistic character be so idolized by many teenagers and young people?
Chuck Bass’ character is introduced early in the series as a villain. A very wealthy and attractive boy, who lost his mother as a child, and his father is an extremely ambitious and proud person. Chuck is known in the series for being a womanizer, who loves slang and alcohol in addition to being a character with anger management problems, manipulative, vindictive, misogynist, spiteful, and a liar. On the other hand, one of our two main protagonists Blair Waldorf is introduced to us as the “Queen Bee”, a wealthy, manipulative, vindictive, capricious, self-centered, and selfish girl, with, of course, a very good sense of fashion and pretty face.
Until the first season, it seemed clear the prototype of the villain that was being presented to the audience, which we usually see a lot and we must take care of ourselves. However, the girls saw episode after episode as a misogynist and practically sexual delinquent unfolded and put him on a pedestal because he was conveniently attractive. This type of response is alarming because it is a clear example of how some men are granted free passes for their privileges and aesthetic beauty. The fact that young girls use Chuck Bass as a frame of reference for their ideal partner, or ideal love is extremely alarming because it is very likely that they are taking these types of characters as a justification for the actions of other young people or even couples towards them. The famous “he does it because he loves me”.
Blair can’t be saved either. The character of Blair was excessively manipulative, not only within his relationship with Bass but also with the rest of the characters.
The audience’s affection for Blair is also based on blind and irrational love. Since her character could make the entire family audience hate and justify the violent and abusive behavior that Blair had with other female characters because Chuck cheated on her with them. Something that was completely his fault and responsibility, not the girls involved who was Chuck’s most victims, some of them even blackmailed.
The relationship of these two characters is toxic, abusive, manipulative, and totally romanticized.
However, it is a very common pattern that we can see a lot in relationships and this type of character dynamics with the public is a clear example of this.
The industry should stop romanticizing this type of relationship more when she is presented to an audience as broad and young as the one to which Gossip Girl was exposed.
But after all, as precisely this couple has shown, who have not lost their popularity even ten years later, it is a relationship that sells a lot. It attracts a lot and sells a lot because seeing a relationship as abusive as theirs with a happy ending gives us peace of mind and the false hope of comfort towards the abuses we experience and that we want to justify.
2 thoughts on “Chuck and Blair, an iconic love, iconically abusive and romanticized.”
I remember watching this show in my early teens. I definitely idolized the relationship and thought they were absolute “goals.” Looking back now, there are so many red flags. The very first episode showed that Chuck sexually assaulted someone. And yet, we loved his character for the next five seasons. We should really be careful about relationship portrayal. I think it works when toxic and abusive relationships are not romanticized and we show the truth about these, but it is a difficult line to traverse between romanticism and non. Even shows like today, for example Euphoria, promote themselves as representing the lives of real teenagers, but many adolescents and early teens watch the show and don’t understand that the relationships in there should not be idolized.
I too have seen this show and the relationship between Blaire and Chuck is about as toxic as it gets. While I understand it is drama, many young girls who are still very impressionable watch this show. From personal experience, I found that most of my friends growing up began watching the show in elementary or middle school. This romanticized toxic relationship is something that these girls admire because even when I watch the show, I too find myself rooting for them in the end. Its not until I actually start analyzing it that I realize how many horrible things they do to each other over and over again.