Recently there's been some discourse going around the HTTYD fandom about the times Astrid has playfully punched Hiccup. Some see it as abuse, while others don't. I don't see it as abusive since she doesn't do it with the intent of hurting him and Hiccup knows that. It's just playful and neither of them see it as malicious. That's how it looks to me anyway, but I was wondering what your take on it is.
Check out this link for my long analysis on the topic of Hiccstrid and abuse. My statement is that Hiccstrid is clearly not abusive.
It is to note that abuse is not defined by intent. Someone can be abused regardless of what the abuser intends; what makes abuse abuse is that there is a victim. It’s also to note that many individuals who have been abused (including myself, back in the day, when I was in an abusive relationship) try to deny that this is abuse, or might not want to see it as abuse. But you are right - what Astrid is doing is playful, Hiccup knows it, and he’s not emotionally impacted negatively by her actions. The key is that neither Hiccup nor Astrid feel that her little punches are abusive *and* no one is negatively psychologically impacted by this action. Contrarily, they live in an extremely functional, supportive relationship.
Astrid never crosses any boundaries when she gives her “punches.” Though Hiccup gets a little irritated every once in a while, there is no indication she crosses any lines when she acts this way. Astrid’s “punches” are just as abusive as if I decide I want to pull a harmless prank on a friend that makes them a little bit irritated once they’re pranked, but it’s understood within our friendship that I can still prank them. They could prank me back, I might grumble a bit, but I won’t have any qualms with what they did either. It’s within the bounds of our friendship that we mutually know we can get back and forth at each other. Hiccup and Astrid live in a mutual understanding that what she’s doing is okay, not off-limits. Hiccup is not emotionally screwed up by what Astrid is doing, he’s not asking her to stop, but on the contrary he says at the end of HTTYD that, “I could get used to this.” These two are at a mutual understanding that little teasing punches are okay. There are even instances in which Astrid gives her little friendly punch and Hiccup just smiles back at her (ex: end of Heather Report Part 2). This definitely isn’t abuse.
And again, to reiterate, Hiccstrid demonstrates signs again and again of a healthy relationship. They tease one another and laugh with carefree spirits, able to relax and enjoy themselves around one another. They listen to one another’s struggles and provide support when needed. Astrid encourages Hiccup when he loses Toothless in the first movie; Hiccup encourages Astrid when she momentarily loses her sight in Blindsided. They are able to enjoy company with one another and relate to one another deeply through both happy and challenging times. This is a stable relationship. This is a good relationship. This is a relationship that is founded on trust, mutual understanding, love, dedication, loyalty, and happiness.
I do encourage everyone who is not triggered by abuse topics to read the full link. It’s a much more thorough and complete response, going into everything from psychological traits of abusers, psychological traits of victims, and every bit of evidence we could see for/against abuse. It tackles many of the common arguments I’ve heard from attempted abuse claims, and points out where I find these arguments flawed. I talk about Astrid’s actions in the Cove (which, to note, are before they enter a relationship), her actions during Riders and Defenders of Berk, and up to How to Train Your Dragon 2. So check out that analysis! I hope it helps! Take care and have a wonderful day.