I usually am pretty good at ignoring stuff but as someone who has been in an abusive
relationship I feel like I need to discuss the Astrid is abusive
argument and clarify what abuse really is.
I don’t think I am going to get through to the trolls or the people who have their mind set that she is, but I might make the shippers who are bothered by seeing this argument feel better.
I am going to start with a definition
of an abusive relationship:
According to the Centre for
Relationship Abuse Awareness:
Relationship abuse is
a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to
maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner.
Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can
include threats, isolation, and intimidation. Abuse tends to
escalate over time. When someone uses abuse and violence against a
partner, it is always part of a larger pattern of control.
When I was with my ex, I was afraid. I
lived every day in fear. Fear that I would be hurt or that my friends
and family would be turned against me and that I’d have no one. He
used my fear as a way to control me, to keep me from the people and
doing the things I loved. It got worse over time, until I realized
that I feared for my life and got out.
I believe my experience was typical.
I don’t think Astrid abuses Hiccup
because I see no evidence of fear and attempts at isolating or
Let’s looks at Hiccup and Astrid post
HTTYD 1 when they are in a relationship. Friendship counts as a
relationship. Pre and for most of HTTYD, I don’t think they were in a
relationship so I am not going to talk about that yet.
Is Astrid rough? Does she tease? Does
she punch as a form of communication? Yes
Is she abusive? No.
As a teacher, I see good friends rough
housing and teasing each other all the time. Sometimes they even hurt
each other and think it is funny. I also see bullying.
How do I differentiate between the two?
By the way the “victim” reacts.
If the victim seems the least bit
alarmed, afraid, angry, or uncomfortable, I consider it bullying, I
intervene, talk to them about it and work with them about whether and
how they feel the bullying needs to be addressed.
If everyone seems jovial, I deal with
the behaviour if it is inappropriate but I don’t treat it as
bullying. Often, if it is just harmless teasing and razzing, I walk
away because my friends and I roughhouse, razz and tease each other
all of the time. If there are no hurt feelings. There is no problem.
Hiccup seems fine and in good cheer
most of the time. I do not get the sense that Hiccup is hurt,
afraid, angry, or feels controlled at all. When it comes to sass and
teasing, he gives as good as he gets.
Astrid is a little rough, and could use
her words more but she does not attempt to control, intimidate or
isolate Hiccup. Her friendly punches are more of an expression of her
desire for physical contact. According to the book HTTYD, a punch in the arm is a Viking equivalent to a hug. Therefore, I see no reason to call her behaviour
Now let’s look back at HTTYD 1 and the
two scenes that bother people the most:
The Fall During Dragon Training and The
In both cases was Astrid rough? Was she
violent and mean? Yes. Did she assault Hiccup? Yes.
But did she abuse him? No.
Because for the most part her behaviour
was reactionary and typical of a battle ready culture that prized
violence and toughness and not demonstrative of a pattern of
behaviour where she uses fear to control.
I am not excusing her behaviour.
Stepping on Hiccup’s face and driving her axe handle into his guts
were both uncalled for but there is nothing in canonverse that
suggests to me that these types of behaviours continue once they
become friends and later lovers so they can not be used as evidence that their
relationship is abusive.
In conclusion, Astrid is not abusive
because her actions do not demonstrate an escalating
pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain
power and control over Hiccup. Hiccup is not afraid of her, hurt by
her or minds the fact that she can be a little rough. Therefore it
is not an abusive relationship.