Protect Me From My Protector
In her critique of romantic love, bell hooks writes, “This illusion, perpetuated by so much romantic lore, stands in the way of our learning how to love. To sustain our fantasy, we substitute romance for love.” In Protect Me From My Protector, Chandra Melting Tallow pierces the fantasy of romance to reveal the sharp, tense and dark edges of harm within intimate partner relationships. Dropping us into the emotional inner world of the artist, this work explores the intensity, confusion, and disorientation of living within the confines of abuse, including the cycles of trauma and cognitive dissonance that occur when one’s protector is simultaneously inflicting harm.
The piece extends past personal relationships to confront power relations, particularly between the state as a protectorate and marginalized communities. When these communities are depicted as irrational and hysterical, the state reasserts power to remove their agency. As a result of such abuses of power, the world is heard and experienced differently by marginalized communities, so that music that once signaled romance can be recast as a tool of manipulation.
“The topic [of intimate partner violence] makes people uncomfortable. Regardless of how much people say they want to believe in support survivors, it’s still taboo. So I wanted to make something that would dismantle the isolation that survivors experience as well as people who are still in that situation.”
Protect Me From My Protector was composed by Chandra Melting Tallow.