Average Jane



Indulge Me: Chris Brown, Rhianna and Injustice in Pop Culture

Hi. I have nothing particular interesting or insightful to share with you. You can leave now. Or, you can indulge me in a short rant about the current state of pop culture and the inequities therein.

*clears throat*

Chris Brown threw a chair through a window today. Or tried. Two year ago he was accused and later convicted of beating up Rhianna. Her lack of talent aside, it was a bad move. As adults we keep our hands to ourselves – one of the few life lessons I took away from pre-school. The asshole served his time, rehabilitated himself (or whatever) and got back to “music making.” I believe in the system (sometimes). In this respect, he served what he was sentenced whether it was the right sentence or not. Today, two years later, Mr. Brown appeared on Good Morning America, was asked a question about his arrest two years ago, got upset and stormed off the set. He claimed he wants the past to stay in the past and his fans to focus on his new album. He angrily tweeted, threw aforementioned chair, and ripped his shirt off (for effect?)  before leaving the building. Shirtless.

Rhianna has no talent. (Just had to put it out there.) Or at the very least, her talent as a singer is, shall we say, enhanced in post-production and unreplicable in concert from what I have seen. She has had some success, and she was the victim of a terrible crime. Awful crime. She was beat by a man with whom she was romantically tied. Today, I heard her latest song on the radio. “Heard” is a strong word since I turned it off after a few verses and one round of the chorus left me reeling.

Feels so good being bad (Oh oh oh oh oh)
There’s no way I’m turning back (Oh oh oh oh oh)
Now the pain is my pleasure cause nothing could measure
(Oh oh oh oh oh)

Love is great, love is fine (Oh oh oh oh oh)
Outta box, outta line (Oh oh oh oh oh)
The affliction of the feeling leaves me wanting more
(Oh oh oh oh oh)

Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me

Full disclosure, I get it. Being physical in a sexual context can be exciting. There are safe words if things get out of hand. There are boundaries. And both parties have entered into the situation wilfully and knowingly. That being said, it is a fascinating juxtaposition that in one day, Chris Brown gets asked yet again about his violent outburst and Rhianna gets airplay touting the pleasure of hers.

I don’t feel bad for anyone in this situation, they’re both doing just fine, but Chris Brown served his time. He will forever be marred by this incident and Rhianna is out there making millions without having to explain anything to anyone. Her song is tasteless and classless. She was the victim of violence and without explanation or apology she is out there telling her fans, many of them the same little girls who two years ago she told hitting was not ok, that hitting is ok… sometimes.

Look, I’m nobody. I don’t know a damn thing about these people. I’ve never been physically abused aside from an undeserved punch in the nose when I was a kid. I also haven’t chosen a public life. I do, however, see an unjust double standard here that I can’t quite articulate but that is really eating at my insides.

Insight? Anyone?

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Comments

  1. * Jessica says:

    I’m not sure that Rihanna’s under any obligation to play the part of the victim the way *you* think it should be played. She’s sharing and celebrating an aspect of her sexuality that tends towards the BDSM end of the spectrum – a valid choice for consenting adults. Should she have to self-censor more than other artists simply because someone else decided to subject her to *non-consensual* violence?

    What about Justin Timberlake’s song that pretty much addresses the same issues? “Dirty babe/You see these shackles baby I’m your slave/I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave”. That track involves misogyny and BDSM all at the same time, and it doesn’t seem to have registered with you quite on the same level. If there’s a double standard, maybe you should take a look at why it’s okay when a white male sings about it, but not when Rihanna, who happens to have been a victim of very public domestic violence, does.

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 4 months ago


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