|Photo Source: Tumblr...copied from Rihanna|
Last week, Rihanna released her video for BBHMM. The video is explicit and contains violence, recreational drug use and nudity (similar to a lot of stuff on TV). I watched the video maybe an hour after it was released, cringed like the sheltered individual I am and moved on with life. The following morning, I read an article from Refinery 29 entitled “Rihanna's "BBHMM" Video Is Not Suitable For Work, Or Feminists.” At that moment I was itching to write something but was on my way out of town.
Since then, they’ve been a host of articles and countless comments regarding Rihanna being for or against the feminist movement. First thing first, dictionary.com defines feminist as “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.” It is speculated that this song (and its fictional video) is about her former accountant Peter Gounis and if he really swindled her out of 9 million dollars, how would you respond? As a woman, one has to wonder if this would’ve happened if she were a man. Maybe so, but to that extant? What modern day feminist should understand is that you cannot police how women choose to deal with their inequalities. Maybe you’ll join a panel, recruit a group of women to complain at your local vegan café, etc. but because all of our experiences are different, there is no foremost authority who can tell us how to articulate our disparities.
One can also look at it in terms of the gender pay gap. According to the American Association of University Women (as of Spring 2015), the pay gap has barely budged in a decade, is worse for women of color, grows with age and exists in nearly every occupation. And, “while more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap.” BBHMM seems pretty applicable to me.
Then there are those who say “well, she didn’t have to kidnap the wife, she had nothing to do with it.” To that I say, shut up. It’s a fictional story where the wife is taken as collateral damage but later parties with them and is presumably released. Further, there are way more REAL things to be outraged about: education, criminal justice system, gender and economic inequality, pretending racism and privilege doesn’t exist, etc. Pick your poison; there are enough issues to go around...
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