She’s one of today’s most notorious singers. She’s a rag-to-riches story come true. An icon, an inspiration… but she is also wrapped up in a dark tale of dangerous love. The world came down hard on Chris Brown after he attacked Rihanna in February 2009, but now that she has taken him back, it seems the world has gone mute. We can’t really condemn a relationship that we are not a part of. But we can’t condone her decision either. So what do we do? Stay silent. But now one voice has emerged from the abyss and is calling Rihanna out on her behavior – and that voice belongs to Lena Dunham.
“[Being a role model] is amazing. It’s an amazing thing and … it’s a platform that you have to take seriously. Which is why sometimes it’s like I used to be really into Rihanna, that pop star, and then it’s like again, I don’t ever want to throw stones from my glass house, but I follow her on Instagram and I just think about how many little girls beyond what I could even comprehend are obsessed with Rihanna. Like, you know, she left Barbados, she’s had this amazing career, she’s won a Grammy… she’s talented. And then she get’s together with Chris Brown and posts a million pictures of them smoking marijuana together on a bed. And it cracks my heart in half in a way that makes me feel like I’m 95 years old.”
Such were the words Lena spoke to Alec Baldwin during an interview on his podcast. She’s become an increasing powerful voice in the celebrity scene. But did she have a right to articulate it on this matter?
Yes, she did. Lena has a brilliant, sharp understanding of women in today’s world. Her show, “Girls,” is a searing portrait of the wayward, directionless lives of modern young women. She knows how malleable we are (even in our 20s) and she knows who we look up to. Her cultural introspection is 20/20, and she was absolutely right to turn the looking glass on Rihanna.
Rihanna, by no means, is a role model for children. In this aspect, Lena was irrefutably correct. Thinking of a 12 year old singing along to “S&M” on the radio, or worse yet, watching the video on MTV is perverse and horrifying. Rihanna, like all other female pop-stars, is hypersexualized. However, Rihanna, unlike the rest, is unapologetic about it. She even named an album after the sentiment. She’s also violent. The “Man Down” video caused ripples of controversy as she was portrayed assassinating a man in vengeance (watch the video below.) Is it a double standard that James Bond and Bruce Willis can do these things, but Rihanna can’t? Yes. But they are both extremely inappropriate for impressionable children to be watching. If we didn’t have excellent role models out there like Emma Stone, I’d think Hollywood is creating a generation of veritable sociopaths to inherit the world.
In the aspect of Rihanna being a bad role model for children, Lena was absolutely right. But she was wrong in saying that Rihanna is a bad role model entirely. There is a subset of the human species that she represents with a fierce and unwavering pride – women.
Rihanna is a woman who was humiliated on an international level. Not only was she attacked by the man she loved, but the world knew. The world had pictures. But she was no victim. Rihanna emerged from this event to begin what would be the most musically prolific period of her life thus far. And yes, she may have taken him back, but her message of female empowerment has not wavered. Rihanna teaches women, too often victims to societal impositions, the whims of others around them, or their own insecurities to stop giving a ****. When MTV tweeted out that Rihanna was smoking weed at Coachella, guess what she tweeted them back? That’s right. Rihanna teaches women to be strong. And whatever her methods may be, female empowerment is never wrong.
Do you feel empowered by Rihanna’s actions? Or do you think she needs to close her Instagram account and stop publicizing her bad decisions?Tags: Chris Brown, lena dunham, Man Down, Rihanna, role model, S&M