Rihanna should teach kids a thing or two

January 30, 2014 2:00 pm

By the time this article has been published, I am assuming everyone has seen Rihanna’s ‘Pour It Up’ video. But if by any chance you are not amongst the over 90 million people who have seen it, I recommend you watch it now. It has plenty of bare booty, strippers, twerking, Rihanna wearing next to nothing and showering in dollar bills. I guarantee it will be fun for the whole family. Yes, you heard me. Please have your little girl watch it.

The media hastily demanded the banning of the video, trashing the singer for crossing the line using all the prude rhetoric they could find in their arsenal. They played the feminism card too, because it’s so hip now to invoke feminism to settle every argument. It so happens this has a lot to do with feminism, but not with the easy to digest pseudo-doctrine that is waved around to keep girls in check, submissive, obedient. No, Rihanna’s video and song is actually EMPOWERING women. To explain, I would like to discuss this following statement by Dr Helen Wright, former president of the Girls’ School Association, quoted in Daily Mail, regarding the aforementioned clip:

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‘Teenagers are impressionable; this video feeds them the same old ugly story of female enslavement, not emancipation or equality.’

Great. I see two issues here.

1. Public figures like singers, politicians, actors and footballers are NOT responsible for your child’s education. They are not role models and they shouldn’t be. Parents and teachers are responsible for children’s education and children are responsible for their own education. And we are all doing it wrong. If you say that teenagers are impressionable, this is because they are taught to be consuming drones. They are passive viewers, passive recipients of information. They don’t question or criticize. So, they need to be sheltered from something that might just as well disturb them from their state of limbo, that might intrigue them and challenge their assumptions. It would be too much to realize that maybe, just maybe, a stripper is not a whore. And realize that maybe their moral values are not absolute, but can change with new experiences. Because individual ideologies and standards are flexible, it is the society’s absurd model of integrity which is not. All of these new waves of feminism and anti-racism in the media are diluted versions of real issues and real struggles. They are turning, ironically, in their dumbed-down form, from ways of liberation into tools for control. But more on control and obedience…

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2. Let’s agree upon the fact that female emancipation means that females should be treated and seen as equal to men. Now, in Rihanna’s video she is appropriating a male space, that of the marketplace. She is essentially trading sex for money. And she enjoys every bit of it. Because regardless of what ‘haters’ think about her, she ‘has her money’. Money is male because money is power. She is sitting on a throne for crying out loud! Her over-sexualized poses are not degrading, au contraire, they show confidence. She is independent, she makes money, she produces. The males that buy into it, they are ‘enslaved’, consumers. And Rihanna doesn’t care, because she can provide for herself, which has historically always been a tipping point for women. The woman as breadwinner. The woman in control of her own body, if she wants to treat it as a commodity, that is fine. Because it is her decision, which she admits, acknowledges and celebrates throughout the song.

Now you know what IS degrading for women though? Insulting their intelligence, constantly asking them to stay within whatever society deems acceptable. Getting naked in front of men is bad, offering sex for money is bad, you are being objectified, desired for your body only and not for your beautiful soul. On the other hand, being a housewife is equally bad, sacrificing your life to raise children, not having a career, relying on men…Actually, neither is bad if there is an element of CHOICE behind it, of conscious, assumed choice. The modern woman should afford to make that choice, unlike its predecessors. And the modern woman can’t make an informed choice unless she has access to stuff. Not censored stuff to shelter her but challenging stuff to intrigue her.

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There is this controlled freedom. The sexual revolution allows women to have sex with however many men they wish without being ostracized (allegedly). But there has never been a time in history when women were so insecure, so desperate to be liked so they have to read all the glossy magazines teaching them how to please their men. Women can be big shot lawyers or work on oil rigs for all we care, but horror ensues if a woman is too loud, too ruthless, too well adapted to the business environment which, of course, is a male space. Where do we draw the line? How can we make a difference between cases of exploitation and objectification and cases of making a statement or exercising one’s rights and freedoms? We can’t, unless we make an effort to actually think. Discern. Penetrate the facade. Produce our own meanings. I don’t really care if Rihanna’s intention was to empower women or not, for all I know she may just really like pole dancing.

Question the obvious. If everyone says that video is obviously degrading and pornographic, ask why. Let your children watch it. They will have less preconceptions. Ask them what they think. Maybe they actually have opinions that are interesting or different.

And don’t even get me started on Miley Cyrus…

 

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