Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Rihanna: Here's your chance to be a role model

You can't have failed to read the story of pop singer Rhianna beaten up by her boyfriend Chris Brown (I can sing you a bit of Umbrella, but him, not so sure- perhaps that was part of the problem) whilst en route to the Grammys.
The story took several twists and turns. Firstly I found it shocking that the story even broke in the first place; you can only imagine how much of this stuff goes on and is carefully brushed under the (red) carpet? The fact this even scratched our radar proved it was something very bad indeed. Once the pictures leaked, it was unthinkable that she would take him back; why would she? A successful, independant pop star, greatly admired by people with you know, no taste in music, but don't hold that against her.
There was a positive moment when her dad spoke up and said 'At some point, she will speak out. I hope she will stand up for women all over the world.' My heart soared when he said that; I really hoped that would be the case. I looked forward to that.
And then...
'Role model' has always struck me as a horrible phrase; who would want to be one? When The One Show robots asked Moz if he has a responsibility to his fans, he replied, 'I have a responsibility to no one.' And thank God.
But the life of a pop show-pony is different. Rhianna (and Chris Brown) produce music for teenagers. It is all about appearance (because there genuinely is nothing underneath). It is image, image, image; if you look right, and can be marketed correctly, it doesn't matter how you sound. Look at the way Britney's meltdown has been all but erased, even though it's still written all over her face. If they say it enough times, maybe we'll believe she's that sweet little girl again, and not picture the hospital stretcher and the dilated pupils and the headshaving. Oh and don't mention the children, she sure loves those little boys.
In the rock/indie world, this kind of behaviour adds to your kudos. But the pop world is a different machine. The Simon Cowells and Pete Watermans want these people wrapped in plastic, saying the right thing. Domestic violence? That's an issue not conducive with the glitz and the glam- the lie.
Chris Brown is beneath contempt. I refuse to believe he could claw his way back into any sort of career; he has got to be finished (please don't let this statement come back to haunt me). Wife-beating is about one rung more sales-friendly as kiddy- fiddling, I'd hope. But Rhianna? She has the opportunity now for something amazing, something to be proud of, and that is to be a good example to every 18-year-old girl getting slapped around by her boyfriend, or any married woman getting regular beatings. If Jade Goody can really make thousands of women go and get a smear test, then Rhianna could make at least a few young women in awe of her look twice at their relationship, look twice at their face and realise they want it to stay pretty. They might think, 'if Rhianna can leave, so can I.' She needs to stand up and make a statement, and not just a verbal one, but one with her actions.
If she gets back with Chris Brown, what kind of message is that sending out? That even with all her money and success, she can't do any better. So God help women trapped in poverty being abused, or women so ground down that they can't see a way out. Because if even Rhianna's advisors, her PR machine, and apparently close family can't stop her going back, then what hope is there for the average women who you know, loves him, and he's nice 95% of the time, right, and he's so sorry afterwards (these things are cliches because they are true).
I don't believe what I read anyway, so hopefully it's not the case. But if it is, she could end up doing more unintentional harm to women than that thick fucking pig of a boyfriend of hers. And it may seem anti-feminist, and like I'm blaming the victim; I'm not. Because this is about women. But too many women have dropped the charges, only to see this man they love coming at them with a knife next time, or turning up with a shotgun, or murdering their kids, or their mum, or their new boyfriend, or the whole bloody lot.
I do believe that occasionally abusers who want to can change. But they can't change overnight. And they have to realise what they've done is abhorrent, not just be told it. And they have to be genuinely sorry; wait for a lot of time to pass, and in the vast majority of cases, to not be with that person they hurt anymore. Because those dynamics in that relationship have changed forever.
A story on Digtal Spy today says, 'Rihanna's father Ronald Fenty recently insisted that he would support his daughter's decision to rekindle the romance.' That's not a romance. It's a crime scene.


Ossian said...

brilliant finish.

yeah. she should definitely not let that arse anywhere near her ever again. there are two ways she can go, one is signposted rihanna and the other is signposted victim.

couldn't believe this. such a doll - love that tasteless umbrella video and all - yeah, i have no taste, i know.

Ossian said...

except what i hated about that video was the unnecessary geezer at the beginning (was that the perpetrator?) and him bolloxing on about "we kill somebody then we hide in the weather" or some such shit.

Depresso said...

If she is back with him... yeah, it's not perfect, but it's her choice. She's not ready to leave him yet. Hopefully, she will be before he does something worse. And if she is back with him, women/girls who are in similar relationships will hopefully see that, and realise that they're not insane or whatever to go back to him. And hopefully, friends of people who are being abused will shut the fuck up when they insist that she absolutely has to leave him and NOW, cause that does little else other than isolate the victim.

lightupvirginmary said...

Depresso, your comment is confusing. She IS insane to go back to him, but I understand completely the way women are made to feel by this kind of man. Even strong women you wouldn't expect.
As for friends and family; they aren't fit to call themselves friends if they stand by and say nothing in a situation like that. Sometimes you have to wait a long time for the victim to wake up. Sometimes it's too late by the time they do.

Depresso said...

The worst thing that a friend can do in that scenario is try to force her leave. She has to choose. It's bad enough when the abuser isolates their victim from friends and family, but when friends and family stick their oar in and try to help, but only under their terms, it's worse; the victim will probably feel like the freinds are forcing her to choose, too.

She's not insane. She's doing what she feels is right for her. Sure, her view of things is hideously skewed by previous abuse, but *she* has to see that for herself. No-one can force her to, and vilifying her for doing what she chooses to do doesn't help anyone. And it perpetuates the stereotypes around DV.

lightupvirginmary said...

Friends should not 'force' others to do anything. But I repeat; a friend who stands by and says nothing in that situation is not a friend; they are an enabler.
And actually, I do feel comfortable vilifying her for going back, in a way I wouldn't in a 'normal' case of abuse. It's important. Because this is not just about two people; she is an example to thousands and thousands of impressionable teenage girls. It's not a regular situation, therefore it's not just about her sanity, her health, her well-being. This is a wider issue with wider implications.

Thrill Fiction said...

Difficult one this.

Cos as far as I know there were no witnesses. Boy beats up girl - end off.

I'm not so sure.

These two kids are not joined at the hip. As you pointed out Mary she's independently wealthy. So that's not what's keeping her with him.

Depresso mentioned 'previous abuse'.


No evidence of that at all. Is there?

My point is if your boyfriend hits you, walk away. Prosecute. Done. If your spouse hits you - domestic violence. A head fuck that could lead anyone make the wrong choices.

As for Chris Brown? Everybody loves Frank Sinatra.

Anonymous said...

I actually just got done writing about this myself. I googled the keywords in my story and your post came up.

You're right. It really is an example of how bad things have to get in order to draw attention to it. You know this isn't the first time this has happened to her, it's just the worst.

He'll eventually kill her if they stay together.