Friday, August 5, 2011

Bottoms Up: Rebel Flower Feminism Friday

Back home in her native Barbados,Rihanna took a load off last week to enjoy the Kadooment Day parades and took a lot of flack, in my opinion, for having a good ass time. Pictures of the Bajan star, clad in an amalgamation of red strings, feathers and gold appliques, backing it up on the boys and girls of her homeland, were all over the blogs I frequent most often. I was unfortunately not surprised at the healthy amount of negative backlash at her behavior. There was even some outright name calling. Slut,hoe,trashy,etc. were all words tossed around mindlessly.

The trouble with this type of insulting lanuage is that the equivalent is rarely leveled at any of Rihanna's male counterparts for any of their reckless, mindless behavior or messages they promote. Furthermore,framing the beef with Rihanna's actions, around male approval/dissaproval of them, reeks of the worst kind of sexual domination that is the result of patriarchy. The result for girls being that any expression sexual or otherwise must be made with this thought in mind, what will he think?

Once again "respectability politics", to use author Joan Morgan's [When the Chickenheads Come Home to Roost] term, rears its ugly ass head. Respectability politics say that there is a marked difference between what a nice girl says and does and what a slutty one does. And that if you want to know what that difference is, you should check with men of dating age and ask them. Then, in all their infinite wisdom, they will tell you that nice girls don't get half-naked in the street and dance.

So what if you're a smart,beautiful girl, with something to say and a life to live instead?

Rihanna challenges the respectability politics that would have her be demure, humble, as if she should be almost apologetic for all the fuss she caused, in the wake of the Chris Brown scandal. I think what bothers some people about her, is after getting her ass beat,they think she should have the "decency" or "good sense" to clean it up and/or cover it up.

Why I decided to include Rihanna on my Feminism Friday post, is because Rihanna dosen't seem to give a fuck about, what some people feel, she should be doing. I find that refreshing. Rihanna is a lover, sex in the air ,she loves the smell of it, and she isn't afraid to say so or show it. I could think of worse things to inflict upon the world with your music.Rihanna is having the time of her life, instead of repenting, and that's why I can't help but love her.

Personally, I think some people should lighten up. I'm from New Orleans, sometimes referred to as the northern most Carribean city, and dancing like this goes on all the time. Any given Sunday and definitely on Mardi Gras day. Carnival is about letting go of yourself and your inhibitions, letting a persona out, even if for a day--its about the release.

I think Rihanna, as she did at some unruly fans,in Barbados, would probably flip the bird, at people who don't get it, who have never experienced the freedom of Carnival. And as for men that disaprove, I think Rihanna knows, she's got a little too much truck for them to back up, anyway.

Do what you wanna'


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