As of late, pop star Rihanna has been really pushing the boundaries in terms of her fashion choices. The ‘issue’? She hardly ever wears anything at all. The latest example is the sheer see-through gown that she wore to a recent fashion awards show, where she was being honoured. The gown, shown below, left her boobs and butt and back almost completely exposed.
So, are Rihanna’s exhibitionist tendencies an issue? Are they a marketing ploy, or an actual representation of how Rihanna likes to portray herself on her body.
Does it matter?
I recently read an editorial piece put out by the Independent panning Rihanna for her choices. The amount of shade being thrown in the article is totally off the charts. I understand questioning how Rihanna is portraying herself to her legions of young fans, but this article goes way overboard with the criticism and ends up sounding petty.
Here are the choice quotes from the article,
Rihanna, so fond of risqué dress, is using her body to cling on to her career – as are her management. She has a fine voice, but that’s not what’s being used to sell her. She is a beautiful girl who looks great naked so she’s being marketed like a soft porn star instead of a musical artist.”
The author goes on to throw offhanded digs at Miley Cyrus, before championing Rumor Willis for her recent ‘feminist statement’ that involved her walking around topless on the streets of New York. Perhaps Willis’ statement was more ‘overtly feminist’ but it doesn’t seem any different in that it was a cry for publicity and exposure.
Do we really think that Willis, an aspiring model, wasn’t aware that walking around topless as a celebrity would land her on the pages of TMZ and any other celebrity rag? Is she really contributing something substantial to a feminist movement simply because she claims association?
Wouldn’t a more feminist statement be allowing women to dress how they want, regardless of how much of their body is exposed? The author implies that Rihanna is simply a cog in the machine, being directed by patriarchy and the music industry, but is there anything explicit confirming that she is in that position, and that Rumour Willis isn’t? This simply seems like the case of an author grasping for straws, trying to look for statements where they don’t exist.
Let Ri Ri be Ri Ri, let her dress how she wants. Miley is brash and loud, does that make her a soft-core pornstar? Even if it does, is there anything inherently wrong or un-feminist about being a pornstar? This article just seems to be completely mired in right-wing conservative old-school rhetoric, and I don’t get this at all.