Rihanna, who hit headlines in 2009 after being severely beaten by former boyfriend Chris Brown, has now come under fire for encouraging extreme violence in a new music video.
In the video for “Man Down,” which premiered on the BET network this week, the popular songstress is involved in an implied rape scene with a man she later guns down in an act of premeditated murder, and then flees the scene.
However, the Parents Television Council (PTC) has joined forces with the Industry Ears and the Enough Is Enough Campaign to publicly denounce the video, and the groups are urgently calling on BET’s parent company Viacom to stop airing it.
“‘Man Down’ is an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song. In my 30 years of viewing BET, I have never witnessed such a cold, calculated execution of murder in primetime. Viacom’s standards and practices department has reached another new low,” Paul Porter, co-founder of Industry Ears and a former voice of BET, said in a statement. “If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass and BET should know better. The video is far from broadcast worthy.”
Well, first of all, you clearly do not watch any law procedural ever, or for that matter many other music videos. Lady Gaga burned her John/Slave Master to death with a flame thrower bra in her “Bad Romance” video. She murders her boyfriend for attention in “Paparazzi,” and she and Beyonce kill an entire restaurant full of people just to kill B’s abusive boyfriend, but no one raised a brow over that. The Dixie Chicks had an entire song devoted to killing an abusive asshole, but no one’s panties got in a twist over that.
Adding fuel to the fire, the 23-year-old music star even tweeted to her 5.5 million followers this week that the explicit video contained, “a very strong underlying message 4 girls like me.”
If you think that the message is “Shoot your rapist” please remove yourself from the gene pool this instant. You are too stupid to be allowed to reproduce. Girls in our culture are constantly told that being assertive, or Lord forbid, aggressive is unladylike. We’re to be constantly polite and deferential, and if something bad happens to us, then oh well, it was your fault anyway. You little slut, should have kept your shirt buttoned up. And after that, no, do not react. You’re not allowed. Because God forbid women express anger at the men and the system that oppress, violate, and hurt us.
But Melissa Henson, Director of Communications and Public Education for the PTC, said that the graphic portrayal of Rihanna seeking revenge on an attacker by murdering him in cold blood is far from an empowering or appropriate message to be sending to young, impressionable audiences.
“Once again BET has chosen the low road over the high road. Violence is a pervasive problem in all corners of our society and today’s youth need more positive strategies for dealing with conflict than those portrayed in the Rihanna video,” Henson explained. “This video is one among several frequently played on Viacom music video networks that lyrically or graphically glorifies violence and other behavior inappropriate for teens and youth.”
First of all, can we please stop pretending that media and only media is the only thing that influences children? It’s not. There’s this amazing thing called ‘parenting’ that leaves a far longer and more lasting impression than most music videos. If you don’t want your kid watching violent things, be a fucking parent and don’t let them. I know. This sounds “hard” but you should have thought of that before having kids.
And yes reclaiming your voice is something that “Good” girls don’t do. Screw that. Not to mention, I—and just about every other kid in the Western World—is exposed to far more violence in our academic life. Any Shakespearean tragedy will leave the stage littered in bodies or even better images, like MacBeth where we get a head on a pike. The first short story I ever read in high school was “The Cask of Amontillado” where someone is buried alive. Our local middle school read The Hunger Games this year which has some of the most disturbing and impressive violence and gore I have ever had to imagine.
There are plenty more forces acting on young adults today, and I can assure you BET and Rihanna’s video is probably not the strongest or the first that comes to mind. Not to mention that Rihanna explicitly states that it’s wrong. “I didn’t mean to end his life/I know it wasn’t right/I can’t even sleep at night” the very first lines of the song. She agonizes over her choice, which is far more than most murder ballads manage, where the usual undertone is “YAY! Murder!”
Relationship coach Marc Rudov, founder of TheNoNonsenseMan.com, was also appalled by the “reprehensible video of gratuitous, confessed murder,” but indicated that it is yet another example of Hollywood’s double standard.
“She sings that she killed a man when she ‘lost her cool’ because ‘he was playing her for a fool.’ This garbage from the same woman who publicly bragged to Rolling Stone recently that she likes to be spanked and tied up,” he told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. “Rihanna gets to have it both ways – accuse Chris Brown of domestic violence and be violent herself – because she’s a woman.”
Seriously, fuck you. How can you be so stupid and yet be capable of forming words? Uhm, what now? Rihanna likes having consensual sex a certain way, which means that her boyfriends and lovers are allowed to beat the shit out of her anytime they want to? Oh, good.
Anyway. Four for you, Rihanna! Thanks for depicting the way that rape usually happens, and thank you for showing the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of rape culture. Maybe next time people could have a mature dialogue about the issues it raises instead of freaking the fuck out.
Bravo, Rihanna! I have gained so much respect for her.