Is Rihanna Raising your Daughter?
I’d like to consider myself a practical woman. Sure, some of my views are a bit radical, but who the hell doesn’t have a controversial thought in their head at some point in their lives? If you haven’t, I’d check your pulse because you’re probably dead. In which case, awesome! There’s a zombie reading my post! Can we be friends?
I think yesterday was the first time I saw “The Dress”. I’m not very much into pop culture. I don’t own a television, and the little programming I do partake in are selected shows I view at my own discretion from my laptop, virtually free of commercial advertisements, or anything else seeking to make me think or feel something. Most times I don’t really know what the hell is going on in the world of people the media tries to force in front of my face these days. What I do know is, this Rihanna picture and it’s subsequent comment got me thinking. Why on earth is this person so angry? Why on earth is it such a big deal that Rihanna is showing her breasts in public? Why on earth aren’t my breasts that awesome? Why, why, why?
I thought about it for a good 2.5 minutes before my A.D.D. kicked in and I was on to more pressing matters, like if the Miami Heat had won the day before so that I could apply the 50% off promo code on my pizza order. I can honestly say that I didn’t really get much out of it. I thought the dress was beautifully designed and it was on a woman who could totally pull it off… I thought the venue was fitting… I thought, I’m hungry, where the hell is that pizza?
So, this afternoon, when I opened up my laptop and decided to check my Facebook feed, I saw the picture with the comment attached and realized what all the hoopla was about. Rihanna was practically naked… again… Apparently, that is STILL a big deal in 2014. Not the fact that just before this distraction the president defied Congress over the weekend, ignoring a 30-day notice rule required by law to greenlight the transfer to Qatar of five alleged members of the Taliban held at Guantánamo in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan (Read more at: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/obama-guantanamo-bay-107333.html#ixzz33hWfeROF) but the fact that a grown ass woman decided she would show her breasts… again… breasts that ANYONE with an internet connection could have viewed at anytime before this dress even came to fruition! This is what has people so upset? Have I forgotten how to human?
I would be remiss in not mentioning that I am a proud feminist, so if you thought that this was going to be just another Rihanna hating article agreeing with this poor bastard’s comments, that dirty little F word should do the trick just as nicely as the actual curse word would. Please forward all your woman-hating comments to another piece I’ve written called The “F” Word as there is a time and place for everything. Now that the misogynists are gone, I’d like to talk to the people who believe that this somehow affects their children negatively. The fact that Rihanna is wearing a see-through dress will have nothing to do with your child’s perspective on how to conduct herself in public if you actually have the time and energy to do some parenting here. Now, if you are one of those parents who just plops your kid down in front of a television to keep them distracted, allow me to wag my finger at you. There is innuendo in Pixar films nowadays. If you think your kid isn’t getting the joke because s/he is too young, you have way more too worry about than what Rihanna is, or isn’t wearing. Kids are ridiculously smart! All you have to do is talk to them like adults. I should probably also stress the fact that little boys are at an even higher risk for being affected negatively by this than little girls are, but I digress.
I was an only child until I was 10; I spent a lot of time alone. I got a lot of my ideas about other people and about life in general from the media and from my playmates (because, you know, back in those days, us kids used to go outside and play with actual other kids, like physically) but when I had a question, no matter how weird, seemingly sexual, or inappropriate, my mother always answered me honestly. If I were to go up to my mother and talk about Rihanna’s dress, my mother would have probably told me something along the lines of Rihanna being a celebrity who is attending an event where she is making a statement. She is also under the protection of bodyguards. It would not be smart for a woman to walk down the street with clothes like that because it would attract a dangerous type of attention from certain men. Now, should a woman be able to walk down the street wearing any-fucking-thing she wants? Absolutely. But that’s not the world we live in yet. We would have talked about this for a while, and then I would have gone off to play with my toys, understanding that I could not walk down the street showing my boobies because I was not a celebrity and I did not have bodyguards… and then my Ken and Barbie would have probably had consensual sex.
The reality is, your child looks to you before anything else for guidance. If you’re not there to parent, you are opening them up to a world of conflicting ideas, interests, morals and sexualities. Sex is everywhere. It is on your child’s mind whether you think they even know what it is yet or not. They are curious. I remember wondering what a penis looked like when I was 8 years old. I imagined it looked like one of those sausages hanging in the meat market. To this day I have no idea where I got that idea from. I was not molested. I was not taught this behavior by anyone. I had obviously never seen a real penis before, yet I had some idea what it was shaped like. I had also been wondering about breasts since I was old enough to realize that my mom’s shirts fit differently than my own. But my mother did not leave my questions for the television to answer. She understood that these things were natural. I’d like to think that she was still young enough to remember what it was like to be a child, which is why she spoke to me like an adult. If you think shielding your child from sex is the way to go, you are only fooling yourself as it is virtually impossible in this day and age. Talk to your kids… and, even more importantly, listen.
While I’m on the subject, what on earth is the big fucking deal about breasts anyway? What is so taboo about showing them? I’ve yet to meet a man, or any person for that matter, who can explain to me why it is wrong for a woman to show her breasts in public. Why do I get looked down upon when I decide not to wear a bra under my tanktop? Jealousy? Resentment? Anger? Envy? Shame? Why are my wonderful nipples so god damned offensive to you? I want answers! *shakes fist at sky*
And so, all of this hubbub over Rihanna and her naughty bits has led me to one hard truth that I think everyone needs to be reminded of yet again: It is NOT the media’s job to raise your child! It’s not the gay couple next door’s job to raise your child. It’s not the immigrant couple across the street’s job to raise your child. It’s not the prostitute down the block’s job to raise your child. It’s not Rihanna’s job, or my job, or anyone else you seem to believe owes it to you or to this world to walk, talk, dress, live or act in ways which you deem appropriate to raise your fucking child. It’s YOUR JOB to raise your child. And I am so sorry that there are things you might have to sit down and explain to your offspring. I am so sorry that everyone does not live according to your standards and that everyone does not make it easier for you to be a lazy ass parent. But above all else, I am so sorry that your child has to grow up being told how she should think and feel because you’re too busy being judgmental to take the time to even ask your daughter for her opinion! So while you’re pointing your finger at everyone who you don’t like because you feel like they are making it harder for you to “raise a queen”, remember that there are three fingers pointing back at you.
Finally, to hammerjr87, throwing words like THOT and hoe around does nothing but promote a self-destructive sense of competition with other women by teaching your daughter how to judge, belittle and tear down her sisters. Teaching your daughter to be a queen by comparison is counterproductive. Teach your daughter instead to love her body and to respect it. Teach your daughter that it doesn’t matter what other women wear because what a woman wears does not define who she is as a person. Teach your daughter that her beauty comes from within. Teach your daughter that words like THOT, hoe, slut & whore are words used to demean a woman’s right to her own sexuality. Teach your daughter that her body is hers, not someone else’s to judge, use, regulate or abuse. Teach your daughter that she should dress however she feels comfortable. Teach your daughter that people are judgmental, and that it takes courage to be who you are, say what you feel and wear what you want in this world, especially if you’re a woman. And finally, teach your daughter that a queen does not look down at other people. A queen looks forward.