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Rihanna's new video

(26 Posts)
JazzAnnNonMouse Sat 05-Oct-13 14:50:49

'Pour it up'

I'm new to feminism and havn't quite worked out my own views.

Is it degrading to women and objectifying within the patriarchy or is it freedom to express oneself sexually?

I tend to agree with the first view but I can see the 'why shouldn't she' argument.

What are your views?

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 05-Oct-13 15:23:54

It was written and produced by Michael Williams, who is also responsible for Miley Cyrus's 'We Can't Stop'.

So, I'm not sure it's Rhianna's freedom being expressed.

Also, the message of the video is that women can get rich and empowered by stripping, essentially. That's not true for the vast majority of women in the industry, but those in control of it (mostly men) certainly get rich. It's not a coincidence that it is a (rich) man behind the message.

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 05-Oct-13 15:44:03

As for 'why shouldn't she?', well, if she had written and produced the song and was 100% in control of the image she projects, I might say she shouldn't because it's a socially irresponsible message in a climate of women's bodies' being exploited. However, that may lead to a debate on whether 'art' should be socially responsible.

As it is, I'll judge Michael Williams for being yet another man who exploits the bodies of women for personal gain.

JazzAnnNonMouse Sat 05-Oct-13 16:16:34

Thanks army I didn't know that.

If she had written and produced the song/video what would your
Views be then?

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 05-Oct-13 16:22:09

I said, above!

rosabud Sat 05-Oct-13 16:26:22

^If she had written and produced the song/video what would your
Views be then?^

Apart from the fact that Army has already stated in her post what her view may be in that hypothetical instance, the very point is that this hypothetical instance is far from being the case here and, yet again, a man is behind the control and profiting from the image he imposes on to the female body and female sexuality. Perhaps, instead of bypassing this point, it would more useful to find a genuine case where a woman has had 100% control over the song/video/image and then ask what we think of that particular case rather than a hypothetical one.

JazzAnnNonMouse Sat 05-Oct-13 16:39:39

I don't know of any.
Why is it not useful to discuss a hypothetical situation?

ArmyOfPenguins Sat 05-Oct-13 16:40:52

Also, a man producing a video where Rhianna is shown drowning in cash when he's making shit loads of money off her, is doubly taking this piss. angry

rosabud Sat 05-Oct-13 17:12:00

^ don't know of any.
Why is it not useful to discuss a hypothetical situation?^

Well, sometimes it is. But in this case it's kind of the whole point, isn't it? You want to discuss whether a woman who has 100% control over her own song/video/image is expressing freedom of choice when she produces an overtly sexual song/video/image aimed mainly at pleasing men can't think of any women in that situation. So the answer is pretty much, no, there aren't any women expressing freedom of choice in that scenario, then, are there?

Perhaps someone will come along in a minute and think of a woman in that situation and then we can all give our opinion of it. Or, perhaps, you never know, someone might come along and point out that some men don't have control over their song/video/image either..........

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 18:00:37

I have not seen the video. If it is ArmyOfPenguins like says, then wow.sad
Has the male writer/producer gotten any criticism for this message - that stripping will make poor women rich and powerful?

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 18:01:17

*like Army says...

BasilBabyEater Sat 05-Oct-13 18:05:00

There's only one woman I can think of who had full control of her image and material and did heavily sexualised imagery and that was Madonna in her heyday.

When she did it, it was new, fresh, pushing boundaries. Now it's old hat. The only thing that would make a woman cavorting around in a g-string in a music vid "new and different" would be if she had public / underarm hair and was fat.

Otherwise, it's all the same old tired porn.

OiVaVoi Sat 05-Oct-13 18:11:27

how about Amanda Palmer as an example of a woman who is in control of her material, and very deliberately uses her sexuality - for a variety of reasons. It's probably already been discussed but her response to Sinead O Connors letter to Miley Cyrus discusses some of these ideas around sexuality here

'Sometimes I play with nudity because it makes people pay attention, sometimes I play with nudity because it makes me loudly vulnerable to those in the room and it turns their brains inside-out as I challenge them to see me for what I am…without clothes.'

TeiTetua Sat 05-Oct-13 18:50:03

I'm seeing this recent line of discussion as having an anti-feminist slant to it. We shouldn't be so eager to say that this or that female perforer is really being directed by men: doing that denies the woman her autonomy. It's undoubtedly true that the shows are planned by a team, but the star is part of that team and not a slave, and let's not forget that the star will also be making a huge amount of money. That prospect can motivate people to do plenty of things they might not otherwise do.

Michael Wlliams may be a villain, but Rihanna is working with him voluntarily. For art and for money.

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 19:15:03

That's right. But perhaps the focus have been on the men in these discussions because that the men involved in these sort of thing tend to be invisible and everyone focus on the women involved. Like in the case of the Thicke and Cyrus performance.

By googling I can now see that Rihanna herself has been criticised for the video's message which is good. I'm not sure she would think of creating it entirely on her own though. There is a man involved and it benefits his group that stripping is seen as positive, it doesn't benefit women as a group.

ArmyOfPenguins Sun 06-Oct-13 02:13:45

The video in question.

ArmyOfPenguins Sun 06-Oct-13 02:17:43

I'd quite like the video if it showed a man in the corner counting his wads of cash. That would be an honest piece of 'art'.

skrumle Sun 06-Oct-13 09:06:34

having watched it, i think one of the things missing from your OP about the video is the lyrics of the song. actually i found the video really dark - "all i care about is the money" was the message i took from it.

i think "freedom to express oneself sexually" certainly couldn't be used in relation to this video, it is quite clearly about using your body to create a business transaction. depressing, but not up for debate IMO.

StainlessSteelBegonia Sun 06-Oct-13 09:17:45

YY to Madonna being a rare example of a female performer using her sexuality to please herself. She played with a lot of sexual tropes - bisexuality, S&M, B&D, exhibitionism, homosexuality - and used her own (then newly gym-sculpted) nude body as the focal point.

However, she was also obviously in control in her images. And she faced a HUGE backlash as a result. Unlike Britney Spears, Rihanna or many other pop starlets, Madonna's sexual expression actually threatened a lot of men who weren't used to women having a sexual appetite not stage directed by the male gaze.

Remember this video, and these lyrics?

Human Nature

I can't imagine Rihanna or Miley being quite so uncompromising.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:18:36

Yes Skrumle there's something incredibly sad and pathetic about the vid.

All I care about is money. See how much of it I've got? What does it matter that I've got nothing of any value, as long as I have money?

So sad.

KaseyM Sun 06-Oct-13 09:23:47

WTF?! There must be men killing themselves laughing over this. They get to watch lots of women stripping off for their enjoyment but don't need to worry their heads over it cos this time it's women doing it voluntarily whilst other women are arguing over the morals of it. And when everyone starts complaining about the slide of good music into rubbishness they can point to women.

And then there's this one guy making shit loads of money without having to take a single piece of clothing.

Seriously. Women are fucked. And men are laughing.

kotinka Sun 06-Oct-13 09:31:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:37:09

Also the message seems to be that as long as you get paid stacks, it doesn't matter what you do. It's OK to be abused, it's OK to be objectified, as long as you get paid money.

And the message is that anyone who criticises it is an arsehole because they haven't got as much money as the women who are rolling around in the money.

It's a pretty vicious worldview.

Beachcomber Sun 06-Oct-13 09:42:48

I agree that men tend to feel threatened by Madonna. You can see the difference in her videos in the sexuality expressed, you can see that they are for her gaze and not the male one. She nearly always has a troupe of male dancers who she bosses around. Also the dancing is generally amazing and very architectural - there is an aesthetic which is not sexual but about people being able to do amazing things with their bodies.

I suspect that Rihanna thinks (or has been told) she is pushing boundaries with that video. When really she just isn't at all (other than how explicitly you can objectify a woman and still have it played on MTV).

All the faux darkness in that video just comes across as a bit of style over substance in order to justify what is really soft porn. And I say that as someone who actually likes Rihanna - I think she has a really distinctive voice and dance style and is very genuine in interviews. She is also incredibly charismatic, but this stuff just lacks direction. She can do so much more.

Beachcomber Sun 06-Oct-13 09:51:57

Also Madonna videos often have a note of humour in them. Whereas there is nowt to smile about in this video.

And forgot to say, I hate the racist element to many of Rihanna's videos - this stripping one being a good example (WoC are proportionally over represented in stripping). Then there have been a couple of videos where there is a 'woman of colour as animalistic' stereotype.

She's being doubly exploited a lot of the time, for her sex and for her 'exotic' race. Same old same old for women of colour.

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