So, I am beset on all sides by a lack of television viewing options. In an effort to live slightly more frugally, I have only the very, very basic of television. And in an effort to make as much money as they can, the place I work has only a very basic selection on their television. This means that I can’t always avoid watching the things I have no interest in watching.
So one of these things was a bunch of those talking heads going on about how Chris Brown and Rihanna were teaming up again, possibly going to hook up, etc, and how this might not be a good idea seeing as he beat the crap out of her at least once.
Now, I can’t say I like Chris Browns music, or the genre that he’s in, really. Personally, I like rock, metal, and sometimes country. Beyond that, some contemporary stuff catches my ear, but I don’t pay that much attention. But I hear stuff, because I’m a wee bit ADD and tend to surf the radio when I drive. So I’ve heard some of his stuff and some of Rihannas.
And frankly, a couple of Rihanna’s songs…concern me. Now, there is no excuse for domestic abuse, and this song did come out after, but when she sings “Rude Boy” she has a song basically demeaning the guy she’s “talking to” by asking if he’s “big enough,” can he “get it up,” and to just “take it,” well…I don’t really know much of anything about the “thug life” but I do know that isn’t really something you want to be saying to one.
Of course, I just be misunderstanding what she’s saying and the cultural implications of it. Kinda doubt it though.
Then of course, there’s her other song, which I actually got into a small discussion with someone about a little under a year ago. Man Down
The story is fairly simple. Woman shoots man in front of a crowd, then goes on to say that he raped her the night before, and asking the judge to give her the minimal. I have no problem with women going after and killing their rapists. My ancestors were big on the whole revenge thing, most of our Sagas have at least one vengeance taking in them. Generally a lot more. That said, in today’s society we try to run not on vengeance, but on law. (Mostly because enough people got together and decided it was better, and for the most part they weren’t wrong).
On the other hand though, I tend to go by the rules of Question Everything and Alternative Interpretations. And frankly, the video doesn’t help keep the story of the song exactly straight in my mind. It’s really a “She said, he’s dead” kind of situation by the end. Taking the video as her “confession of events” the only parts we can really see through the eyes of the public involving her and the man in question is at the club. Where for at least part of the time, she seems interested in him, then pushes him away and walks off. But we don’t hear anything going on at the time. We just see actions. It is potentially equal odds that she was rejecting him or taking a more dominant roll as to time and place. After that, the events are private between the two of them and there are no witnesses. The next thing anyone knows, she’s shot this man down in central station. No cops, no medial reports, no investigations. And those things probably didn’t happen after she shot him. I am not saying that her story is false, just that even in this fictional medium, I’d like to see justice done.
It troubles me. These are very popular songs and she’s a popular and talented artist. Girls are going to listen to her, and take her attitude and advice. She’s come a long way from Umbrella (which I liked). Heck, I don’t even have a problem with her S&M song (conceptually, frankly I thought it really could have been better done. I don’t know who wrote it, but they seriously lack creativity. It did make me curious about the nature of her injuries at the hands of Chris Brown, though).
Look, Chris Brown probably isn’t the guy you want your daughters to date or your sons to be like. I’m not gonna take his side in any of this. But then I haven’t heard him singing songs that are sexually demeaning to women (though I may have missed them) and talking about capping someone in a crowd. So make of it, what you will.