Stop with the faux rage: My commentary on Man Down.

Jun 03, 2011 @ 12:11 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 4 Comments

Last week I wrote a blog in response to Beyonce’s “Run The World” video because many feminists were hailing Beyonce as the new face of contemporary feminism a notion I in large part disagree with. Sexual power is not the only form of power that we women have in our arsenal, but often times I feel many of us get trapped in that rut and Beyonce is an example of that. I don’t own the feminist movement therefore, I can’t police it. I want more women to embrace the politics, but at the same time feminism can’t be everything to everybody or it will wind up being nothing to no one. I truly do believe there must be a line of demarcation that separates feminism from the female chauvinist pig movement that is in full swing.

With that said I woke up yesterday morning to some faux public outrage about Rihanna’s new video “Man Down.” Rihanna in the opening scene shoots a man who we later find out sexually assualted her and she exacts her revenge by killing him. Many people believe that if you criticize Beyonce over her song and video “Run the World” then we should also be throwing Rihanna under the bus, but I am not sure which said bus I am suppose to be throwing  Rihanna under? Beyonce’s song “Run the World” is a very idealistic song and mind you the video has nothing to do with the girl power theme she is going for. In Beyonce’s world girls takeover by breaking out into well choreographed rage and scaring the men with their dance. When was the last time breaking out into song and dance made you equal to your male counterparts? While on the other hand  Rihanna’s video is clearly art imitating life. I know several women who have been raped and that storyline is therefore more real to me.

According to RAINN.org ( Rape, abuse, & Incest National Network) every two minutes a woman is raped in the U.S. that is 213,000 women annually who are violated and what is more disturbing is that 60% of assaults go unreported. I do not condone violence and nor do I believe that women or anyone for that matter who has been sexually violated should take matters into their own hands, but of all things I am subjected to ingest visually Rihanna’s “Man Down” video is not where I would waste my anger towards. As a culture we have no problems watching scantily clad women in music videos or commercials and we are okay with movies having random ill placed and unnecessary sex scenes where the actress is always showing her breasts and butt, but the male actor is never seen truly in the buff, but a man being shot in a music video all of a sudden warrants a march on Washington. Really?

What is the real problem here?  Is the real issue that we don’t want to be reminded that we live in a rape culture that almost ensures women will be violated or are we mad that the messenger is a domestic abuse survivor who refuses to be the classic victim according to our definitions and she admits to enjoying S&M? In essence we can buy into the fallacy of girls running the world when everything around us says differently, but we take a collective sigh on on artist trying to shed light on rape. She attempted to tell a story. We can argue the opening scene of the video is a bit gory, but then again so is rape!  I don’t think this video is condoning or promoting violence I think it simply shows what happens when the human spirit is tried beyond measure and a human being snaps. I feel that as a  soceity we are abandoning our critical thinking skills. If Romeo & Juliet is required reading in high school and we trust that our kids know that committing suicide to be with your true love isn’t a good idea, then why do we believe that Rihanna will somehow inspire young women to become assassins?

As a feminist I have no qualms about criticizing Beyonce whom I am a fan of (not to be mistaken with a stan) and supporting the Rihanna’s music video. Both women are speaking about women issues in two entirely different ways. Once chose to sing about how it should be while the other chose to depict in her video how it is!

What do you think?

Categories: Mind Over Chatter

4 Responses to “ Stop with the faux rage: My commentary on Man Down. ”

  1. ImABlackPoem | June 3, 2011 12:57 pm

    Who Run the World & Man Down are two very different songs. I’m disgusted that feminists, which I am not, are looking to these oversexed individuals (Bey & Rih Rih) for examples of feminism in pop culture. Bey’s video completely ignores the fact that women are oppressed even as she sings this inane Who Run the World song. Women have never run the world and I’m tired of her pretending to care about women’s rights when all she really cares about is money and making more of it. On to Rihanna, I have a problem with the fact that her only selling point is her looks. Feminist bloggers need to point to the real issues & not these puppets who make money for wealthy whites. By attacking Beyonce & Rihanna they’ve made no progress, they have not reached the young people with their flowery rhetoric and quite frankly, they’re no better than Beyonce’s ever present crotch, at least that gets attention while they do not.

  2. I agree with you. I am not a fan of either Beyonce or Rhianna, but I can definitely respect the Rhianna’s attempt at broaching a serious topic. It’s something that definitely needs to be discussed in mainstream everything. And people are upset because it’s something that doesn’t get talked about – it’s something that we all know happens but can’t bring ourselves to discuss. The thing about Rhianna, though, is that she’s big enough where she can do this. Which is kinda the sad part – a lot of artists play it safe until they reach a high enough status to talk about issues they think are important.

    I think the preoccupation with Beyonce and Rhianna is that they’re public figures, known throughout the world, so they’re easy targets. There are probably more posts about Beyonce’s video “Run the World” than anything I’ve ever come across. It’s a discussion that everyone has an opinion on, especially since with Beyonce you either love her or hate her.

    I hope, though, that the discussion moves forward and doesn’t get stuck on “Rhianna shouldn’t have shot that guy! That’s perpetuating violence!” and move on to “Well, WHY did she shoot him? Is it because whenever women report rape and sexual assault, little is actually done to help the victims? And that taking the law into one’s own hands is the only way to achieve justice?” Maybe we should look more into how to stop people from shooting each other in the street, creating a system that enables women and disables rapists.

    But, it seems people would much rather complain about Rhianna and saying how she’s not kid friendly. *le sigh*

  3. Horldring Velcy | June 5, 2011 3:39 pm

    i actually loved the video, and i have not loved anything by Rihanna since she turned “bad”. I love how she works backwards to reveal what made her shoot that nigger down. Many girls think that they are to blame when something like that happen. And what rihanna is portraying in her own way (by dressing provocatively, by being too sexy, by being flirtatious) is that we can be all that but we must also be aware of the danger lurking in the corner. the message is clear. women need to know that being naive and sweet have their consequences.

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