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Rihanna and S&M. In other words, you want to read this one.

February 2, 2011

Someone on Twitter linked to an article about Rihanna’s “scandalous” new song “S&M”. After plunging into imagery in Rihanna and Eminem’s song for a paper last semester, I was immediately interested.

In some offices, this video is probably NSFW (so why are you working there?).

My first thoughts were something along the lines of Oh damn, there is so much fantastic gender/sexuality stuff functioning so fantastically rhetorically that I can’t even handle it omg there’s so much to unpack omg my academic brain is melting I mean the press is literally bound and gagged omg it’s so good.

Seriously, though, I have to dig deeper. I was fascinated instantly. She’s wearing newspapers that read “slut” and “whore.” The press is LITERALLY bound and gagged. She’s walking a man-dog. She looks like Jessica Rabbit. Cox News! Whips! Lesbians! Blow up dolls! Cellophane! Packaged like Barbie! And the colors are so girlie!

Then I started reading the comments on the post where I found the video. They weren’t good. In fact, they were bad. And then they were awful.  It only took EIGHT COMMENTS to get to victim-blaming:

“Maybe she actually enjoyed the beating she got from ex, chris Brown?

Talk about academic whiplash. There I was, totally geeking out about this incredible new cultural artifact and BOOM. Misogyny.

So a big ol’ fuck you goes out to that guy. Also, the S&M community should be high-fiving Rihanna for validating their fantasies in mainstream pop culture. Also also, she’s no Gaga, but I still think Rihanna is bloody brilliant.

What do you guys think? Is Rihanna shedding light on the often silenced S&M community? Is she legitimizing S&M fantasies? Or is this just another marketing ploy, i.e. sex sells? Or are you just plain tired of Rihanna in general?
Extra points go to those of you who have colorful language directed towards Chris Brown.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 10:05 am

    I have so many crushes on your brain.

  2. February 2, 2011 3:08 pm

    I love this video. I love this song. I think that she’s legitimizing S&M fantasies WHILE also fighting the bullshit that has been thrown around at her. Apparently if you’re hit– you’re not allowed to be sexual or kinky. Which is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard ever.

    In grad school I taught a Sociology of Sexuality course, and this video reminded me of that class. What’s right and wrong. How we’re supposed to talk about sex and sexuality in public space.. all of it. I love her. And you.

  3. Melissa permalink
    February 2, 2011 11:06 pm

    I think Rihanna is taking a cheap shot at S&M as a marketing ploy. Rihanna peeling a banana and shoving it down her throat has everything to do with her playing up sex instead of being legit about S&M. To her credit, she’s extremely smart for putting out a sexy video that will do well. And I applaud you for your Chris Brown & Gaga comments. 🙂

  4. Gia permalink
    February 3, 2011 12:40 pm

    I’m sure it’s a little mix of both being a ploy and her being legit about S&M. But, so many things are all some form of a marketing tactic so I guess we’ll never be sure. But I do love this song and video!

  5. Suzy Pepper permalink
    February 4, 2011 9:42 am

    I haven’t seen the video. I’m kind of afraid to watch it because it might ruin the song for me, which is just so fun to dance to… but you have enticed me. I will have to watch the video now.


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