A female columnist for British newspaper the Dail Mail has suggested that if singer Rihanna becomes the victim of sexual violence then she deserves it because her fashion sense “surely invites rape.”
In a Monday column, Liz Jones argues that Rihanna — who experienced a violent beating at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009 — is setting a bad example for younger fans by promoting a culture of drugs, sex and violence.
“Her collection — while undoubtedly racy enough to raise a few parental eyebrows, with hot pants and crop tops — just about erred on the side of decency,” Jones writes. “Yet those same parents will have been horrified by the pictures which emerged this week of the 25-year-old Barbadian-born star. Photographed with two giant, phallic spliffs in her red-lipsticked mouth, Rihanna posted the picture on Twitter for her 30 million followers to enjoy.”
“Most of these ‘followers’, of course, are young girls,” she continues. “They writhe and pout along to her suggestive lyrics in a disturbing mimicry of adult sexuality.”
Jones admits that Rihanna “has he voice of an angel and is self-made, feisty and confident,” but “these qualities pale to nothing when we know she went back to her abusive boyfriend, Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting her in 2009; that she promotes drug-taking, drinking and the sort of fashion sense on stage that surely invites rape at worst, disrespect at least.”
The columnist concludes that “it is fair” to berate female stars and not male star for their bad behavior because “young women are far more impressionable.”
“I wish she’d stop infecting our High Streets with her gun tattoos, her false nails and fake hair, her bogus bad-ass shenanigans that try to portray her as ‘real’, as ‘street’, as her own person, as strong and single-minded,” she concluded. “This poisonous pop princess should come with a government health warning.”
Left Foot Forward’s James Bloodworth cited Jones’ column as another example of “rape apologism.”
“Claiming that dressing a certain way invites rape is about as stupid as saying that being gay ‘invites’ being assaulted by homophobes,” Bloodworth observed. “It’s also bizarre considering that conservatives enjoy talking so much about personal responsibility – what about, you know, the responsibility of those who actually rape?”
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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