I just learned that TMZ released a photo of Rihanna’s face taken by the police after being violently attacked by Chris Brown.

Now I had no misunderstandings about how TMZ was above anything like that. But I will say I am even more disturbed by TMZ than I was before.

As women so much of our lives are invisible. Anonymous. We are a monolithic Other, we are not thought of when the people in power make laws, policy, stimulus packages. Our “issues” are not discussed, our rights cast aside in favor of “saving money” or “focusing on something more important.”

But as soon as something becomes “media worthy”- whatever that means- Our images are used without our permissions, without our voices, to become sensationalized and reproduced for public consumption.

What happened to Rihanna happens to so many women every day. In every community, every demographic. But we choose to ignore this fact so often, we choose to not think about these women, but when it happens to a superstar, we are hungry. This woman, who did not choose to have this highly personal painful situation so highly publicized. Did not ask to become the “face of domestic violence.” Did not ask for her image to be used to sell magazines so the wolves can eat up her pain and use it for their own entertainment and text the latest gossip to their friends.

To release such a disturbing, triggering image so that people can click on it, say their “Ewwww”s and get on with their days– that is negligence and insensitivity and sexism in the highest form. It is her pain, and it is the pain of all of us who have had this done to us, or who live in fear of it, or have loved ones living in fear of it.

I hope we can have productive conversations out of this. I hope that if something comes of this, it will open people’s eyes and maybe encourage more action and more people to speak out. I am glad some people are noticing the issue of domestic violence for the first time– but not in this way.  The solution is not to comment on blogs saying how either she “deserved it” or “black men are crazy like that.” Or write things like how “she has such a beautiful face, its a pity to see it like this!” Or to get “grossed out” and move on with our days. We need to acknowledge that this happens to women who are not famous and who are not ‘beautiful.’ And it can happen anywhere and to anyone and we need to address it in our communities and fight against it. And to respect that this famous woman did not ask to be dissected in this public way. We must hold ourselves accountable to these women and help them, and listen to them. And tell our men it is not acceptable and you will be held accountable for your violence.

Explore posts in the same categories: Pop Culture, Violence

One Comment on “Rihanna”

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