Rihanna’s Diamond-Studded Ass isn’t the Problem; This Society of Slut-Shamers Is

Unless you’re a hermit or had a family thing going on this week, you’ll have heard/seen/talked about Rihanna at the CFDA Awards held in the United States on Monday. While everyone else at the ceremony dressed according to the Inoffensive Non-controversial Beigeness dress code, Rihanna arrived as a Barbadian goddess draped completely in diamonds, top to bottom, along with a gorgeous diamond headdress. Beautiful as ever, she lived up to her name as a fashion icon by surpassing all expectations (once again) and going for the biggest statement she could think of (as ever). The second I laid eyes on the look I fell in love with it. Girl, ya look good I thought in sisterly solidarity.

But there’s always a party pooper.

Following her appearance on the red carpet, there appeared a hive of naysayers and pearl-clutchers to crow, “Won’t someone think of the children?!” While many found the look dramatic, decadent and fashion-forward, there were several stick-in-the-muds who found it necessary to voice that they feared for the sanctity of childhood and innocence of youth. There are bombs going off in Afghanistan and the US president is doing very little about it, but sure, let’s focus on the female popstar showing some skin.

One of the most hilarious reactions came from Andrea Peyser of the New York Post, bleating that she looked like a “poorly put-together streetwalker” (I don’t know how many streetwalkers can afford to drape themselves in Swarovski crystals, but whatever, logic clearly isn’t your strong point) and how “female modesty and decency have been on the decline for years.” So true! Why, just the other day I saw a young girl display her bare ankles in public, like a common whore!

Peyser goes on to decry how female celebrities such as Miley Cyrus have joined in on this provocateur parade by “twerking indecently against singer Robin Thicke, then a married man of 36”, never questioning why a married man of 36 was grinding on a girl 16 years younger than him. I’m no Miley fan, but the double standard of expression of sexuality here is disgusting.

Oh, quelle horreur! She displayed her nipples! She displayed her breasts, these things that also give babies life! Disgusting! Lock her in a tower and throw away thon key!

The bright side of this admittedly horrific representation of our overly-conservative, slut-shaming, patriarchal society is that the object of the controversy remains completely undeterred. Rihanna has remained unapologetic about her outfit, even joining in on the joke by changing her Twitter display picture to a Peter Griffin parody of her dress. She responded to a question on her provocative dress on the red carpet at the awards with “Do my tits bother you? They’re covered in Swarovski crystals, girl.” After a fan tweeted a Maya Angelou (R.I.P.) quote in relation to her dress, Rihanna clearly resonated with the comparison by retweeting the quote “Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise that I dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs?” Damn straight.

The constant censorship of the female body is nothing new, and it would seem that there will always be people trying to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, disguising their judgement and dictation as “concern for children” and “in the name of preserving the sanctity of society.” Fuck off. Target the rape culture, the subtle sexism, the media’s consistent oxymoronic objectification of women in men’s magazines and simultaneous shaming of those who dare to show flesh in public and on their own terms, because that’s what’s polluting the minds of society’s youth. Stop taking the moral high ground when it comes to the “offensive nature” of the naked female form, and start taking issue with what is really going to harm your children. Because I guarantee you it’s not Rihanna’s nipples,

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