Kidnapped. Gagged. Humiliated. Abused. Drugged. Stripped naked and borderline molested. It’s hardly what you’d expect from a music video created by another female, however that’s exactly what you get in Rihanna’s latest release ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’.
Featuring a vanity-obsessed wife, the seven-minute production sees the singer and a group of female friends; jump on the woman before stuffing her in a case to live out their own bloody, revenge fantasy. Louis Vuitton, equipped.
From punches, to slaps to a gruesome end for the male protagonist, some have called it Rihanna’s ‘best career move ever’, whereas others have referred to it as ‘torture porn for the masses’. But violence aside, are we missing out on the bigger picture here. A picture where one of the world’s most successful and influential pop stars has exploited her creative energy, to produce yet another snarky, woman-on-woman takedown that degrades, mocks and belittles her own sex.
As well as dealing with the inequality between genders, there’s no denying that many woman have faced prejudice and discrimination by their own sex.
From the scourge of slut-shaming, where a friend has judged you on how many notches you have in your bedpost, to the bitchy beat down, where it’s suddenly okay for your co-worker to bash you because you’ve become friends with her boyfriend, these public takedowns are happening more and more often.
After all, how easy has the Internet made it for you to suddenly judge the “competition” based on how many selfies they upload or whom they’re following on Twitter? God forbid, a woman even sends a wink emoji every now and again. “Slut!”
Sure, there’s no denying that we’re not going to get on with everyone, it’s human nature. That could include your hairdresser, who makes annoying small talk every time she cuts your locks, the Starbucks barista, who puts far too much syrup in your coffee because she’s too busy flirting with Joe, or maybe it’s Moe, who knows with that spelling, and, heck, maybe even your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, but there’s a fine line between disliking a female for a reason and publicly slamming them because they’re another female.
Case in point: ‘Bad Blood’ by Taylor Swift. A summer anthem, the track is supposedly a very public dig at Katy Perry, after Perry stole the singer’s backing dancers. But, despite the major eye-roll, it has a point, a purpose.
No matter how petty the reason, because, lets face it, it is extremely petty, the two singers clearly don’t get on with each other and who be I, or you, to judge whether they want to air their dirty laundry in public?
However on the other side of the spectrum, the blonde in Rihanna’s video appears to have done very little to her. Expect maybe marry a man who I think we can all agree is a slimy, full of himself, weasel?
So, naturally, rather than target the point of her frustration and the reason why she wants revenge, a.k.a Mr. Weasel, she spends six minutes torturing her ‘bargaining chip’ and abusing his wife. Why? Entertainment purposes? Maybe. Or is it because we’re so used to women turning on other women, for reasons such as their looks, friends or partners, it’s suddenly become ‘okay’ to portray them in that light?
But it’s not just the reasoning, or lack of reasoning, behind why the singer is targeting this woman for nearly the whole video, it’s the extent she goes in doing so. From a feminist perspective, stripping a woman of freedom of speech and free-will has been protested about since the nineteenth century and it’s something which is still being challenged today in the form of equal pay, abortion rights and sexual consent.
However, this goes beyond that, it reaches a moral perspective, where suddenly stripping, embarrassing, drugging and practically orally raping a woman with a bong is fun, isn’t it? It’s a worthy form of entertainment.
Sadly these things do happen on all corners of the globe, but this isn’t a documentary. It’s a music video, a video that would be highly criticized if a male artist created it. In 2013, ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke was banned due the promotion of rape, with naked female models dancing around clothed men.
Honestly, I fully supported the decision and still think the video is one the most degrading and sexist releases to date. But that doesn’t mean, we can simply ban a male’s music video, due to the explicit nature of it, and consider it to be the norm when equally cruel torture is happening at the hands of a woman.
Whether you call yourself a feminist or not, for years we’ve been campaigning for equal rights. Women don’t want to be degraded anymore, least of all at the hands of another woman. In addition, if we are promoting equal rights, and the need to be on par with each other, should we call a male artist out for the videos they product and not a females?
How would you feel if that was Thicke, taking a woman’s clothes off, tying her up with rope, stringing her from a ceiling and pushing her from side to side? Would it still be okay? Or would it be one of the most misogynistic videos of all time?
Do you agree with Emma Matthews? Do you have a point you’d like to challenge? #TheCloset encourages all women to stand up for what they believe in and express it freely. If you’d like to submit your own opinion piece for consideration email: email@example.com.