Sunday, February 26, 2012

Condom Quickie: Zac Efron on the Red Carpet

Zac Efron recently had an embarrassing red carpet moment at the premiere of his new movie The Lorax. He reached into his pocket to get something to hand to his publicist, and in the process he accidentally dropped a condom onto the carpet.

This is like one of those goofy Cosmo Confessions stories come to life. (Or the 'a tampon fell out of my backpack right in front of my crush!' stories from our teen years.) It's kinda hard to believe that it actually happened.

The incident has been largely dismissed as just a random funny embarrassing moment. Most of the comments we've seen have been along the lines of 'haha, at least he's being safe!' and 'guess he's not in high school anymore'. But we have to wonder what the reaction would have been like if this had happened to a young female star. Can you imagine if Miley Cyrus or Vanessa Hudgens had done this? I feel like we'd be seeing a lot more stuff like 'why is she even carrying condoms?' and 'who is she trying to hook up with at the premiere of a kids movie?' and 'she's a Disney star, what kind of message does this send to her young fans?'

What do you think? Do you think the reaction would have been the same if this had happened to a young woman like Miley or Vanessa, or would there have been a lot more pearl-clutching and slut-shaming going on?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rihanna calls a fan ugly, then claims cyberbullying

What the fuck is wrong with Rihanna? Yeah, I said it. I'm pissed. We were very quick to defend her when people criticized some of her actions after being beaten by Chris Brown, but now I'm disgusted.

You may already know about Rihanna's new collaborations with Chris Brown and may or may not be back in a relationship with him. (Yes, this is the same Chris Brown who put her in the hospital a few years ago and who showed off what he learned in anger management by throwing a chair through a window at "Good Morning America".) Now that might be enough to disgust some Rihanna fans (in fact, read responses from fans, celebs and experts: here, here and here) but that's not what's got us pissed off.

Obviously we don't understand her decision to forgive the man who beat her so badly, but she's not the first woman to forgive her abuser (and sadly, she won't be the last). It's not fair for us to hold her solely responsible for being Ms. Anti-Domestic Violence, even if it's kind of what we all want and expect. So yeah, we're disappointed in the collaboration and reconciliation -- and the message that it sends to other women and girls -- but it's her life and she's going to make the decisions she wants to make.

What we're so angry about is something that may seem insignificant and stupid in comparison, but is actually a pretty big deal in our opinion.

One fan in particular, tweeted something about being disappointed in Rihanna choosing to collaborate with Chris Brown and Rihanna's response was downright repulsive.

Yes, you read that correctly. Someone suggested that it looks bad to collaborate with someone who used to physically abuse you (the same opinion that has been expressed widely in the past few days, including by some domestic violence experts) and Rihanna responded by saying that her avatar photo was ugly. She didn't defend the song, claim that Chris Brown had changed, or say that it's her life and she'll do what she wants. Nope, she just called her ugly. Why? Because she stated what we are all thinking - that it looks bad to forgive (and record with) someone who beat the crap out of you not that long ago.

Can we please get past the point where our immediate reaction to any kind of criticism is to go to the "you're ugly" defense? It's really sad that in 2012 women are still calling other women ugly, for no fucking good reason. (Also, let's not forget that Rihanna's previously stated views on beauty are kind of messed up anyway. So no one should sweat being called ugly by her. But I digress.)

What happened next, makes my stomach turn. Rihanna's "loyal fans" lashed out at JuhReeV, laughing and calling her ugly, retweeting Rihanna's comment over 7,000 times. JuhReeV has been harassed on twitter en masse thanks to Rihanna's bitchy tweet.  (She also gained about 1,500 twitter followers, so clearly some people agree with her.)

We think that this is just unacceptable. Rihanna is a celebrity - and she's publicly showing off her reconciliation with someone we all know abused her - so she should be prepared to handle some criticism. Unless she's a total moron, she had to expect that people would feel this way and speak out about it.

We don't think there was anything wrong with JuhReeV's original tweet or the sentiments she expressed. It is the way a lot of people feel, including us. Rihanna has the right to face her critics and respond to them, but she should be more mature and proactive in the way that she handles this criticism. She should also be more responsible with the power of fame and social media. Rihanna has over 14,000,000 fans. When you have that many Twitter followers, you can't just make a stupid comment like that without expecting there to be a huge response (and in this case, JuhReeV was the victim of that response). Let's not forget what happened when Ashton Kutcher tweeted about Joe Paterno... with great power, comes great responsibility. When you're a celebrity on Twitter with that much of a following, you have to think before you tweet.

But it gets worse. JuhReeV responded a few times (because well, who wouldn't respond if Rihanna called you ugly?)...

And then Rihanna had the nerve to claim that she was being cyberbullied, again calling JuhReeV by name. Really. A celebrity with over 14,000,000 followers calls a young woman ugly in front of all those followers (inciting them to also call her ugly and harass her) and then claims that she is the victim of cyberbullying? What? Someone is definitely being ugly here but it's not JuhReeV.

Of course, no doubt that "cyberbullying" tweet incited her 14,000,000+ followers to harass JuhReeV even more. Who's the real cyberbully here?

I find it extremely offensive and irresponsible that  Rihanna is claiming that she was cyberbullied. Sorry, but no. Cyberbullying is a real thing and this is not it. Telling a singer that you disagree with her choices is not cyberbullying. Responding when someone calls you ugly is not cyberbullying. Defending yourself against hundreds of rabid Rihanna fans calling you ugly (among other things) is not cyberbullying. Rihanna's claiming to have been cyberbullied is offensive to anyone who has ever dealt with real bullies (cyber or otherwise).

Apparently Rihanna is more forgiving of someone who punches her in the face, than someone who dares to disagree with her questionable choices. And that is ugly.

Related posts:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm Still Not Over Chris Brown at the Grammys

Yes, I know, the Grammys were Sunday night and everyone is moving on. But there's still a valuable conversation going on about the presence of Chris Brown on the Grammy stage and why it matters, so we wanted to address it.

I happened to be on twitter during most of the Grammys, so between that and talking to people after the show I know that I was far from the only one who was not happy that Chris Brown was invited to perform. (He also ended up winning an award.) If you were wondering about the thought process that led the show's producers to decide to invite Brown to perform, especially with Rihanna also scheduled to attend and perform, Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich answered that by essentially explaining that Rihanna wasn't the most important consideration:
“I think people deserve a second chance, you know," Ehrlich said. "If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”
He went on to say that "what (Brown has) done to reclaim his career and seemingly the kind of person that he has become makes him -- I don't even want to use the word eligible -- but you know, it's time."
Oh, now I get it. The producers' decision was never about what Chris Brown did to Rihanna - which was beat her so badly that she ended up in the hospital, and is documented in a police report if you know anybody who's forgotten about it like Ehrlich apparently has - it was about what Chris Brown did to the Grammy Awards. It was about Ken Ehrlich and his fellow producers giving Brown their version of the silent treatment for a whopping three years while they decided whether they could find it in their hearts to forgive him for the horrible crime of forcing them to rearrange a small portion of their awards show. Keep in mind that this is the same Grammy Awards that banned Janet Jackson for her Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, but Chris Brown violently assaults his girlfriend while threatening to kill her, shows little to no remorse for his actions, and gives indications that his violent behavior is not under control, but hey, Ken Ehrlich says "it's time" for all of us to welcome him back to the Grammy stage.

I found Ehrlich's choice of words to be really interesting, and also really infuriating. He doesn't say that they were giving members of their viewing audience a chance to get over what happened, and he doesn't show any concern for Rihanna or any other victims of domestic violence that may have strong feelings about Brown's participation. He doesn't say 'we were wary about inviting him back because in a very small way we were also kind of a victim of what happened due to the timing'. He says "it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened". Rihanna who? This is all about Ken Ehrlich's pain, guys. Let's all admire his strength in finding a way to forgive, and also his audacity in thinking that these comments were remotely acceptable.

Of course, some people will inevitably say that it's just an awards show, but this sends a message and that message matters. Right after the show Buzzfeed compiled a list of 25 extremely upsetting reactions from twitter, with women saying things like "I'd let Chris Brown beat me up anytime". And Brown himself tweeted, and then deleted, this mature and thoughtful response to the controversy and his critics: "HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That's the ultimate FUCK OFF!" Clearly Ken Ehrlich is seeing something that I'm not when it comes to the question of the kind of person that Chris Brown has become. As media critic Jennifer Pozner put it, "Dating violence, just like domestic violence, is deeply misunderstood and not taken even remotely seriously, even though it happens in epidemic numbers...That's part of the reason why it is so dangerous for the Grammys to embrace and showcase Chris Brown after his violence against Rihanna."

If you'd like to join us in sending a message to the Grammys about their support of Chris Brown, there's a petition on right now asking the Grammys to apologize, and to "make that apology meaningful with a donation to an organization that works on behalf of domestic violence victims and survivors". It currently has more then 5500 signatures, so maybe if enough of us speak up we can help Ken Ehrlich to realize that "it's time" for him to rethink his point of view.