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.

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