“It says much about Rihanna’s story that she pierced the mainstream bubble only after she was widely photographed sporting a black eye, given to her by her then partner, the singer Chris Brown. For a woman who became the overnight face of domestic violence to later release S&M, a song with the lyrics: “Sticks and stones/ May break my bones/ But chains and whips/ Excite me,” is either ironic, empowering or plain silly.”
This rewriting of history is one of the many sad (and even disturbing) fall-outs from the domestic violence case. Of course Rihanna had ‘pierced the mainstream bubble’ well before the ‘incident’ and had a string of massive hits behind her. She was also hardly known as being a wallflower. So what does it say that self-identified feminists now see her as someone who was ‘made’ by being attacked and should be mindful of this when creating new pop?