Over at the Ms. Magazine blog, Janell Hobson writes about the reaction to Rihanna’s video for her new song, “Man Down.” Here is an excerpt from Professor Hobson’s commentary:
While certain groups may be shocked at the image of yet another black “man down,” shot and left for dead on the streets, what of the tattered and torn rape victim? Yes, she runs for her gun, but the song lyrics suggest that the violence enacted is one of regret, not triumph.
In light of recent events–from Dominique Strauss-Khan’s alleged assault on a hotel room attendant to the acquittal of New York City cops who took advantage of an inebriated woman to Eman al-Obeidi’s reports of rape by Libyan soldiers to Peace Corps volunteers’ stories of rape to Yale fraternity boys chanting “No means Yes!” to the various Slut Walk protests around the world to the countless rape survivors who have yet to come forward–now is not the time to ban and censor this powerful narrative.
Rihanna has pointed a lyrical gun on the issue–one that we don’t have to take too literally, especially since we adults should be more discerning for our youth. Let us respond by triggering useful conversations on the myths and the realities of rape and sexual violence.
Read Professor Hobson’s full post here.