Monday, May 17, 2010

A bit torn on this video I am

Okay a while back Rihanna, American pop singer if you don't know, released a video entitled "Rude Boy". When it first released a few months ago there was some contention over whether it was a woman being upfront about her sexuality or just a flipping of the switch on the way male rappers talk about women. I finally got around to hearing the lyrics tonight (the youtube link below displays lyrics instead of the actual video) and I have to say that for the most part I'm really not seeing how this is different from the lyrics you hear from most male rappers as they talk about women.

For the most part male rappers are talking about how they like their women and what they want to do with them and how they want to have sex with them. Yes there are a lot of male rappers that do reduce women to their body parts and just get right nasty but for the most part I'm not feeling it here, just as I don't feel it in the majority of the male rape lyrics. However there is one line that concerns me a bit.

"Is you big enough?"

Now at face value (and I'm sure that's what a lot of women will say it means despite assuming the worst faith when its the other way around) this could be as simple as expressing her preference for a large penis. On the other hand its worth bearing in mind that penis size is one of the most common ways to shame a male. A woman's boyfriend does or says something she doesn't like? Insult his penis size. A woman wants to just hurt a guy's feelings? Insult his penis size. A woman in a heated argument and want to really stick it to him? Insult his penis size.

What I'm saying is that while she may not want to intimidate guys as a guy I can very easily understand how some guys would take this as an insult. Now I'm sure you're ready to just shrug this off as him being over sensitive about his penis size and he needs to get over himself. (Oh and before you try to lay the responsibility for this on the male ego I think its worth noting that if it is the fault of the male ego women seem to have no problem exploiting it when it suits them as I listed above.) Sure. But are you ready to say the same the next time some lyrics come along about women's bodies?

In the end Rihanna probably meant nothing by it (intent and all that) but I would not be so quick to dismiss the words of those who may be offended by it.