Today marks the birthday of the woman who currently features the highest on the ‘I would’ charts of my male British friends: Rihanna. And why not? This woman serves up her sexuality on a plate. Did you see that black ‘Ode to Scarface’ number at the Grammy’s? That dress proves it. When it comes to dressing for men, Rihanna ‘gets it’. (And as a result, likely gets plenty of ‘it’, too.)
But is she getting it right or wrong?
At the risk of sounding old or possibly maternal, I worry about our RiRi. Here we have a woman who has been the victim of incredible violence within her relationship espousing in ‘S&M’ that ‘pain is her pleasure’ (and nothing else can measure, apparently). Her ‘We Found Love’ video features an addicted, damaged and abused woman – though I wonder if the lowest common denominator can divine if it’s a cautionary tale or an ambition. And even that dress – the one I loved – is based on Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Scarface, Elvira Hancock, who despite being very desirable and snorting cocaine rather elegantly, is also drug addled and essentially owned by powerful men who mistreat her.
Believe me, my aim is not to attack Rihanna, especially on her birthday. She is talented and beautiful and if I had a body like that, I’d probably walk around naked or nearly nude most of the time (hey wait, she does!). What interests me about Rihanna is what sits at the heart of this blog – when it comes to attracting male attention, can we do it in a way that empowers us or is the very thought objectifying?
Women, Rihanna, MEN – hear me: there is nothing sexy about damage, and we can own our sexuality without emulating the most vulgar parts of it: promiscuity, domination or a loss of control. As this blog gets up and running and I talk about how to attract male attention, it’s because I am a feminist and I believe in anything – anything – that makes women feel good about being women. That includes male attention (when it’s sought). And if chains and whips DO excite you, then I join Rihanna in saying ‘na, na, na, na, na c’mon’ to that, too.
All I’m asking is that we’re honest about why we make the choices that we do, whether those choices relate to our style or our lifestyle. Attracting men is easy; they are primal and visual and they are the first to admit it. The trick is in attracting the right kind of attention in a way that feels guided by and true to no one else but you.