Super-ultra-pop-star Rihanna is a lot of things: model, former beauty queen, Barbadian youth cultural ambassador (!), frequent Billboard presence, wackadoo fashion icon, and a scant “score-and-one” years old. After an alleged argument that ended in alleged violence with boyfriend-singer Chris Brown a few weeks ago, however, it seems the media would like to cram a new hat on the young songstress’s head — domestic abuse poster child.
And, ok, when you step into the spotlight, you don’t always get to choose your image. I’m sure Jessica Simpson never planned on becoming a cautionary tale against reality TV marriages, or That Girl Who Jinxes Football Players. Jamie-Lynn Spears didn’t get knocked up so that she could be a role model to pregnant teens. “The Hills”‘ Audrina Patridge didn’t accidentally-on-purpose leak nekkid pictures of herself to provide valuable lessons on discretion to “the young girls who look up to [her]” . . . oh, no wait. She totally did.
But while fame and fortune predicate a certain lack of control, surely some things are still sacred. By now, everyone has either seen the photo of Rihanna’s battered face that TMZ allegedly scootched from the LAPD, or they have gone to great and strenuous lengths to avoid it. Shortly after the gossip site watermarked their logo across Rihanna’s puffy eyes and potentially broken nose, the photo was plastered across the front page of papers like the New York Post. Even sites that blathered on about the shame of exposing such a tragedy in this way would sneak the photo in after the jump.
No one, it seems, could keep from snagging a few more site hits at the starlet’s expense. Most were willing to accept the starlet’s silence (especially since it came at the request of police) and allow her a quiet birthday in Barbados, but recent rumors that she’s taken the bastard back have incensed, well, pretty much everyone. The face of Gucci’s fourth annual Campaign to Benefit UNICEF is now being called “the most famous face of domestic abuse” and apparently she has to answer to the world about why she would go back to a man who (allegedly) beats her.
Don’t get me wrong: I am all for being held accountable for your actions, especially if you are living off the fat of public opinion. However, this is obviously a sensitive issue, and obviously a confusing time for such a young woman, and obviously none of our collective business. I doubt that someone as savvy as Rihanna is going to waltz back into a dangerous situation without some frank analysis, but if she wants to see if she and Chris can work things out, who are we to stop her? I am neither her mother nor her manager nor her best friend. Domestic abuse is about as serious as issues go these days, and I’m not saying that Rihanna should simply disregard what happened. But as much as I didn’t have the right to creep my eyes all over her face in a vulnerable moment, I haven’t got the right to stick my nose into her personal affairs like I know what’s what. I don’t. Neither do you. Time to back off.