Rihanna Is a Bad Role Model–But Who Cares?

February 8, 2013  |  

Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast was not please yesterday. She tweeted, “@rihanna, you are a big fat zero as a role model for girls” after the singer supported on-again boyfriend Chris Brown in a court hearing regarding faked community service records. The court asked Brown to repeat his community service, the community service he had to complete for brutally beating Rihanna in 2009.

Before appearing in court to support her man, Rihanna announced in a Rolling Stone interview that she is back with Chris Brown and that not even her best friend is allowed to discuss it with her. And, not for the first time, she said she doesn’t see herself as a role model. “I could never tell a 10-year-old to look at me, because I know I’m not perfect. That’s not what I signed up for.” So why should Tina Brown, or anyone else, try to pin the role model label on Rihanna?

She’s certainly done just about everything a parent wouldn’t want his daughter to do, like nude photographs, smoking Mary Jane all over her Instagram, and performing risque songs. But even with all that, many still feel she should is being held up as an example of behavior. And if she’s going to be an example, then she better clean up her act and be a good one. But some say  just by virtue of being a very public figure whose fans including young girls, she’s a role model, whether she likes it or not.

Some time ago, she posted a photo on her Instagram account saying, “Don’t say I’m a bad role model and then be surprised when I do bad role model type s***.” That actually is fairly logical; she’s owned what she is and says she won’t change. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to ask her to change.

So does she have the right to refuse her role as role model? If she says she’s not a role model does she stop being one? If Rihanna isn’t a role model, then who is?

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