Rihanna’s (Un)Dress

June 6, 2014  |  

I am admitting that I am really tired of seeing Rihanna naked. I know, blasphemy. It’s not that I can’t appreciate how incredibly sexy and beautiful she is; it’s just that I probably shouldn’t know what she looks like without her clothes on as much as I do. I would have to say that Rihanna has shown me the most of her body than any other celebrity in my lifetime. I know what her nipples look like, I’ve seen her ass crack many times especially when it was held high in the air, and I can pretty much imagine what is in between her legs.

The fashion industry adores her, and I get it, I truly do. On Monday evening, she attended the 2014 CFDA fashion awards at Lincoln Center in New York City. She wore a sheer dress, covered only with 230,000 Swarovski crystals, customed made by designer Adam Selman. She accessorized with a pink feather boa, glitter gloves, and a 1920’s style turban. The dress was beautiful and Rihanna, as always, looked stunning. Mainstream media said she was channeling her inner Josephine Baker. Headlines likened her to a powerful feminist for not being afraid to expose her sexuality. At the event, Vogue editor Anna Wintour praised Rihanna for her fearless approach to fashion. “I’m here tonight to talk about how Rihanna communicates through fashion, because that, of course, is what style icons do…They tell us captivating stories about themselves and about the world we live in through the boldness and beauty of their clothes,” she said in her speech. Word, true, true. Everything printed and spoken about RiRi is in admiration. And after reading it all, any thoughts that I have about her style or way of dress make me feel like I’m the anti-Christ. You don’t like how much Rihanna expresses herself? Then you must be a hater.


For me, this is not a new conversation. Every time I see a Rihanna nip or a** crack, I am uncomfortable. I want to throw my two hands over both my eyes. I’m not sure why. And when I bring it up to people, it gets flipped on me like “that’s your issue.” Maybe it is, or maybe it’s not even about Rihanna but more so about how acceptable it is when it’s done by someone we adore. I’m wondering, if one of the girls from, let’s say, Love and Hip-Hop ATL would have worn that dress, would we have responded the same way? Would it have been such a feminist statement then? If Rihanna drops a sextape as explicit as Mimi and Nikko’s, will it be an acceptable expression of her sexual freedom? Is Rihanna’s nakedness okay just because it’s Rihanna. I don’t know about the rest of the mothers out there, but I would like a parental advisory sticker on her nipples, and anyone else’s. A nipple is a nipple, and I don’t want to see it unless you’re breastfeeding, and even then, can you just drape something over it?

Anyway, my now13-year old daughter used to love Rihanna when she first came out with “Pon Di Replay.” We still listen to a lot of her music, and most of her songs are hits, so of course, we hear them in the car and sing along. But Rihanna has graduated well out of the kids-like-me era when she first debuted as an artist. I don’t want my kids thinking this is what they need to dress like in order to be accepted as beautiful. They, like the rest of the world, believe that Rihanna is the epitome of gorgeous.

I joke with my husband about the Rihanna thing. We got into a heated argument a few months ago when I said those French magazine pictures that she took were a bit much. “You hatin’,” he replied, as if that automatically makes him win the argument. I thought he was a huge fan of Rihanna because, well, aren’t all men?

This morning, as I write, I ask him whether he’s seen the Rihanna dress from the other night. I am less critical in order to get a better response and not end up hearing “you wish you had a body like Rihanna.” I do. Don’t most women? So because of that, I’m extra sensitive about being too critical. But I can’t help myself, I think it’s too much sexy. I’m over all this sexy.

His response, “I’m not even that big of a fan of Rihanna. I just like that she’s a whore. She’ll show her a**, her t******, she’ll show everything. I’m waiting for the Rihanna sex tape.”

So am I.

–Kim O.


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