This post is a response to the following: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/horrible-reactions-to-chris-brown-at-the-grammys#21312sf
Warning: This post contains graphic images.
“Call me crazy buttttttttt I would let Chris Brown beat me up anyyyy day”
“Everyone shut up about Chris brown being a woman beater… Shiiiittt he can beat me up all night if he wants”
“Not gonna lie.. I think I’ld let Chris Brown beat me #sosexy #lovehim #awkwardtweet #dontevencare”
“Like I’ve said multiple times before, Chris Brown can beat me all he wants…. I’d do anything to have him oh my”
“Chris Brown.. Please beat me ;)”
The quotes above are among the first 10 of 25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions To Chris Brown At The Grammys. Over the three years since the ‘incident’ first occurred, there has been much controversy over it. According to one source, this is what reportedly happened:
Brown, who was Rihanna’s boyfriend at the time, was arrested on suspicion of beating the Grammy winner on February 8, 2009, leaving her battered and bruised.
The singer, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, canceled her Grammy performance that year after the incident.
Brown pleaded guilty to attacking Rihanna and was ordered to serve five years on supervised probation and to complete six months of community service including roadside clean-up, graffiti removal and manual labor. (Association Newspaper Ltd; 2012)
Reactions like those listed above by young girls around the world are a result of teenage culture. Teenage culture reinforces a hegemonic society – one that carries normalized ideals of behaviour. In this case, hegemonic masculinity highlighted in the sense that Chris Brown, especially in regards to this brutality, is seen by girls as strong and dominant. It is also hyper sexualized, fitting the norm to a tee. Girls in this culture tend to feel that they must be submissive, in that they are to let guys do whatever they want with them in order to please them. There is an idea in teenage culture that a girl needs a guy to make her happy and to make her complete. Therefore, a guy can do no wrong. In this sense, being abusive is almost seen as fulfilling his role.
There has been, however, some outrage because of this as well. In an article published by the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss said
“At a time when schools across the country are struggling to figure out how to stop kids from bullying each other, and educate teens about dating violence, it seems fair to ask why producers of the 2012 Grammy Awards thought it was an acceptable message to young people to allow Chris Brown to perform just three years after he famously beat up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.”
So what is this teaching youth? That violence is okay? That violence is something that should be desired? That it is natural? Chris Brown posted a video to the public a few months after the ‘incident’. The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzZUsNC76GU. Chris Brown is quoted saying “I hope to live my life so that I can be truly worthy of the term role model”. Does this public apology make up for what he did? Does it make it okay for girls to want to be beat simply because it is what society is teaching them is sexy or desirable? It didn’t take long for Chris Brown to be welcomed back to the music scene. Just three years after the incident he was performing at largely popular events once again.
Youth are influenced greatly by pop culture because it takes up a lot of what they are exposed to in society today. With messages like this one, that violence is acceptable and that this type of behaviour can be forgiven for any reason at all, there isn’t anything left to be resolved, is there? Of course there is. In our society, youth need to once again believe the power that they have. The need to believe the influence of their power, and once youth understand how to stand up to things like this, then, and only then, society will truly start to see it in a different light. I think that the more dominant groups need to take a stand also. For instance, if pop culture is going to promote the career of a man like this one as if nothing has happened, then youth are going to understand it as normal. We need to take a look at society’s current ideas of what normal is, and this might result in a different opinion about wanting to be beaten.
Rihanna wasn’t able to take a stand against this publicly, likely as a result of the advice of her agents and managers. Usher and Jay-Z, two other well known artists did make comments after the incident that indicated their discontent with the incident. They were later made to retract their statements by their managers so that it would not affect their career. So what should be more important? Your career? Or your life?
What do you think?
On a side note, Rihanna and Chris Brown have been reported by various media sources to be dating once again. Chris Brown also recently had a picture of a battered woman tattooed onto his neck. So then what does that say to young people?
2012 “Female police officers ‘who leaked photo of Rihanna after beating by singer boyfriend Chris Brown’ will not face criminal charges”. Associated Newspapers Ltd.
2012 “Chris Brown, the Grammys and the message sent to teens, kids”. The Washington Post Company.