Wednesday 22 November 2017

Brendan O'Connor: They all wanted to be Rihanna, in all her half-dressed glory

Role model: Girls want to copy Rihanna in all her half-dressed glory.
Role model: Girls want to copy Rihanna in all her half-dressed glory.
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I first saw them as I left the office on Talbot Street. They were an odd sight. It wasn't an incredibly sunny day, but yet there they were, swarms of them, what I can only describe as young ones in their knickers. As I walked home, I was assailed at all turns by arse cheeks, many of them unsightly. Indeed, when you're walking around a city, any arse cheeks are unsightly. In context, you can ignore an arse cheek. At the beach, you become immune to them. But in town, it's different. They are just wrong. Arse cheeks in town just don't sit right.

At this point I remembered that Rihanna, a former singer who now acts largely like a porn star, was playing at the Aviva. Exactly in the direction I was headed. I was walking into arse cheek ground zero. And instead of enjoying the festive air, I found myself tut-tutting. What kind of a role model was this Rihanna tramp? And here was proof positive that the continuing sexualisation of popular culture was having a direct affect on our young women. They were all emulating Rihanna. They wanted to be her, in all her half-dressed glory. Now I know that some feminists would accuse me of slut-shaming right now. And would argue that these young women are empowered, that they are owning their erotic capital. To which I would respond by questioning the erotic capital of a 12-year-old with badly applied streaks of fake tan, walking around town dressed like a sex worker. And I would argue that by the looks of them, many of these young ones would have been better off going for a run or playing a game of football or something. (Go on so, add fat-shaming to my list of crimes).

As I got closer to the epicentre of it, I realised that there was a competitiveness to the slutty dressing. It was a peer pressure thing. They were all trying to outdo each other by being more Ri-Ri than the next one. And I saw all the boys too, delighted boys, who possibly wouldn't be able to believe, if indeed they thought about it, that this was the gift feminism had bequeathed them. These young ones had the freedom to parade their booties down the road. It was female empowerment.

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