Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chris Brown & Rihanna – beating your girlfriend still ok, apparently

If, like me, you are old enough to remember those primitive times before the internet, it was not always easy to gauge the level of public stupidity in terms of people’s attitudes towards various issues. You could hear an occasional comment uttered in public, or read the letters page in your local tabloid newspaper (in my case, Melbourne’s Herald Sun). But that aside, it was difficult to judge just how sexist, racist, homophobic and generally backward people were. So you could mistakenly think that there were certain issues that people generally were sensible enough to agree upon; for example, that men shouldn’t hit women.

The internet, however, puts public stupidity on display for all to see. The anonymity of the medium means that people will say all kinds of thing that they might think twice about or be embarassed to say in public. Thus the wanton display of regressive attitudes that you can find in any comment thread on youtube, blogs, or news sites.

Case in point: the Chris Brown / Rihanna domestic violence case. No doubt you’ve probably heard something about the case, but here’s a brief rundown: R&B star Chris Brown allegedly beat and choked his girlfriend, fellow R&B singer Rihanna, which led to her being hospitalised. The rumour mill has been active on the net, with stories circulating that Rihanna gave him herpes, or that she had been cheating, or had physically attacked him first, and that these were what led to the incident.

Let me just say before I go on that despite writing a post on this, I am not particular interested in the details of celebrities private lives, and am not a fan of either “Ri Ri” or “Chris Breezy”. What does fascinate me however, are attitudes of people towards what happened.

Now if you are like me, this is all pretty straightforward. No matter what transpired between them, it’s not okay for a man to hit a woman. (I actually think its not okay for a man to hit a man either, but particularly a woman.) But I’ve been quite amazed at the number of comments all over the internet that partly or wholly blame Rihanna for what happened. And a huge number of them are from women. Note that the following comments are from comment threads on websites, and not representative of the website’s opinion.

At Girl Talk, Tiff says: “If she put his hands in him first, then she should expect the same reaction done back to her. A lot of females always wanna jump bad with a dude, get up all in their face, talk shit, hit em, act like they runnin shit, when in reality, that nigga coulda knocked your ads out a long time ago. You act like you bad, then you can get treated like it. If robyn smacked that boy in the face, or put her hands on him in any type of way before he out his hands on her, than she got what she deserved. It’s only so much a dude can take.”

At Hey Shae!, Lindsay says: "this is funny,i don’t understand why you went to the police and complain for your true love .
why??????????? he loves you why should you do such a thing,Rihanna you gave chris brown herpize so what that f**k you trying act innocent for. i am glad he beat you up your music is sh**t so thats good that he beat your ass up B**CH."

At Hip Hop Republican, anonymous says: "Rihanna got wat she deserved nomatta wat i still love chris brown and will always be his biggest fan. she was a diesease spreading girl and she should have told him before they had relations. I would have beat her til she was in a coma. I LOVE YOU CHRIS BROWN STAY FRESH"

To put this in perspective, on these sites the majority of threads were condemning Brown’s violent behaviour. But when around a third of comments on a range of sites justify it in some way, it’s kinda sickening.

But wait, I hear you say. Aren’t those who made the comments just stupid teenagers who don’t know jack about anything? Why do you treat them seriously?

Because the fact that even one person in the world thinks that a woman deserves to get beaten by her partner, that’s one too many. The fact that so many females think that disturbs the hell out of me. The fact that people would shamelessly justify relationship violence on a public forum is just f*#%ed up beyond belief.

Now since everyone is apparently so confused about this sh*t, I’m gonna break it down real simple for all the fellas out there.

Rule No. 1: Don’t hit your girl. Ever.

That’s about it, really.

But wait, I hear you say. What about if she’s hitting me?
Remember Rule 1. Which means you get the hell out of there. A woman hitting a man is just not the same as a man hitting a woman, whether you think that's fair or not.

But what if I can’t get away?

Self-defence is acceptable only as a last resort. Self-defence means you fend off the blows long enough to get the hell out of there. Self-defence doesn’t mean you beat and choke her until she loses consciousness.

What if she gave me herpes?

Well, maybe you should be more careful where you stick it. Dump her ass if you must, it doesn’t mean you can hit her. Because after you hit her, you still have herpes, asshole!

Oh, and ladies, you shouldn’t go trying to hit your man. That ain’t right at all. But if you do, that doesn’t mean he should hit you. If a man lays a hand on you in anger, dump his ass quick smart. Real men are better than that.

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