When I think of Rihanna, I think of sex, talent, and feminine stature. She started her career at sixteen-years-old and was a star after her debut album. A few records later, her star power never waned, just building as she shifted gears to a more rebellious image.
Recently, she tweeted some skin-flashing photos of herself. I feel this is okay behind closed doors, but in the public, she should understand that her actions have strong repercussions with her young fan base. What she says and does affects the millions of tweens who follow her, for better or for worse.
She’s admired because she’s committed, talented and extremely successful. She’s her own boss and doesn’t need to please anyone. This is not a gimmick; this is her brand, and her image.
However, this could be interpreted by her Twitter followers in completely different ways. For example, for the many tweens that follow her, they could see this as legitimizing their doing nude photo shoots themselves. This is harmful because they don’t have the power, the control, or even the understanding of sexuality. They can be easily manipulated by others, especially with sleazy photographers or boyfriends saying “I could make you a star,” and will show them images of a nude Rihanna and say that it’s sexy and they could be the next Rihanna, which will open the door to sexual abuse, possible nude pics floating around on the internet and on porn sites, causing humiliation and embarrassment, and false hope of becoming the next big thing.
This is particularly relevant considering the media coverage around her and Chris Brown. It shows girls that it’s okay to be a sex object, and get hit. Some even would consider it an ego boost when an overbearing boyfriend hits them out of jealousy, feeling that it must be love.
Hopeful starlets will feel that they can’t make it without taking their clothes off. But this isn’t true – there are many ways to be famous without tweeting nude photos around to get attention.
Lisa Haisha is a Hollywood counselor who founded Soul Blazing Sanctuary in Sherman Oaks, California, and is recognized as one of Hollywood’s leading therapists and humanitarians.