On hating Chris Brown

I love Ann Friedman and I think this piece about Chris Brown and Rihanna is good, but I also think she’s wrong. It’s worth a read, and the content isn’t exactly what the headline says — Ann makes the argument that hating Chris Brown isn’t particularly helpful for Rihanna, and that bad-mouthing abusers isn’t effective since most women who are abused go back to their abusers many times over and repeated negative comments may further alienate them from support networks. She also says that we can’t (and shouldn’t) be telling Rihanna what to do when it comes to Brown.

A few months later, when rumors started to surface that Rihanna and Brown were back together, Oprah declared she wouldn’t pass judgment. Privately, many of us rolled our eyes. It sounded like such a cop-out. But Ray-Jones says it’s probably the best course of action in a really tough situation. “I would never attack a survivor for forgiveness, that’s part of her healing process,” she says. “I would never tell someone, ‘You can’t get back with him.’ If that’s what she wants to do, and she feels he’s changed, that’s her choice. And we can’t control her choice, because then we’re no better than he is.” That’s true in every domestic violence situation, but it’s even more true when the woman in question is a celebrity. Most of us — Oprah included — are Rihanna’s distant fans, not her personal friends. We have no right to tell her what to do.

That’s right. And Ann spends most of the piece talking about how we shouldn’t attack Rihanna for getting back with Brown — that’s also right.

But I’d say that hating Brown is a pretty damn good idea.

We aren’t Rihanna’s friends. We aren’t her support system. And Brown is a celebrity whose livelihood is dependent on being loved (and financially supported) by millions. Criticizing Rihanna is the wrong thing to do, because she’s only human, and she’s doing what many abuse survivors (and many of us) have done ourselves. Criticizing her sends a message to abuse victims that being abused is their fault, and that they’ll be blamed for making “bad decisions” if they go back to an abuser. I wish Rihanna would make a different choice, obviously, but I don’t fault her for the choices she’s making.

I do fault Brown for beating her up. And I do fault the music industry and the popular media for glossing over his offenses and promoting his career, even as he has never fully apologized, doesn’t seem to be particularly sorry, and continues to go on rage-sprees.

We can do two things at once: We can, as a society, publicly hate an abuser while still supporting people who are abused. In fact, I would say that a non-judgment policy when it comes to public figures is about the worst thing we can do — it sends the message that abuse is neutral, and that as long as the abused party doesn’t leave, we’re going to look the other way.

When it’s a friend who is being abused, the calculus is different. Obviously yes, point out to your friend that what’s happening is very not ok and not acceptable. And then support her, and give her a safe haven, and make it clear that you’ll be there for her every step of the way — even when she doesn’t do what you want. Try not to go on tirades about her abuser even though you hate him, because that will alienate her.

But as a society when dealing with a very public celebrity abuser who has shown no remorse and doesn’t seem all that committed to change? I say don’t just bad-mouth; take actual steps to quit supporting him. Imagine if, to use another example, Charlie Sheen was simply totally ostracized for his repeated instances of abuse? Instead, he remained employed and was given a wider platform; abusing women was just one of his “antics,” like drinking too much and giving unhinged interviews about tiger blood.

If we want to support women who are abused, then socially we need to not support men who are abusing.

Author: has written 5281 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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99 Responses

  1. SamBarge
    SamBarge December 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    This is all true. I know it takes a lot of tries to remove yourself from a partner who abuses you, even when the usual reasons (finances, children) are absent. Abandoning the victim plays into the plans of the abuser.

    But I still don’t like Rihanna because I don’t like her music or public persona. I didn’t like her before she was a victim of IPV and I don’t like her now – but it’s all unrelated to her relationship with Chris Brown.

    I don’t like Chris Brown because I have this thing about not supporting men who I know have abused or assaulted women. I wish more people would be vocal about Sean Penn and the white dudes who get a pass but that oversight doesn’t excuse Brown’s actions.

  2. Drahill
    Drahill December 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    I can see her point insofar as projecting anger towards Brown, like Jenny Johnson did, can play into the dynamic that creates that whole “it’s me and him against the world” thing, and can actually reinforce the bond between a victim and her abuser. I had a friend who went back to an abusive man. If anybody dared to talk ill of him in her presence, she would defend him to the death and doing so just strengthened her resolve to stick with him. It was like being on eggshells.

    I do think that there are legitimate arguments to be made about domestic violence as a generational problem and responsibility (given Brown’s family background) and especially about the racial context of Brown’s offenses vs. the Caucasion men in Hollywood who have abused women, but those are different arguments. Ann’s piece doesn’t really seem to touch on those arguments, which is a shame, since they have a lot more merit than this article, which seems to suggest that feelings that aren’t productive aren’t valid. But that was just the impression that I got.

    1. Lauren
      Lauren December 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

      Ann’s piece doesn’t really seem to touch on those arguments, which is a shame, since they have a lot more merit than this article, which seems to suggest that feelings that aren’t productive aren’t valid.

      Only responding to this — “feelings that aren’t productive aren’t valid” — because it flummoxes me. Can you clarify what you’re implying here?

      1. Drahill
        Drahill December 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

        Because the article reaches a level of paternalism by suggesting that hate or dislike towards Chris Brown should be abandoned because it does not benefit or help Rihanna in any way. One can feel those things towards Brown for one’s own personal reasons. That wasn’t really implied, it was a major point of the article.

  3. Lauren
    Lauren December 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen and Roman Polanski. And Sean Penn, and Jovan Belcher, Sean Connery, etc etc. It’s frustrating to see such fantastic violence dimmed down, pushed under the rug, and minimized for the sake of the Hollywood and mega-sports machines, especially as an abuse survivor.

  4. Stella
    Stella December 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    Is Chris brown a serial abuser or was what he did a one off so far?

  5. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    I think that when it comes to public figures, there has to be a conversation about their actions that is really separate from the people themselves or even what might be best for them. I wouldn’t give Rihanna-the-person grief about going back to Brown, but I would certainly push back against the message that sends to girls and women and use Rihanna-the-performer as an example of what not to do.

    As for if I ever interacted with them personally, I would give Brown an earful, but not Rihanna; her life doesn’t need to be about his actions but his sure does. His past should follow him while touching her as little as possible.

  6. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve December 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

    I think it’s important to remember that we don’t actually know Chris Brown and/or Rhianna, so it really isn’t about hating/liking them. The only thing we can like or hate is the media’s representation of this relationship, and inasmuch as the media portrays it, clearly Chris Brown is the hate figure in the specific incident, but I really think overall the media sets us up to dislike Rihanna as much. What makes it worse is that the reasons the media gives us for disliking Rihanna all seem to be linked to that she is a strong successful independent WOC.

    1. tinyorc
      tinyorc December 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

      I agree with this to a certain extent, but when you strip away all the media representation, you still have a man who beat the shit out of his girlfriend in a fit of rage. We don’t have to know Chris Brown personally to understand how completely abhorrent and awful his actions were.

    2. White Rabbit
      White Rabbit December 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

      The only thing we can like or hate is the media’s representation of this relationship…

      I have to politely disagree. The photo of a battered Rihanna is not “only” a media representation of this relationship – it is a raw representations of the fact that Chris Brown is a violent abuser who put Rihanna in the hospital. That is plenty enough reason for me to hate the guy. It doesn’t help that I have yet to see a genuine expression of remorse for him, and that he has had several violent and/or highly offensive outbursts since then.

      …and inasmuch as the media portrays it, clearly Chris Brown is the hate figure in the specific incident…

      Are you questioning the fairness/accuracy of the media’s portrayal of Chris Brown as the “hate figure,” or am I misreading you here?

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

        Are you questioning the fairness/accuracy of the media’s portrayal of Chris Brown as the “hate figure,” or am I misreading you here?

        You are misreading me, or ignoring the second part of the sentence. I am acknowledging that they rightly criticize CHris Brown but note that they equally seem to criticize Rihanna.

        And to your earlier point. In no way do I question that Chris Brown was 100% wrong and evil in his assault on Rihanna. When I refer to the ‘media representation of the relationship,’ I am speaking solely about their judgement of their relationship after the assault and the speculation about Rihanna’s motives.

        1. White Rabbit
          White Rabbit December 5, 2012 at 1:34 am |

          Okay. And nope, I wasn’t ignoring, I was just genuinely uncertain and asking in good faith.

        2. White Rabbit
          White Rabbit December 5, 2012 at 1:39 am |

          Also, totally off-topic, but since I’m posting at the moment, I thought I’d mention that I realize I need to sync my log-ins across my various computers, as I’ve accidentally been posting on Feministe with two different avatars that both use the “White Rabbit” handle. This is my other avatar.

  7. noodleworm
    noodleworm December 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm |

    Am I alone in wishing for there to be a permanent divide between morality and the public market place?

    I mean, I buy music cus it sounds good, not cus the people who make it are necessarily “good” people. Weather or not the people who make the products I consume are lecherous daemons who subsist on the blood of infants or philanthropist angels who’s hobbies are giving blood and volunteering at suicide prevention centers isn’t going to make my product any better, why should I care what they do in their off hours?

    I mean I get the whole free speech is only free from prosecution thing but In a world where people pride themselves on demolishing the lives of anybody they disagree with just means we end up with mob rule doesn’t it? Suddenly instead of the person who broke the law and followed the system’s rules is now getting run outa town and that’s a good thing? Seems very Frankenstein to me

    1. EG
      EG December 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

      The idea that economics has nothing to do with morality or how we as human beings treat each other is a fantasy. Money is power. I do not want people who do terrible things to accumulate power. Why should I help them do so?

      In a world where people pride themselves on demolishing the lives of anybody they disagree with just means we end up with mob rule doesn’t it?

      Not buying Brown’s music is not the same as demolishing his life. I’m not obliged to give anybody my money.

      Suddenly instead of the person who broke the law and followed the system’s rules is now getting run outa town and that’s a good thing?

      I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. When following the system’s rules means beating the crap out of women, then damn straight it’s a good thing to get that asshole run out of town.

      1. noodleworm
        noodleworm December 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

        Not buying Brown’s music is not the same as demolishing his life. I’m not obliged to give anybody my money.

        but why encourage other people not to buy his music?

        I do not want people who do terrible things to accumulate power. Why should I help them do so?

        Dono what to tell ya, if that’s how you see it then by all means don’t. I buy lunch some times from a tiny cafe owned by a guy who doesn’t think the holocaust actually happened but I still eat there cus they serve the best felafel in town. I guess I see a difference between supporting a business vs supporting someone personally.

        I have no idea what you’re trying to say here.

        I’m sayin dude assaulted somebody and the cops dealt with it, what else is there? The justice system sucks some times but that doesn’t mean he owes ME anything, I’m not the justice dpt.

        1. EG
          EG December 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

          but why encourage other people not to buy his music?

          Why not? He has the entertainment industry working on churning out propaganda encouraging people to buy his music. Why is it OK for them to do it but not me?

          I buy lunch some times from a tiny cafe owned by a guy who doesn’t think the holocaust actually happened but I still eat there cus they serve the best felafel in town.

          How nice for you that it’s merely an academic matter. I prefer not to help support raging anti-semites who make excuses for the people who tried to wipe out people like me. I’m glad you’re comfortable sitting in their cafes making small talk, though. I wouldn’t want an anti-semite who denies the holocaust to be ostracized or anything. That would be awful.

          I’m sayin dude assaulted somebody and the cops dealt with it, what else is there? The justice system sucks some times but that doesn’t mean he owes ME anything, I’m not the justice dpt.

          It’s not a question of what he owes me. I am sitting in judgment on him. Our completely inadequate and incompetent legal system has nothing to do with it.

        2. EG
          EG December 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

          Essentially, you are making a moral choice with your money, just as I am. Your choice is that beating the shit out of a woman isn’t important enough to interfere with your shopping decisions. Mine is different.

        3. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

          It’s not a question of what he owes me. I am sitting in judgment on him.

          Essentially, you are making a moral choice with your money, just as I am.

          I guess morallyI’m a golden rule kinda person. I don’t want other people imposing their judgement on me so I try to make a habit out of not imposing my judgement on other people.

        4. E.
          E. December 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

          Noodle, you could always, you know, illegally download his music. Then you could jam out as much as you want to your morally questionable tunes without giving him a cent.

        5. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

          @E
          heh, I’m neither confirming nor denying that I do or do not ;)

          But not because I’m interested in judging him, I don’t even know the guy, or Rihanna for that matter. I just don’t think any of his stuff is worth my money.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

          I guess morallyI’m a golden rule kinda person. I don’t want other people imposing their judgement on me so I try to make a habit out of not imposing my judgement on other people.


          The Golden rule is:

          One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself

          You are confusing it with Matthew 7.1
          Judge not, that ye be not judged

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm |

          I guess morallyI’m a golden rule kinda person.

          Yeah, me too! That’s the one where you pee on people you disapprove of, right?

          …no?

          Huh.

          *trails away disappointedly*

        8. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm |

          I buy lunch some times from a tiny cafe owned by a guy who doesn’t think the holocaust actually happened but I still eat there cus they serve the best felafel in town.

          Might you be in NYC? I, for one, would love a list of places that are anti-Semitic or racist or sexist or whatever so I can forgo supporting their livelihoods.

          Also, how in the flying fuck did you find out the owner thought the Holocaust didn’t happen? I can tell you that literally never in my life have I ordered a salad, then had the owner come out and say, “Hey you: Holocaust – fact or fiction?? MYTH, LOL. Also, croutons?”

        9. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 5, 2012 at 12:09 am |

          Also, how in the flying fuck did you find out the owner thought the Holocaust didn’t happen? I can tell you that literally never in my life have I ordered a salad, then had the owner come out and say, “Hey you: Holocaust – fact or fiction?? MYTH, LOL. Also, croutons?”

          That’s kind of offensive. A falafel place would never put croutons in their salad.

          To answer your question as to how noodleworm found out the falafel shop owner’s view on the Holocaust, he probably holds his Klan meetings there.

        10. Kerandria
          Kerandria December 5, 2012 at 1:06 am |

          Our choices don’t exist in a vacuum, noodle. While we can’t help that some of our income will inevitably be given to corporations/political entities that actively oppress all forms of life on Earth, it is possible to make an impact with your discretionary spending. Voting with your wallet is one of the most powerful forms of direct action we can take against corporations/groups/small business that actively engage in oppression.

        11. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 5, 2012 at 2:28 am |

          At one point, in your estimation, do people deserve to be “judged”?

          I aim to be no-ones judge. I only attempt to treat others how I feel they treat me in my opinion, I don’t believe in good or evil, only opinion and causality… but I’m a weird guy, I know.

          … or as I assume you would say EG, wrong, (if not delusional or at the very least misguided), but we shall have to agree to disagree ;)

          You are confusing it with Matthew 7.1

          I’m not religious but to me that rule seems to be logically included in the golden one.

          Also, how in the flying fuck did you find out the owner thought the Holocaust didn’t happen?

          I found out in a conversation I had with him where in I asked about his country of origin.

          And the last time I was there I had 3 dolma instead of salad ;)

          Might you be in NYC?

          No, not at the moment. There are other establishments I patron from time to time in that area that are either owned or operated by people you might consider anti-Semitic or racist or sexist or whatever but sadly divulging them would reveal far to much about my habits to a publicly viewable index frequently visited by strangers, sorry :(

        12. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 9:43 am |

          I don’t want other people imposing their judgement on me so I try to make a habit out of not imposing my judgement on other people.

          The Golden Rule is to treat others as you would wish them to treat you. If I were to beat the shit out of a romantic partner (not in self-defense), I would indeed want others to judge and shun me, because that is not acceptable behavior. I have no problem with judging others.

        13. Alyson
          Alyson December 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

          So you don’t think Chris Brown’s music is actually good enough to pay for, but you’re telling us to not tell other people not to buy it? I’d understand your frustration if you were some huge fan of his, but since you’re not (and with all of your Holocaust-denying-falafel-eating), I gotta say that it seems more like you have a vested interest in making sure abusers get off scot-free.

        14. snorkellingfish
          snorkellingfish December 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

          I guess morallyI’m a golden rule kinda person. I don’t want other people imposing their judgement on me so I try to make a habit out of not imposing my judgement on other people.

          Does this strike anyone else as kind of telling? It can almost be rephrased as, “I’m not going to judge others for being abusive/anti-Semitic/racist/sexist/etc because I don’t want to be judged for being abusive/anti-Semitic/racist/sexist/etc.” If you’re not being a prejudiced dick, then you don’t need to worry about others judging you for being a prejudiced dick, do you?

        15. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

          So you don’t think Chris Brown’s music is actually good enough to pay for, but you’re telling us to not tell other people not to buy it?

          no, I stated my position only, I have no wish to influence others.

          If you’re not being a prejudiced dick, then you don’t need to worry about others judging you for being a prejudiced dick, do you?

          IMHO We all run the risk of being judged as such. Some people don’t need a reason.

        16. matlun
          matlun December 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

          Does this strike anyone else as kind of telling?

          IMO, more often it is just cowardice.

          Some level of tolerance is a good idea to be able to live in harmony in society, but at some point you need to stand up for your moral principles. Otherwise you are no better than if you do not have any.

        17. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah December 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

          I don’t know any other way to reply to @macavitykitsune’s comment about the golden rule being about peeing on people that disagree with you. So I’m putting it here.That seriously made me laugh out loud. In fact, I’m still chuckling to myself about it…hehehehehe. Love it!

        18. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 7, 2012 at 2:23 am |

          I would seriously hesitate buying food from a person who believes that the holocaust is fiction. Given the overwhelming evidence, anyone who believes that is monumentally stupid. Imagine what they are doing to your food. (This is in addition to them generally being a bigoted jerk.)

          @macavitykitsune
          I LOVE your golden rule. I am still laughing as I type this.

      2. Drahill
        Drahill December 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm |

        EG, I’m honestly curious about your argument as to spending as a way to express morality. The way I’m thinking it through, it requires a lot of burden on the spending party. Like, its pretty easy to avoid Chris Brown because his history is really well-known. But for lesser-known artists, is there some kind of responsibility before buying to try to learn about the artist to figure out if there’s something about them that I wouldn’t want to support? Its the same principle for corporations. I’m not accusing you of being inconsistent, but I’m honestly curious about how far an idea like this can extend.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

          …why not research before buying? I’m short on cash, pretty much always have been, so I always look up people on the internet before I decide whether or not I want to contribute even cents to this person’s piggybank. If I have a desperate need to read/listen/watch something by someone shitty I borrow it or acquire it through other means.

          Of course, I also support piracy as a legitimate means of protest against plagiarists in the movie and book industry, though personally I’d rather just not watch/read things by awful people – oh, by the way, since I said the P word, fuck you, James Cameron and EL James, you larcenous, maggot-ridden shitweasels – so maybe I’m just a weirdo.

        2. Kerandria
          Kerandria December 5, 2012 at 1:11 am |

          I’m +1ing all that you said, Mac.

          The other great thing about researching where your discretionary spending goes means that you can make meaningful choices about what your money is going to support. I feel extra-awesome when I know that supporting small artists and business makes a huge impact in the lives of people whom I very much want to see succeed.

        3. Drahill
          Drahill December 5, 2012 at 9:08 am |

          Mac, I think your argument makes sense in a wide context (or when the info is easily accessible). I just have trouble accepting it full stop because it largely centers the responsibility on the consumer – even when the consumer doesn’t have total access to information. In the context of music, it’s fairly easy – artists are indivuals who can be researched fairly easily. However, its far more complex in a corporate structure. Does the responsibility end at the artist, or go further? For example, if I want to buy an album from an artist signed to, I don’t know, death row records, and I don’t feel any conflict about supporting the artist, should I still not buy it because Death Row is helmed by a man with a pretty serious history of crime and abuse who would indirectly profit from my purchase?

          I’m pretty skeptical of the “voting with my dollars” angle, not because I think it’s stupid or useless, but because I think it doesn’t really define its own parameters, which I think leads to a lot of inconsistencies, It’s also got the problem of “well, how far does this go?”

        4. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 9:38 am |

          As far as you want it to. Life’s short, so I pretty much follow my gut instincts of revulsion. Sadly, this means I cannot justify buying a DVD of Road Warrior, even though it is a super-awesome movie, because the thought of giving a penny of my money to that scumbag antisemite who starred in it turns my stomach. I catch it whenever it’s on TV, though. Same goes for Polanski’s movies, though I am glad that I saw Rosemary’s Baby before I knew in detail what he did. Because it is awesome, the Yellow Wallpaper of the 1970s (Rosemary’s problem was not that she was living in a house of Satan-worshippers; Rosemary’s problem was that she was married to a controlling asshole who thought marital rape was no big deal and she need a consciousness-raising group. And similarly, I’m glad I didn’t find out about Clarence Clemons until after he was dead.

        5. Drahill
          Drahill December 5, 2012 at 10:15 am |

          EG, I can see your point. In the cases you cite, I think that it’s easy to do because, frankly, the information is so widely known. Mel Gibson, Roman Polanski, Chris Brown, etc. – it’s easy to make decisions based on bad actions when the bad acts are so publicly known. I think what I’m trying to hash out, for myself, is when the consumer has an affirmative duty to seek out knowledge to base spending decisions on. For example, before seeing a film, is there an affirmative duty to research the lead players to find out if any of them have histories that would make us not want to support them? How far does this duty extend – directors, writers, etc.

          I think it’s perfectly acceptable to make buying decisions based on person criteria – hell, I think everybody does that at some point. I’m critical of the theory that economics can be used consistently as a force for morality because it can’t really be applied consistently and it places a huge burden on the buyer, whereas more responsibility should be shifted to other parties.

        6. SlipperyWombat
          SlipperyWombat December 5, 2012 at 10:34 am |

          I’m pretty skeptical of the “voting with my dollars” angle, not because I think it’s stupid or useless, but because I think it doesn’t really define its own parameters, which I think leads to a lot of inconsistencies, It’s also got the problem of “well, how far does this go?”

          Why should ethical behavior be limited to that which is easy and obvious? That seems to be a weak-ass standard. As weak and intellectually bankrupt as the whole “I don’t judge anyone” line.

          Yes, if you want to make ethical decisions with your spending it might require you to devote some time and effort to doing so and you will likely be somewhat inconsistent.

          I can’t always be perfectly attentive and sensitive to my wife’s needs because I am not Jesus, Buddha, or Ryan Gosling. At what point does the possibility of inconsistency permit to just say “fuck it” and ignore her needs completely?

        7. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 10:36 am |

          Oh, I don’t think it can, at least not on an individual basis. It can only make political change as part of an organized mass boycott, which is why I don’t think there’s much of an affirmative duty to seek out info. But once you know the info, I do think you are making a moral decision.

        8. Drahill
          Drahill December 5, 2012 at 11:08 am |

          I’m not sure about your point regarding boycotts vs. individual action. That, to me, mostly depends upon the size of the marketplace. Sure, one person refusing to buy a Chris Brown album (or a hundred, or probably even a thousand) will impact him very little, since Brown has a huge fan base and is a a national/international artist. However, that’s only by virtue of the fact that he’s so big. The indie or smaller music scene is not immune from the same issues at all (frankly, there are plenty of small-time musicians with issues much like Brown’s). In that case, even small amounts of people refusing to buy records can make an impact. And on a moral level, why would it matter? I’d no sooner want to buy an album from an indie artist who was an unrepentant abuser than Chris Brown.

          On some level, if economic behavior is going to be driven by morality in any consistent way, purchasers are going to have to be the driving force behind it. To do that, consumers will have to seek out the information (Mac above my own comment talks about this). If economics is going to work as a moral force, then I can’t see how there is no responsibility to research. That’s what I’m trying to work out.

        9. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 11:17 am |

          I’m not sure about your point regarding boycotts vs. individual action. That, to me, mostly depends upon the size of the marketplace. Sure, one person refusing to buy a Chris Brown album (or a hundred, or probably even a thousand) will impact him very little, since Brown has a huge fan base and is a a national/international artist. However, that’s only by virtue of the fact that he’s so big. The indie or smaller music scene is not immune from the same issues at all (frankly, there are plenty of small-time musicians with issues much like Brown’s). In that case, even small amounts of people refusing to buy records can make an impact. And on a moral level, why would it matter? I’d no sooner want to buy an album from an indie artist who was an unrepentant abuser than Chris Brown.

          Well, yes, the size of the marketplace affects the power of a boycott. That’s not an argument against my point that individual economic decisions don’t make political change. That’s an aspect of it.

          And it doesn’t matter on a moral level. But you didn’t ask about that. You asked about an efficacy level–whether or not it’s a way to political change.

        10. Drahill
          Drahill December 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

          But EG, you’ve missed my point. I pointed out that your economic behavior doesn’t work on an efficiency level only because you’re chosen only to refuse to buy the products of those who operate in a huge market (thus making their bad acts easily accessible to consumers). If you chose to refuse to buy from those in much smaller markers, your choices would become far more impactful and you’d have a chance to make a far more serious impact in sales. That is why I think the argument is lacking that a consumer has no responsibility to seek out information about who they are buying from. You know about Brown’s bad acts by virtue of his market size (and thus, the amount of publicity he generates). Thus, you’ve framed it as suggesting that you have no duty to not support others with Brown’s same record or actions if they happen to not share the same size market.

        11. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

          No, I didn’t miss your point. I don’t agree with it. Yes, if something makes national news, it’s because the person in question is famous. If I’m buying music from a local band, I do actually tend to look them up on the internet and learn about them because…that’s what I do when I like music. But no, I don’t agree that I have a responsibility to go down to the hall of records or whatever and see if they’ve ever had charges filed against them, because life is too short and my time can be better spent, even on a political level, when I could definitely do something more efficacious.

          I don’t buy books written by Orson Scott Card or other writers of his ilk. That doesn’t mean I have to research the writers of every small press and can never make a spontaneous purchase again. It means that if I do that, and mention it to a friend who says, ugh, yes, interesting book, but did you see the screed on her blog about how Obama supporters are COMMUNISTS and let poor people starve, I say ah, no, I hadn’t. So much for her, then. There is a difference between ignoring information that you have and not having information.

          I really don’t get the issue here; it seems like you’re applying an all-or-nothing principle, that if you can’t do a thing as thoroughly as possible, it’s not worth doing. I have not found that to be the case in my experience.

        12. Drahill
          Drahill December 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

          EG, you seem to be making a distinction between ignoring the information you do have and information you don’t have. But my point is that if one is going to position themselves as a conscious consumer, doesn’t that imply a responsibility to seek out information? Of course, a search of the criminal records would be exhaustive (and likely futile, since many performers have stage names anyway). However, much of this info is easily available through Google or some other source.

          My point of contention is that you initially seemed to argue that “conscious consumption” is a good thing in your responses (noting that you avoid certain actors based on their views). However, you then stated that you generally won’t seek out information on which to base your decisions. To me, this seems to run counter to the idea of conscious consumption, which is a view in which a consumer takes primary responsibility to research and learn about their choices before making a decision. As to your argument that if one cannot do it all vs. doing nothing at all, I think you’re responding to an argument I did not make. Frankly, it is impossible to know the full background of every choice you make (especially in the corporate context). I was arguing that your position appears inconsistent in that you believe in conscious consumption on some level but seem to argue that consumers do not bear the dominant responsibility for getting the “conscious” part of it.

        13. shfree
          shfree December 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

          As far as not supporting the work of a particular artist that does reprehensible things, for me it isn’t because it will hurt them financially, or make a grand political point. For me, it is because I feel dirty at the thought of giving them anything. It’s just an ingrained thing, like I almost physically cannot buy anything manufactured by Nestle, my mom was so vested in the boycott during the seventies. So, I know it doesn’t harm them in the slightest, but it would hurt me to give them a damn penny.

        14. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

          I almost physically cannot buy anything manufactured by Nestle, my mom was so vested in the boycott during the seventies.

          Me too!

          However, you then stated that you generally won’t seek out information on which to base your decisions.

          No, I really didn’t say that. I said I don’t feel obligated to on every purchase, because life is short and my time can be better spent. I didn’t say that I generally wouldn’t, which implies a conscious decision not to learn things. As I said above, I do generally seek out information about things I like, because I’m a curious person.

          To me, this seems to run counter to the idea of conscious consumption, which is a view in which a consumer takes primary responsibility to research and learn about their choices before making a decision. As to your argument that if one cannot do it all vs. doing nothing at all, I think you’re responding to an argument I did not make. Frankly, it is impossible to know the full background of every choice you make (especially in the corporate context). I was arguing that your position appears inconsistent in that you believe in conscious consumption on some level but seem to argue that consumers do not bear the dominant responsibility for getting the “conscious” part of it.

          Yes, and because you see that as an inconsistency rather than an inevitable part of life and the economics of time and attention allocation, I believe I am correct in characterizing it as an all-or-nothing argument. I do believe in being as conscious a consumer as I can be while still having a reasonably pleasurable life, given my circumstances. I do not agree that this puts the primary responsibility on the consumer, because I do not think it is reasonable or just to expect individual consumers to spend large chunks of their lives doing battle with and sifting through the powerful and environment-saturating marketing/advertising industry that is dedicated to obfuscating the kind of information consumers want or need.

          I do not believe in the power of the individual consumer to change corporate or artist behavior, nor do I believe in the power of the individual consumer to somehow ferret out “the truth” without a disproportionate investment of time and effort. So why would I consider it an individual’s responsibility?

        15. Drahill
          Drahill December 7, 2012 at 11:09 am |

          I do not believe in the power of the individual consumer to change corporate or artist behavior, nor do I believe in the power of the individual consumer to somehow ferret out “the truth” without a disproportionate investment of time and effort. So why would I consider it an individual’s responsibility?

          I think you’ve jumped on this idea that somehow, the need for research is disproportionate. How so? How long does it really take to do a cursory Google search or utilize Wikipedia to see if an artist is somebody you wish to support? That’s not an exhaustive search; that’s Google. I also do it for food companies and other stuff. You’re hanging a lot of your argument on the fact that it is just really hard to research everything. Of course, research is part of conscious consumption – its the consumer voluntarily taking on the duty of buying in a way that conforms to their values. I’m a vegan, so I make a point to know what I’m buying and who I buy it from. I made a voluntary choice to conform to this particular ethical code, and yes, that comes with an investment of time and energy into knowing what I buy and from whom I buy it. If you’re going to position yourself as a feminist consumer (or anti-DV, or however you define it), you would be called on to make a similar investment of time and energy (something you see as unreasonable). You’re in essence arguing that the marketplace should become ethical – meaning, that ideally, there would be no place in the market for somebody like Chris Brown. And ideally, of course that it true. However, the market is sensitive only to consumer behavior (and in a very large market, large-scaled consumer behavior). So most likely, there will always be Chris Brown (or somebody like him). However, that’s the macro level only. You are talking about the micro-level on which you base your buying power only on personal decisions – which is an entirely sound decision. However, you seem to arguing that the marketplace should volunatraily provide you with all the information you need to make your ethical buying decisions. I am arguing that the market will do no such thing due to its desire to sell. Thus, the burden falls on you as the consumer. And the amound of research needed isn’t as burdensome as you claim.

        16. EG
          EG December 7, 2012 at 11:35 am |

          In that case, I believe I answered your question comments ago when I mentioned, more than once, that I do tend to look up musicians/authors/etc. that I like. Since you did not take this to be the answer you were seeking, I assumed you were referring to higher-level standards of research, such as would not turn up on a quick google or wiki-page search, and I have no intention of spending any time going down to City Hall and looking up records for members of local bands I like.

          And again, you are putting words in my mouth. I did not position myself as a “feminist consumer.” I said that I did not buy things from people whose actions turned my stomach. I don’t feel any great need to be World’s Most Perfect Feminist Consumer, so I’m really not worried that something nasty might sneak into my shopping bag from the woodshed. If it does, I’ll just make a note of it for the future. The world won’t end.

        17. Drahill
          Drahill December 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

          EG – I’m curious. You stated initially that you would not buy an album from Brown because of his domestic violence history and his abusive ways – so why is this not a buying in a way that comports with your professed feminist values? Would you purchase an album from an artist who was vocally anti-abortion? Misogynistic? I’d assume not. Your buying habits align with your values, with are pretty unabashedly feminist. So why resist being a feminist consumer?

          You keep coming back to the argument that you will not go to City Hall to check records on people. And if you read back up the thread, I noted that such an exercise would be expensive and overly consuming. You haven’t answered my question about why you seem so resistant to a basic cursory googling to see if this is somebody/something you want to support. That, to me, is the basic responsibility of a consumer who holds themselves out to be spending in a way that conports with their ethics. However, upthread, you stated that you generally do not do so, and take information as it comes to you, not by seeking it out. Then, you argued that you have no responsibility as a consumer to seek out information because it will not affect the marketplace in a meaningful way (although this is not really the point of ethical consumption for most people – ethical consumption is largely a matter of personal ethics, not large scale economics). So you’re arguing for ethical consumption on one hand (by stating that you refuse to watch certain actors or buy certain albums) but arguing against it on the other hand by dismissing consumer responsibility. Which to me is inconsistent.

        18. tomek
          tomek December 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

          drahill i think people can like music and film without agree with politics of creator. for example i can have like music of black flag even if harry ronalds bigot, because he have passion and put it in music. likewise on other side i can like bikini kill even if katleen o’hana hate man. because she got fire in heart. or can like film of stanley kurbick even he dooshbag because he make film with the skill.

          one can disadmire politic of art, but one can see artist have the passion or the skill. and have respect all same.

        19. EG
          EG December 8, 2012 at 1:12 am |

          So why resist being a feminist consumer?

          Because I resist the idea that “consumer” is a meaningful identity at all. I do not consider “consumer” to be an identity worth claiming.

          You keep coming back to the argument that you will not go to City Hall to check records on people. And if you read back up the thread, I noted that such an exercise would be expensive and overly consuming. You haven’t answered my question about why you seem so resistant to a basic cursory googling to see if this is somebody/something you want to support.

          As I pointed out above, I have said that this is a thing I do. I have said this more than once. I have also said that I don’t feel the need to do it every single time, as that would kill any spontaneity in picking out a book at, say, a book fair. I don’t understand why you keep claiming that I’m resisting doing this, when I have said that doing it is actually something I generally do, because I enjoy learning things.

          I really don’t see the problem here. I have said that I work with the information that comes to me in the course of my daily life, and then I explained to you that my daily life includes learning about things I’m interested in. In fact, I said this in the same paragraph in which I brought up City Hall again. That very paragraph mentioned google and wiki-pages.

          Perhaps this issue is coming up because you seem to have a lot invested in your identity as a consumer, and I don’t consider it to be something worthy of identity. Therefore, complete consistency in consumerism is of great importance to you, whereas I have found, particularly as I have gotten older, that minor inconsistency is generally a part of life and nothing to to get too exercised about unless there are significant knock-on effects.

    2. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm |

      Obvious troll is obvious.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 5, 2012 at 2:34 am |

      You know, I’ve been reading this thread, and on second thought, no, you didn’t deserve the calm response I gave you earlier.

      Because, let me get this straight:

      Chris Brown beats the shit out of a woman, has an entire industry shower him with accolades despite it, suffers no real consequences, shows no real remorse. Your response: “Meh, art has nothing to do with economics.”

      EG says she won’t spend her own hard-earned cash to buy one particular guy’s music because she doesn’t like him. Your response: “UR DEMOLISHIN HIS LAIF HDU MOB RULE FASCISM MAYHEM LYNCHING ELEVENTY”

      Personally, I think you should spend at least three hours in the Corner Of Thinking About What You’ve Done before you have the brass fucking nerve to come in here and lecture anyone about morality.

      1. noodleworm
        noodleworm December 5, 2012 at 4:33 am |

        Chris Brown beats the shit out of a woman, has an entire industry shower him with accolades despite it, suffers no real consequences, shows no real remorse. Your response: “Meh, art has nothing to do with economics.”

        No, I said I would not judge him

        EG says she won’t spend her own hard-earned cash to buy one particular guy’s music because she doesn’t like him. Your response: “UR DEMOLISHIN HIS LAIF HDU MOB RULE FASCISM MAYHEM LYNCHING ELEVENTY”

        no, I asked her where she thinks the line between mob rule and her opinion is, and she answered (thank you EG).

        Personally, I think you should spend at least three hours in the Corner Of Thinking About What You’ve Done before you have the brass fucking nerve to come in here and lecture anyone about morality.

        I didn’t lecture anybody about morality, I explained mine. It is only mine

        1. SamBarge
          SamBarge December 5, 2012 at 7:50 am |

          I didn’t lecture anybody about morality, I explained mine. It is only mine.

          Actually, your original post definitely implied that there was something wrong with people who refused to support an artist because they disagreed with or didn’t approve of the artist’s lifestyle/choices. When you start a sentence with ‘am I the only one who…’ the implication is clear; you meant us to infer that there is something wrong with judging people for their actions and beliefs and allowing that judgment to affect our decision on whether or not to support a particular artist or falafel-seller.

          Basically, you were positing that we should divorce morality from decisions we make – as if that’s even possible for non-sociopaths?!

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

          No, I said I would not judge him

          Yes, and you explicitly stated that was the moral thing to do. Well, sweetcheeks, we’re not all Christians, and some of us have religions that actually allow you to go “yeah no you’re an asshat” without feeling guilty about it. I know, the horror.

          no, I asked her where she thinks the line between mob rule and her opinion is

          And the fact that you think that we’re all too naive to notice that that’s drawing a direct comparison is frankly galling. I mean. Where’s the line between your post and the systemic murder of elephants? Because elephants are murdered, and you posted. (See how those are connected?)

          I didn’t lecture anybody about morality, I explained mine. It is only mine

          What SamBarge said. Also, no, this is not the place to talk about your goddamned morality that makes it so very virtuous of you to not judge him.

          And what’s wrong with judging someone? I judge everybody all the goddamn time, and you know, I actually don’t beat my wife bloody, or destroy others’ property for asking me questions, or go on misogynistic rants on the internet, so I’m not actually worried about being judged in turn. What are you so worried about, I wonder?

        3. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm |

          When you start a sentence with ‘am I the only one who…’ the implication is clear; you meant us to infer that there is something wrong with judging people

          you misunderstand, I was literally asking if there are any others here who believe as I do, not implying there is something wrong with not doing so.

        4. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah December 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

          Every once and awhile I think that I’m going to try to be less judgmental of others…and then I change my mind, b/c that’s boring. There ARE things I choose not to judge about, like whether someone decides to have kids, whether they decide to stay pregnant, whether someone decides to have major surgery, the decision to eat meat or not, etc. But, there are LOTS of things that I do judge. Like partner abuse. That is one of the things I judge. I think its pretentious and irritating when people say “they don’t judge” because its a lie. Whatevs. Suuuuuuure you don’t judge. Just like you probably ‘never’ gossip. Pbbbt. Right.

        5. noodleworm
          noodleworm December 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

          I think its pretentious and irritating when people say “they don’t judge”

          I aim to be no-ones judge.

      2. Beatrice
        Beatrice December 5, 2012 at 5:46 am |

        Agreed. It’s highly doubtful that a person who tries to compare saying that people should think twice about buying music from a woman beater with mob rule is arguing in good faith.

      3. Henry
        Henry December 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

        Boycott to your heart’s content as far as I am concerned. But the list is going to be long indeed. We’ve got R. Kelley, Sean Penn, Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Roman Polanski, Naomi Campbell, Notorious BIG, Snoop Dog, Michael Jackson etc. all guilty of one or more crimes, some more vile than others on the vileness scale. So where do you draw the line? Do we have to wait until they are dead to consume their works, like Vaughner? Keep in mind viewing their works in public or stating you enjoyed them also promotes their sales. Eventually Chris Brown will join the list of assholes we no longer are mad at enough to actually boycott and people will say he’s a bad person, but a good singer….

        1. rox
          rox December 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

          It’s interesting to me how many seemingly male named commenters seem to be in favor of business as usual after a man is accused of sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence toward a woman.

          Just, interesting.
          Nothing to see here, just your average male celebrity doing what we expect them to women. Hey, it wasn’t very NICE of him to beat the shit out of his girlfriend, but, what celebrity hasn’t sexually assaulted someone or beat someone? I mean boycotting that type of behavior would basically be alienating almost all business because we’re talking about basically all men. So, jeeze, let’s just all accept it and move on and not be all mean and attempting to be ethical and stuff. Cuz that’s Silly. I mean, it’s not like it hurts rape victims/assault victims that society in general takes this passive/celebratory attitude toward sexual abusers and violent celebrities?

          I mean… right ladies?

          Says the menz to the ladiez.

        2. rox
          rox December 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

          Oops, I usually try to restrain the sarcastic exaggerated restating of opinions I disagree with.

          Plainly and less rudly– I truly believe that if more people refused to support celebrities (or people in their lives) behaving this way and continuing their careers and social lives unchecked that it would actually make a real impact in people’s lives. So I prefer that perspective personally.

          I actually like the idea of redemtion, but I think there should be a proce ss and that process needs to actually involve reflectingon what was going on, on the beliefs and subcultures and trends that uphold such behaviors, on any mental health issues or family history issues that lead to the behaviors, and actual meaningful and consitant change. I think that seeing a dent in your professional and social life SHOULD BE a consequence of beating the shit out of people or otherwise assaulting/abusing people and the process for gaining entry back to social circles/society should not be easy or assumed. It takes work and not everyone WILL accept you again. That is how committing violent crimes should be.

          But yes I see grays in it as well, I just don’t think it’s so grey that it’s a silly and impossible idea to expect people to take a stand against supporting violent abusers.

        3. rox
          rox December 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |

          My opinion may be tainted from showing up at a party and having to watch the guy who raped me perform with his band! Joy! But hey, what’s a little rape, we can’t expect people to boycott his music or anything. That would be silly.

          After all, he’s rather friendly and it’s good music. Supposedly, I didn’t really hear it because I was busy trying not to vomit.

          It literally makes me feel sick that hundreds (thousands?) of people jam to his music. Of course they don’t have any way of knowing what happened, but knowing that evenif these people knew they would still support his music? Yes, that does effect me.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong December 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

          What was the crime? I’m a lot quicker to forgive someone selling drugs than I am to forgive someone committing a violent crime.

          You know, I hear this a lot, and frankly I’m a little tired of it. I support legalization and I’m achingly aware of the effects of our totally-fucked-up drug laws on communities (especially, though not limited to, black communities), but selling or buying drugs is not a nonviolent act when you’re feeding money into murderous criminal enterprises that torture and kill thousands and destabilize entire countries. That the same people can say they want to avoid sweatshop goods because they don’t want to encourage hurting workers, and then claim using drugs is a victimless crime, is mind-boggling. I have no deep moral problem with smoking pot (for example), but I do have a huge problem with funding the Gulf cartel (again, for example).

          Sorry for the derail, but American liberals have gotten really practiced at erasing the effects of the drug trade outside our borders.

        5. EG
          EG December 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

          Keep in mind viewing their works in public or stating you enjoyed them also promotes their sales.

          “Roman Polanski is a great movie-maker. It’s a shame he’s also a child-rapist who should be shot through the head.”

          Yep, I can see how that would impel anyone I was speaking with to go out and buy copies of his films straightaway.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

          You know, I’m always incredibly disgusted by people who say things like “if you boycott rapists, YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO HAVE CULTURE AGAIN”. It’s like they think everyone, absolutely everyone, is a rapist or a rapist waiting to happen.

          Which, interestingly enough, is apparently a widespread belief among actual rapists. Now, I’m not saying you’re a rapist yourself, I don’t know you from Adam; I’m saying you might wanna look at the logical end of your statement and what it says about you that you think everyone’s a rapist or abuser. If absolutely everyone in the industry is a rapist or abuser, what the fuck are you doing supporting that industry at all? Hm? I suppose it makes you feel better, saying that everyone’s an abuser because it lets you feel less guilty about supporting abusers. Unfortunately, that isn’t the truth. I hope that haunts you at night.

          …I haven’t actually bought anything with any of the people you mention, ever, by the way. It’s fascinating how little quality TV or music I’m missing out on in the process.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

          rox, just wanted to say I love your sarcastic restating of things.

        8. Pseudonym
          Pseudonym December 11, 2012 at 9:07 am |

          It’s interesting to me how many seemingly male named commenters seem to be in favor of business as usual after a man is accused of sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence toward a woman.

          Fuck that shit. I’m against sexual violence (or, indeed, violence of any form) despite my ambiguous nominal gender. I still have a smoldering sense of unease towards Jackson Browne for alleged domestic violence despite my love of his music. I’m just wondering about who the hell this “Vaughner” fellow is supposed to be. Were you trying to refer to Wagner?

  8. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm |

    “I would never attack a survivor for forgiveness, that’s part of her healing process,” she says.

    This, I don’t get. Was this somehow specific to Rihanna? My healing process has never involved forgiveness.

    This is kind of important to me, because I REALLY believe it’s important not to judge Rihanna (or any abuse victim) for handling her shit however she needs to handle her shit (while hoping she dates someone who treats her better, as I do for all abuse victims). Unless this is something specific to her case that I’m missing, I think this “she needs to forgive him” stuff puts the onus on her to be the “bigger person” which is such bullshit – she’s already the bigger person for not beating the fuck out of him. If she’s forgiving him, fine. If she feels the need to forgive him to move on, fine. But also fine: not forgiving him. Fuck that guy.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 5, 2012 at 12:01 am |

      I read it as “part of her individual healing process”, but maybe I’m just being optimistic. No one ‘needs’ to forgive, but no one should get shit for doing so.

      Though as one poster mentioned earlier, I think it might be useful to distinguish Rihanna the person from Rihanna the public figure. Rihanna the person’s forgiveness is her prerogative and all well and good, but Rihanna the public figure and the media portrayal of her ‘getting back together’ with Chris Brown (which I for one don’t really buy) is problematic. Can we distinguish one from the other in a meaningful way? I’m not sure.

      …But I still switch stations every time a Chris Brown song comes on the radio.

      1. White Rabbit
        White Rabbit December 5, 2012 at 2:23 am |

        @Kasabian FWIW, I also interpreted it this way. That said…

        @PrettyAmiable I’m with you 100% about not enforcing the idea of “forgiveness” with survivors. I’ve run into that both in my personal life and in forums discussing DV, and it’s maddening. The choice to forgive or not forgive is highly personal, and while I think discussing it as an abstract concept is fine, a survivor’s ultimate decision with regard to this should be respected.

      2. SunlessNick
        SunlessNick December 7, 2012 at 11:08 am |

        I think it might be useful to distinguish Rihanna the person from Rihanna the public figure. Rihanna the person’s forgiveness is her prerogative and all well and good, but Rihanna the public figure and the media portrayal of her ‘getting back together’ with Chris Brown (which I for one don’t really buy) is problematic.

        For one thing, she’s likely to be under enormous professional pressure to act out the part of forgiving him as part and parcel of this:

        [The] music industry and the popular media … glossing over his offenses and promoting his career, even as he has never fully apologized, doesn’t seem to be particularly sorry, and continues to go on rage-sprees.

    2. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 5, 2012 at 5:52 am |

      I was a bit bothered by that part too, but decided to give the author some benefit of the doubt and read the sentence in the way Kasabian and White Rabbit did.

      I hate how, when it comes to victims of rape or domestic violence, the concept of forgiveness as part of healing is often heavily emphasized as necessary.

    3. matlun
      matlun December 5, 2012 at 7:21 am |

      I REALLY believe it’s important not to judge Rihanna (or any abuse victim) for handling her shit however she needs to handle her shit

      I don’t know. I do not know enough about Rihanna’s specific situation, but saying that we can not in general judge any abuse victim? That does not work for me.

      I have in the past judged the decision of a DV victim to go back to her abuser as stupid and irresponsible, and it is a judgment I still believe to be correct in that case. (In fact, today she agrees with this – she left that situation later)

      That was a problem I had with the OP also. Ie

      Criticizing her sends a message to abuse victims that being abused is their fault, and that they’ll be blamed for making “bad decisions” if they go back to an abuser.

      In many cases it is indeed a very bad decision. And sometimes it is worthy of blame – especially if there are children involved.

      1. White Rabbit
        White Rabbit December 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

        While you mean well, openly judging a loved one while s/he is in the midst of DV can do more harm than good.

        I’m going to keep this simple and reply with a link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s webpage that outlines how to help a loved one who is experiencing DV:

        http://www.thehotline.org/get-educated/how-can-i-help-a-friend-or-family-member-who-is-being-abused/

        Here’s an excerpt:

        Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. He or she may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize his or her decisions or try to guilt them. He or she will need your support even more during those times.”

        1. matlun
          matlun December 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

          Yes. I am aware of that – now. In fact, I and the rest of the family failed pretty badly at helping her, and managed to alienate her instead. It finally ended well, but I do not really know if I helped or harmed her overall. Not my proudest hour.

          Still, I see that as more of a pragmatic decision of how you should relate to the person to be able to successfully help them. Ie give them space and try to “softly” support them rather than trying to force their decision.

          Because personally I would not be mentally able not to judge those decisions, and for me claiming otherwise would just be dishonest.

    4. SamBarge
      SamBarge December 5, 2012 at 8:00 am |

      Chalk me up as a non-forgiver as well. I’m not a bitter old husk of a woman, but I don’t see where I have to forigve someone for something terrible they’ve done to me. I can move along with my life but I don’t have to forgive.

      You know that thing Elie Weisel said about the Holocaust: “Forgive, but never forget.” That makes total sense in terms of the Holocaust and never forgetting the horror of genocide. But in my personal life it’s much more a case of: “Forget, but never forgive.”

    5. EG
      EG December 5, 2012 at 9:53 am |

      I agree. I don’t believe in forgiveness. Or rather, of course I believe in it, but I don’t believe that I have any obligation to forgive or that doing so is “good for me” or anything like that. There are certainly people whom I don’t forgive for what they’ve done to me or to people I love. I may love them anyway, or I may hold them in contempt, or I may hate them with all I am, but I’ve incorporated what they did into my life just the same, and I owe nobody forgiveness.

    6. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan December 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

      I like the model of forgiveness where you aren’t saying what they did was okay or you’re at all cool with it, just that you aren’t going to let their shitty actions affect your life in any way from now on. Then it’s all about your own mental health, and not about absolving them of anything. (And never forget, forgiven or not.)

      1. Alyson
        Alyson December 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

        Yeah, I have a memory condition which essentially does not allow me to forget. I can forgive…once. (For bigger things…I can forgive lots of small things, but eventually they do add up.) Emotional resonances of actions take YEARS to fade. And when you have that going on, AND you’re a rape survivor, AND you’ve been betrayed in other ways, a lot of people (some well-meaning, some absolutely not) will say shit like, “hey, you should try to forgive. They’re not so bad.” Except of course they ARE, and generally the people saying this are encouraging forgiveness in order to make their own lives easier: “oh, I don’t have to worry about dating my friend’s rapist if she FORGIVES him. Oh, we can totally sit in the same movie theater, she FORGIVES him.” It’s bullshit. The “bigger person” stuff is also bullshit; it’s not like we’re running around flinging feces at their cars. We’re (I’m) just saying “no, he’s/she’s a bad person, here’s what happened, and I do not want to be around this person.”

  9. Foxy
    Foxy December 6, 2012 at 8:31 am |

    Bill clinton is an alleged rapist he sexually assaulted number of women.But democrats have no problem with him

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve December 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

      Relevance?

      1. Foxy
        Foxy December 7, 2012 at 2:52 am |

        No i was thinking about different reaction to chris brown on this thread.People are calling for his boycott but they embrace clinton who committed more serious crimes

        1. EG
          EG December 7, 2012 at 8:40 am |

          If it makes you feel better, I’ve never bought anything of Clinton’s, either.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2012 at 8:59 am |

          No i was thinking about different reaction to chris brown on this thread.People are calling for his boycott but they embrace clinton who committed more serious crimes

          How is ‘democrat’ relevant? Both Chris Brown and BIll Clinton are Democrats. Brown supported Obama this year.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2012 at 9:06 am |

          No i was thinking about different reaction to chris brown on this thread.People are calling for his boycott but they embrace clinton who committed more serious crimes

          Perhaps the people embracing Clinton are from the United States, where we consider someone innocent until proven guilty. I’m not sure what country you’re from, but I, personally, would be wary of living somewhere with the rule that someone is considered guilty if they’ve been accused of something in the tabloids.

    2. Pseudonym
      Pseudonym December 11, 2012 at 9:14 am |

      Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act into law, for which he deserves a lot of praise. He also signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, for which he deserves a lot of scorn. He appears to have sexually harassed a subordinate of his while on his job, for which he deserves criticism. He also did a lot to strengthen protections for women. It’s not all black and white. He might just be a complete douchebag in his personal life but a force for good in his political life. It doesn’t make me a hypocrite to support him politically, despite his evident flaws, while opposing someone like Newt Gingrich. Political actions have real consequences that purity tests don’t account for.

  10. Friday Links, 12/7/12 « Tutus And Tiny Hats

    [...] -On hating Chris Brown. -The ambition myth: debunking a common excuse for the gender wage gap. -“Nature” takes on its gender trouble. -I love this gothic woodland engagement shoot, and this awesome hot pink- and purple-themed wedding–which includes a be-tutu-ed canine ringbearer! [...]

  11. Pseudonym
    Pseudonym December 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    I don’t particularly give a fuck about Rihanna, or at least any more than any other person. Chris Brown deserves my hate because he’s a woman-beater. He’s contributing to the cultural normalization of domestic violence. He’s celebrating it, boasting about getting away with it and not even losing the affections of his victim. If I actually cared enough to give a shit he’d undoubtedly be on my shit list.

  12. sallyjrw
    sallyjrw December 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    He’s celebrating it, boasting about getting away with it

    Source?

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