Rihanna's latest video for her song "S&M" hasn't even been out for a week, and it's already stirring up a controversy. Due to the sexual nature of the video and its subject, "S&M" has been banned in 11 countries, restricted on YouTube (it's only available if you log-in with an account that proves you're over 18), and pulled from play on some radio-stations until after 7pm. Some radio stations have even changed the name from "S&M" to "Come On."
But seriously, come on! While some critics and fans are outraged by her sexual lyrics and fetish-filled video, I can't help but wonder where the boundaries of entertainment actually stand.
Women are seen as sexual beings, but when they express that sexuality in any way that would make someone uncomfortable, it's not okay. Even recently, the indie film Blue Valentine with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling came under fire for the scene where Ryan's character performs oral sex on Michelle. We live in a world where it's OK to fellate a man in a movie, but it's not accepted for a woman to receive cunnilingus. Although the NC-17 rating was eventually dropped (thanks to Ryan Gosling fighting for it in the press), it shows that double standards still exist in movies and in music. This isn't 1950!
Rihanna's "S&M" video plays with two concepts: Rihanna's public/private life being slung through the mud (thanks to the press) and Rihanna exploring her playful, sexual side that is turned on by sadomasochism (also known as S&M). Scenes include members of the press with ball-gags in their mouth, Rihanna walking celebrity blogger Perez Hilton on a leash, Rihanna wearing latex while holding a riding crop, and a Japanese bondage scene where Rihanna is tied up. It's a fluffy world of pop art - sexually inspired. The video is colorful and jam-packed with jaw-dropping entertainment.