Just days ago Rihanna’s brand new video & song “S&M” debuted on screens and airwaves all across the world, and before many of us saw it, YouTube slapped restrictions on it, and it’s been banned (so far) in 11 countries for it’s sexually explicit nature. In the video Rihanna is scantily clad in a variety of latex outfits, people are shown being whipped and ball gagged, and the pop star herself is also bound in a few scenes. But is the video really all that bad?
In 1995, Madonna debuted the video for her single “Human Nature”, which also had a strong visual emphasis on the S&M culture, but was more of a response to the public backlash involving her album Erotica and coffee table book Sex. Last summer, Lady Gaga debuted the video for her single “Alejandro”, which was filled with S&M references, and religious imagery. Both videos extremely sexual in nature, but neither were banned.
So why the immediate ban and negative response to Rihanna’s new release? As she stated on twitter “they watched Umbrella, I was full nude”. Clearly this isn’t the pop star’s first go at wearing little to nothing in one of her music videos, and in my opinion Rihanna’s video is a response to the harassment she often receives from paparazzi and press, not glorifying the S&M sexual lifestyle. Perhaps if critics paid closer attention to her outfit details, they would have noticed the gossip magazine headlines throughout the video, the gagged press people, and the word censor across one of her tops. This isn’t a new topic for many singers, nor a shocking one, so it’s a bit humorous that so many countries would go to great lengths to keep the single from audiences.
So watch the video for yourself and let me know what you think about it. Is it too sexual? Do you think it should be banned? Or are the masses just overreacting?