One of the hardest things about becoming an informed individual and forming new opinions is facing new convictions. It can feel so good to stand firmly on an issue and let the world know you think shooting polar bear cubs is just the worst!
But what about when that opinion needs to be reflected in your life?
What are you doing to keep the baby polar bears from getting shot?
How do your opinions manifest themselves in the way you live? This is when a conviction actually matters, and I’ll be the first to admit it can be hard to reconcile what I say with what I do.
The most current example of this deals with the controversy concerning Rihanna and Chris Brown’s ongoing relationship. Allow me to outline the nature of the conflict for those who may not be up-to-date:
R&B star Chris Brown is still serving a five-year probation for his 2009 felony assault of then-girlfriend, pop-superstar Rihanna. The police report, photos and numerous narrative accounts paint a chilling picture of what happened that night.
Rihanna left Chris, pressed charges, and was immediately launched into a “role model” position for women and domestic-abuse victims everywhere.
Chris pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to the aforementioned probation and six months’ community service (yeah, that’s all).
A restraining order kept the two at least 50 yards apart until last February, when Rihanna reduced the order to Level 1, meaning the two can have contact as long as he doesn’t “harass, annoy or molest” her. The two also began following each other on Twitter.
Today, after Chris performed at this year’s Grammys, he and Rihanna have collaborated on two remixes—“Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up the Music.” This is sending a confusing message to consumers: Are Chris and Rihanna back together, or is this simply a collaborative artist relationship?
What I’m more concerned about, though, is the scrutiny that Rihanna has received for potentially getting back with Chris. Internet trolls have accused Rihanna of being “weak” and “a terrible example to women.”
While I absolutely agree that Rihanna needs to get away from Chris, studies have shown that domestic-abuse victims may leave their abusive partners up to eight times before they can walk away for good—this can, in some cases, take up to 25 years. So maybe, Rihanna is still in the process of leaving. We really aren’t in the position to decide that for her, and each victim’s experience is different.
The most disgusting thing to me is that Chris’ decisions are not being held to the same level of harsh judgment as Rihanna’s.
People are saying, “Rihanna is supposed to be a role model, but she went back to her abuser. How dare she. What does that say to our girls?”
This is despicable.
Why do we, as a society, so quickly engage in victim-blaming, instead of holding perpetrators to the same level of scrutiny? What about the influence Chris has on young men? Why aren’t we as worried about that?
Why isn’t be being held accountable for his ability to act as a role model?
When I really allow myself to get into the thick of this, I am beside myself with anger. So much so, I’ve decided that I need to do something about it.
I’m done with Chris Brown.
I’m not going to rally the Internet troops and try to run Chris out of relevance, but on a personal level, I no longer support his career.
This decision doesn’t come as easily as it may seem. I have been a huge fan of Chris’ music for years. Fun memories with my teammates and roommates involve dancing to his songs, and his music has become a staple within my running playlists.
But the power of my convictions have overcome my desire to dance to his “sweet beats.” I’m not going to listen to or purchase his music, I’m not going to watch him perform at award shows, and if anyone asks why I’ll be sure to let them know exactly how I feel.
If Chris ever decides to come forward to honestly divulge the struggle he’s faced to rehabilitate himself (not his “image,” but himself, as a human being), takes continued responsibility for his actions, and considers the influence he possesses, maybe I’ll re-consider.
But until then, in Chris’s own words, “I flip the middle finger and the index finger follow…deuces.”