Chris Brown’s new tattoo has no defense
Singer’s vile mysogynistic attitude represents a deeper social problem that shouldn’t be overlooked
I don’t pay much attention to celebrity gossip, but I wasn’t able to miss the fact that Chris Brown recently got a new tattoo. I think a large number of people who don’t generally go looking for news about the stars have heard about this, actually. For those who don’t know, the tattoo is on his neck and is of a woman’s face, half of which looks bruised and mangled. Many people see a resemblance between the tattoo and Brown’s former girlfriend Rihanna, who he beat several years ago in an event that he was fairly unapologetic for, though he denies that the image is supposed to be of her.
Of course, as with the actual beating he laid on his then girlfriend, Brown has no shortage of people coming to his defense over the matter. It’s obviously not Rihanna, they shout. And even if it is, that’s in the past, why can’t everyone just leave him alone? Can’t we just enjoy his music and move on?
Which seems to be Brown’s take on the original matter since, upon receiving an award for his music, he decided the matter of his domestic violence incident was closed. In his mind, success proves that he’s a good person, or at least that Rihanna deserved it, and people should get off his back about it.
This new tattoo serves the purpose of giving the finger to that portion of society that still thinks he’s scum, who think that maybe he should have at least tried to make his regret over the incident look real. Make no mistake, it is of Rihanna and she is battered. It’s not just a tattoo; it’s a trophy.
If this was just about Brown, then the fact that a large portion of the population is willing to overlook his vile behavior because of his music would be a sad testimony on our values, but it wouldn’t go much further than that. After all, it’s not uncommon for celebrities to do reprehensible things and then rely on their fame to see them through the fallout. But this isn’t just about Brown. It’s also about an aspect of culture that he represents.
There exists in America things known as Men’s Rights Activists. These are people, mostly men, who have devoted themselves to combatting the feminist movement on the grounds that … well, they have a lot of reasons, many of them fantastical, but mostly it’s because they feel the rights of men are being stripped away. Men are being denied rights such as the right to beat their significant others, the right to deny women access to the workplace and the right to treat women as inferior.
You may read that list and think that it’s a silly exaggeration, that I’m just trying to make a point, but you would be wrong. These are exactly the kinds of rights many of them try desperately to hold on to. Long essays have been written about how sometimes women just need to be smacked around because it’s the only way to make sure they behave better than chimps. When Curiosity landed on Mars and we got a look at the NASA control room, MRA bloggers lamented the fact that the women shown in the pictures, who, by their account, must have been either secretaries or there filling an equality quota (because women aren’t smart enough to be engineers), because they were stealing glory from the men who truly deserved it.
If you’re really curious about exploring this underbelly of anti-feminist thought, then the site Man Boobz does a good job of chronicling the stupidity.
The point, however, is that these groups view attempts to put women on an equal social level with men as messing with the natural order. They use the phrase “politically correct” as though it’s insulting that they might have to curb their language to keep from denigrating a fellow human being. Why should they have to change their ways to appease the rest of society?
In the case of Chris Brown, though, he didn’t have to change his ways. He gave a lukewarm apology and then became indignant when anyone broached the subject, like somehow he was the victim. Now he has a momento inked onto his neck. And, so far, he’s gotten away with it, which makes him a god in the eyes of the MRAs. Here’s a man who didn’t cave into any of the PC bullshit, and still has wealth, fame and a legion of followers. He’s living proof that you can beat a woman and convince society to look the other way, and that’s the Holy Grail for people who are fighting tooth and nail against the notion of gender equality.
When we make excuses for Brown, when we choose to turn a blind eye to his obvious misogyny, we give the rest of the anti-feminist cretins power. It’s hard to give the cold shoulder to someone you find legitimately talented, but talent can’t be used to excuse vile behavior. The man is scum, and he should be treated as such.