November 4th, 2009
12:14 PM ET
Glamour magazine has just revealed it is naming Rihanna a “Woman of the Year.” She is being honored alongside the likes of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou.
Glamour says it is giving Rihanna this award because, in Glamour's November issue, Rihanna talks openly for the first time about domestic violence. Rihanna tells Glamour, “Domestic violence is a great big secret. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women… to help speak for them.” As is a sad fact by now, Rihanna was brutally beaten by ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown in February, right before the Grammy Awards.
I, along with many other women, have been waiting for the moment when Rihanna would publicly discuss her personal tragedy. Whether she likes it or not, she is a role model to the young women who buy her albums and emulate her style. Her silence for the last 8 months is a decision I respect – it is her business. But the fact is, that silence has sent a mixed message to her young female fans about domestic violence.
Rihanna should be commended for finally speaking out about domestic violence. I imagine it took a lot of courage for her to discuss such a personal tragedy so publicly. But that doesn’t qualify her to be honored in Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year” issue. Yes, it’s a good first step that Rihanna is finally ready to come forward and talk about her experience on that terrible night in February. Yes, Rihanna has every right to talk about this experience in her own due time and in her own way. We’re all ready to support her in this endeavor. But that doesn’t make Rihanna a prime candidate to be celebrated in Glamour Magazine with Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama.
Let’s see how Rihanna grows into this role and how she reaches out to these young women she speaks of. Let’s support her as she continues to speak out about domestic violence. But celebrating Rihanna simply because she has spoken out for the first time about this incident does not make her a “Woman of the Year.”
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