Shattering Silence and Stereotypes: Rihanna's Lyrical Reaction to Spectacular Violence


  • Melinda Anne Mills Castleton University



In this article, I take up the charge of exploring how the celebrity status of Rihanna allowed audiences to see her humanity, even amidst the dehumanization of her through an objectification supported by media and society.  In the wake of that 2009 incident, Rihanna was denied her privacy specific to these events, largely because of her celebrity status.  In this way, her celebrity proved a double-edged sword, exposing her as a figure provoking the public’s attention and generating cognitive dissonance.  This dissonance stemmed from the illusion that celebrities remain untouched by the harsh realities of everyday life, including intimate partner violence.   That Rihanna became “every woman” even as she remained a superstar held in tension this reality.  This tension speaks to the normalized violence that pervades this society.  Ironically, it is this very celebrity status that helped to shatter the silence of violence.

Author Biography

Melinda Anne Mills, Castleton University

Dr. Mills is Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology.  She also serves as the Coordinator of the Women's and Gender Studies Program.


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How to Cite

Mills, M. A. (2017). Shattering Silence and Stereotypes: Rihanna’s Lyrical Reaction to Spectacular Violence. Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought, 6(1).



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