We already know that Camilla Paglia jumped the shark awhile back—perhaps an entire school of sharks, while wearing a neon-pink ski hat and scream-singing Ace of Base's "I Saw The Sign." This might account for the rant before this one, which concerned how best-selling, powerful female artists Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are sexless, vapid idiots killing feminism; on the other hand, best-selling, powerful female artists Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez are nothing more than the fulfillment of Paglia's Exotic, Sassy Minorities fetish. (Paglia writes of J. Lo: "[She] will go down in history for a revolutionary full-page photo in a 1998 Vanity Fair where she fetchingly turned her ample, lingerie-clad buttocks to the camera." And not for any other reason.)
A few days ago Paglia covered the Sunday Times Magazine with a piece that compares the similarities of the late Princess Diana and Rihanna's "ravishingly seductive flirtation(s) with the press," using each photo opportunity to convey "allure, defiance or revenge." She praises Rihanna's Instagram shots for their "genuinely artistic atmospheric eroticism," comparing this image of Princess Diana outside the Taj Mahal alone with shots of Rihanna on her balcony in Barbados.
Haha, OKAY, so here's the problem.
Paglia added that both women were victims of a "festering romantic triangle and had transformed themselves from 'sensitive, wounded, but appealingly bubbly and good-natured provincial girls' into 'living sculptures for the lens.'"
This echoes a previous nugget of absolute crazyfood in her Perry/Swift piece: "Urban rappers' notorious sexism seems to have made black female performers stronger and more defiant." Once again, she imbues the men involved in these women's' lives as some kind of weird Ultimate Source of Power that zaps their talent into them.
So women can basically only be strong or interesting (in a way that Paglia approves of, I mean!) when they're being oppressed or abused. Sure, it's impossible to listen to Rihanna's "Stay" without putting it in context, but to infer that her ability to ensnare her millions of fans owes itself to fucking Chris Brown, of all people... I mean, shudder.
'Rihanna is the new Diana': Provocative claim by feminist writer Camille Paglia' [ONTD]
Double Take [Sunday Times of London]