Perhaps you logged on to Instagram this morning to look at photos of babies and food and hilarious things of an irreverent nature. But perhaps you were instead greeted with a photo of Rihanna ass in a denim thong (there is such a thing). She's probably shooting her new music video, you figure, as noted from the hashtags: "#pouritupvideoshoot #whenday2becomesday3 #whenthephuckdid8amgetthere."
In my case, I took a screenshot — not because I have a burgeoning collection of celebrity nudes (I don't), but because the rule of thumb is: If Rihanna posts something sexy, there's a 50 percent chance that in an hour, it won't be there.
The last time this happened in a distinct fashion was at the end of March, when Rihanna visited a strip club and chose to Instagram photos of the nude strippers with captions like "$strip club$ and $$ bills$" (a lyric from her new song "Pour It Up" that she was shooting the video for) and "I still got mo money", perhaps referencing the fact that yes, she probably does have more money than the strippers she was watching perform. She deleted the photo and, that same night, tweeted "This is terrible", which she also deleted. Perez Hilton speculated that she could have felt bad about Instagramming the strippers, which, as far as I know, isn't allowed in most clubs, though Rihanna probably doesn't have to follow those rules. Others felt it was in reference to her on-again-off-again relationship with Chris Brown, who is usually engaging in some super adult social media drama with Rihanna and Karrueche Tran. Or she could have just thought the strippers weren't doing a very good job. The depths of her psyche are endless.
In April, Rihanna repeated this Instagram behavior, posting a headless shot of someone's chest that was removed but of course made its way online in no time at all. She later clarified that those weren't her breasts and nipple piercing, so we're left assuming that the photo is of a fan of hers who "went to #WERK" after leaving her show by the tweet that accompanied the image:
This type of Instagram behavior has prompted other celebrities like Jessie J (if you would call her that, I'm still waiting for the music industry to stop trying to make her famous) to call out the exhibitionist behavior:
Jessie J then hastily clarified in a series of tweets that she wasn't calling out Rihanna specifically, adding, "But I will openly say the amount of pictures including men and woman nude and girls and guys promoting smoking drugs on the internet these days is a lot." She continued:
"Feels like the boundries are disappearing. Its become fashionable and in my opinion its too much. Call me what you want but that’s MY opinion and I’m intitled to one."
The photo that does remain from Rihanna's long ass-filled Tuesday night paints a slightly alluring – if much less scandalous – image of the pop star's life. We can gather that she's playing (or playing with) a stripper in her new video. It sounds titillating, if you're into that sort of thing. But it's not all-together that interesting.
Rihanna understands that the value of nudity increases when you tease it. At this point, I doubt that she's just posting these photos in a spur-of-the-moment fashion, only to get yelled at by her team to take it down because she's setting a bad example/getting bad press/getting too naked. Even her own mother, who has yelled at her for doing it, hasn't managed to stop her entirely, as she explained to Elle UK in an interview that leaked a few days after she'd Instagrammed another ass shot:
"I'm not afraid of any person in this world but my mother, I'm terrified of her! She called me...and reeled me in about two naked pictures [my friend] Melissa put up on Instagram, a sneak peek from a photo book she's making about me.
She went crazy on me, I was like, embarrassed. I felt like I got my ass whipped in front of my class at school! She humbled the fuck out of me."
It's difficult to imagine that, even at her young age, Rihanna doesn't know what she's doing. Many argue that she doesn't give a fuck – something she actually proclaims in a terrible song – and that might be true. She seems to relish the female form, both hers and that of woman around her, using it as a way to demonstrate her life is exciting and rebellious. She flagrantly disregards — or at least toys with — Instagram's #2 basic term, which reads:
"You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service."
She's notably managed to do this without diluting the value of her brand and has possibly even increased it. She's not alone; supermodel Chrissy Teigan recently flouted Instagram's no-nudity rules in what appears to be a joke coupled with a bid to get attention. It's the female celebrities that do similar things and are treated as trashy that are worth looking at, usually the ones whose brands seem unsure and sketchy, like Aubrey O'Day, who basically floods the market with her half-nude body, or Annalyne McCord, who accidentally Tweeted a nip pic but wasn't very famous to begin with. For others who have an established place in whatever field of entertainment they've chosen, carefully chosen nudity only heightens excitement about them.
It's unlikely that Rihanna's going to wake up one day and say, Oh man I've got to stop Instagramming sexually graphic content, though she might; she's young enough that she's got to get a new routine eventually. I assume her current routine is something like a recipe she's made a thousand times: Snap that carefully posed pic, and upload it. Then, set the timer on the phone and wait an hour. When the timer goes off, delete. Final step: Wait for people to start paying attention.
Image via badgirlriri/Instagram