Friday, June 6, 2014

Rihanna's "Nude" Dress: Artistic Expression, or Too Far?

Striking fashion statement gets social media abuzz
 by Fadzai Nova

Rihanna (26) wore a sheer Adam Selman dress studded with Swarovski crystals at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards. The transparent apparel has received mixed reviews while trending on social media for the past few days. Some say the dress was highly inappropriate, as it is a bad influence on the youth that look up to her, and some praise the singer for her boldness. Either way, she wore it, she made her statement, it is done.

It is crucial when a celebrity makes a statement like this to consider the conditions that revolve around them; Rihanna is a young, successful artist who was at the CFDA to receive a Fashion Icon award. It is imperative to remember that fashion is a form of art and uses the human body as a tool to express itself. Rihanna is an artist who is comfortable in her skin and is expressing herself to the limits that her freedom will take her- this is art.

In a perfect world women and men, young and old, who wanted to parade down the streets naked would be safe to do so. We are quick to forget our histories; African women lived comfortably bare-breasted before colonisation. Sadly, we do not live in a utopian state where any point of life can be regarded as the centre; in this world, there are expectations and hierarchies, things get messy, people crave to take ownership and set standards over another human being in the name of an unproven virtue. A person’s body is their own and they have every right to do with it as they please.

Nothing in the world was ever accomplished by playing it too safe – the successful people in history were pioneers; they transcended boundaries, dared to ask questions and challenged social norms. If these people had not had the courage and conviction to bend what we view as true and false, we would still be believing that the world is flat. The question is then, where do we draw the line? How do we, as an international society, set a standard on who gets to do what? How do we lead future generations on the right path? The answer is that there is no line to draw - we are an abundantly diverse world, with too many people to reach a consensus. Life is a trial and error type of voyage, and what we think is correct today may not be relevant a hundred years from now. Therefore, what we must do is learn to have an open mind; apart from actions that are violent, abusive or hinder another human being in a negative manner, we must learn to accept and be challenged by people who are different from us, and learn how to co-exist.

What do you think about the dress? Share your thoughts in the comments below.