Is Rihanna's Instagram Really That Controversial?

While most of us use Instagram to share pictures of our dogs and our breakfast food, Rihanna uses the popular photo sharing application to post racy, smoke-filled photos of herself. Often. Like, she’s kind of obsessed with it. Someone even made an Instagram based on her commenting on Instagram. That’s how popular this girl is with the site.

If this were a friend of ours, we might just shoot them a message saying something similar to, “Hey, you realize that my younger brother follows you – right?” In Rihanna’s case, she’s fully aware of her following. She has well over 11 million people who can view her photos from the comforts of their smart phone.

When asking the question of, “Is this appropriate for her young fan base?” I can see both sides. Rihanna herself has told us over and over that she doesn’t necessarily see herself as a role model.

“I don’t like to use that word because people have their own opinion on what that means to them. I can’t really say I’m a role model. I’m not perfect. I’m not trying to sell that,” she said to USA Today. “I want people to have fun but be responsible, protect themselves and be in control of your life. You can never judge people. I always made that a point. You never know what someone is going through.”

Plus, she’s a young and beautiful woman who should have permission to post freely. It’s not like she’s at a stage where she doesn’t realize the impact of a photo could have – her debut album, Music Of The Sun, came out nearly a decade ago. She’s seen her fellow celebrities suffer from hacked cell phones (remember Scarlett Johansson?) and she also knows first hand that privacy is tough to achieve when you’re in the public eye. She’s taking half-clothed, alcohol-fueled pictures with the realization that people will see them.


On the other hand, she needs to realize that her impressionable female fans might think that beauty comes from lack of clothing. They may view the numerous comments and likes, and realize that similar photos are a good way to gain attention and feel attractive. While I want to believe that girls will realize that this isn’t the key to fame and success, I can’t help but remember a younger version of myself thinking that pigtails and kneesocks were the way to get boys to notice me, thanks to the debut of Britney Spears. No matter how smart we can be, we can also fall victim towards thinking that appearance changes and sexuality can immediately help us reach our short term goals. It’s all a part of growing up, to later realize that the right people like you for your character.


It should be noted that Rihanna’s pictures shouldn’t be likened to pornography. In fact, many of them are pretty artistic. And in all honesty, the human body (in all forms) should be viewed as a work of art. And while Ri seems to have complete control over what she posts, I guess it’s all really an issue with quantity.

In short, I think she’s a smart woman who is helping to self-manage her career. But Rihanna – maybe if you mixed it up a bit more, it wouldn’t really be a topic of discussion. You’re gorgeous, and you should appreciate that. Your fans appreciate you for all that you are. But if you also mix it up with a few more pictures of how you describe yourself  (which, according to your USA Today interview is “Very laid back… I love watching TV on a big old couch by myself,”) there’s no shame in documenting those moments as well. Trust me – your fans will stick around, and love the fact that they can relate.

Image Credits: BadGalRiri


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Rihanna is Controversial as Usual, Disrespects Islamic Culture and Offends Pretty Much Everyone

How to Dress Like Rihanna and Actually Pull It Off

You’re Giving Me A Migraine: Leave Rihanna Alone

  • Kim Lara

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  • Александра Вера Милинковић

    After looking through her instagram I have to say that she does look self-obsessed. She is kind of the female version of Bieber.

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  • Cari Messina

    My opinion is that if her female fans are impressionable, it’s not her issue in any way, it’s her fans’ (and in a kid’s case, their parents.) She doesn’t ‘need’ to realize any truths about beauty unless it’s simply for her own self worth, the advice as presented is still playing into the role model rhetoric the writer is trying to refute, even if it’s phrased ambivalently.

    And considering that Rihanna seems to do whatever she pleases, I assume she’d already be posting pictures of herself watching TV on the couch if that’s what she wanted to be posting. Maybe she’s not at all concerned about losing followers, but just wants for whatever reason to keep a moment like that private? (Okay, doubtful.) But maybe she’s (gasp) actually trying to fuel discussion of the topic, considering she’s posting all this debauchery to a public social media account? It may not be her master plan, but it’s a firm possibility.

    The tone of this article is all very nice and balanced, with a lot of positive and praising things to say, and I appreciate that greatly. Still, l find the core message to Rihanna a chiding one, and sorry to say it, but a little naive as well.

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