An Open Letter To Rihanna About Prom

Dear RiRi,

You may be wondering why I’m writing you this open letter, but I promise it’s for a good cause: sensitive high school girls everywhere.

Before I go further, let me quickly bow at the altar of Bad Girl RiRi. If there were ever any doubts to your general level of fierceness, you went ahead and addressed that in your 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad (further cemented by 2009’s Rated R). Consider it a point well made.

Now, I ask that you perhaps consider adding “kitten gloves” to your extensive and eclectic wardrobe. When 16-year-old Alexis Carter tweeted out a photo of herself striking a pose in her RiRi-inspired prom ensemble (a tribute to you, her idol), she felt what every high school girl deserves to feel at prom: simply ah-mazing!

Then, much to Alexis’ surprise, the photo went viral and eventually made its way to your feed. As a person in the public eye, I’m sure you’ve developed a thick skin when it comes to the harsh criticism of people who leave nasty comments on websites, but Miss Carter didn’t have that life experience yet. She’d never had the displeasure of appearing on Fashion Police or on a magazine’s “Worst Dressed” list. It was embarrassing enough that she had become the #PromBat punch line, but then you (of all people) chose to retweet those jokes and join in her cyber-ridicule. To add insult to injury, she wore a replica of your 2010 red carpet look because she was a really big fan and felt she was honoring you. But most importantly, she thought she looked really, really great—and I happen to agree with her.

Generally speaking, prom is a rite of passage for all high schoolers. And, as a girl, you spend the better part of four years obsessing about every last detail: the invitation, the date, the corsage and, of course, the outfit. It’s pretty sacred ground.

As a little girl, I used to doodle countless pictures of what my future prom dress would look like (usually a frosty-blue number reminiscent of Cinderella’s ball gown), but when May 2000 rolled around, I chose a fern-colored silk dress with orange beading and feathers. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I may have opted for a more classic silhouette, but at the time, I felt like a million bucks—and that’s sort of the point here.

At prom, every girl—regardless of the shape, color or style of dress—deserves to feel like hottest thing since sliced bread. Alexis Carter certainly did (and for the record, she did look awesome). And as women, it’s our duty to support one another.

RiRi, I’m not asking you to back down from you badassness. I’m just asking that you show a little more kindness when it comes to your fans — and your fans’ proms.