Celebrities as role models: Rihanna (& her THUG LIFE) vs. Taylor Swift

Rihanna gets a new tattoo. And it ain't pretty. Should she care that lots of kids look up to her? Haley (and Taylor Swift) think so

c/o Rihanna (via Twitter/Lockerz)

THUG LIFE? She had the words THUG LIFE tattooed on her fingers? The gun tattoo on her neck was bad enough.

I think I’m done with Rihanna.

I’d been giving her the benefit of the doubt all this time. She went through a lot with Chris Brown (they’re saying she’s back together with him, but it’s still just a rumour). And one could say she was an involuntary role model for women, a silent spokesperson for domestic violence. I don’t blame her for doing nothing for the cause. No one expected her to. But, thug life?

People often give me a hard time when I say I think celebrities are role models and that they need to take the responsibility seriously. But they are role models whether they like it or not. So someone who doesn’t take that responsibility seriously, who doesn’t use their celebrity “power” to do good in the world, is beyond disappointing. There, I said it. (And I’m kind of looking at you too, Miley Cyrus….)

You know who else thinks celebrities should take this responsibility seriously? TAYLOR SWIFT. There’s a role model for you — a super talented singer/songwriter who knows and cares that young girls are looking up to her. She’s making a difference in the world by taking her stardom for what it is and living with serious purpose at just 21 years old. Here’s what she said on 60 Minutes back in November:

I definitely think about a million people when I’m getting dressed in the morning, and that’s just part of my life now. I think it’s my responsibility to know it and to be conscious of it. And it would be really easy to say, “I’m 21 now. I do what I want. You raise your kids.” But it’s not the truth of it. The truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation. So make your words count. (You can view the video here.)

Ohhhh! LOVE!

You know who else agrees with me? Kim Kardashian. Despite her scandalous past, Kim has turned things around and often points out that she’s a role model on her reality TV show (whether we like what she represents or not), and that she takes the position seriously. These days, Kim Kardashian is actually on my good list. And I realize this is a whole other blog post in itself, so take my word for it for now!

Anyway. End rant. Rihanna (23) tweeted this photo on her very hateful Twitter page, which I hope my kids never read. “Thug Life,” as you can see in the tweets is a reference to the late actor/rapper Tupac Shakur, who had the phrase tattoed on his stomach.

It’s one thing to have “thug life” tattooed somewhere private in honour of Tupac, if she must. But tattooing it large on her hand AND sharing it with the world like that suggests she means business, and seems like a message. And she really only needed one finger to convey that message. Bygones….

It’s sad really…. And one would hope that she’s OK, you know? There’s been a lot of negative press around her lately….

Sighh, oh well. And I do love Rihanna’s voice (but would be happy if I never here “Umbrella-ella-ella-ella again!” Taylor Swift, shall we? I think this is my new favourite song:

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