“Where Them Bloggers At?”: Reflections on Rihanna, Accountability, and Survivor Subjectivity

Social Justice 37 (4):101-124 (2012)
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Abstract
Two weeks after reports came to light that singer Chris Brown had physically assaulted and abandoned his girlfriend, famous Barbadian pop star Rihanna, the celebrity blog TMZ released a close-up photo of Rihanna’s face taken by the Los Angeles Police Department the night she was beaten. The news and the photo sparked fierce online debates about domestic violence and culpability. The locus of accountability in many of these debates seemed to circle back to Rihanna, rather than land squarely on Chris Brown. The question repeatedly raised was, as a survivor of domestic violence, what did Rihanna owe to others? This paper explores several of these online debates, engages the question of survivor accountability, and discusses how Internet-based discourse can act as a temperature read for our unspoken, but very present expectations of survivors of domestic violence.
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