But There Are Still Legitimate Concerns
I wanted to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Riri Williams- the kickass new Iron Man who happens to be a teenaged Black girl.
First and foremost- is it me or has she gotten LIGHTER since we first saw her? THAT should be the main (and in my opinion only) controversy.
Riri was not over sexualized in the now pulled variant cover. She was in the form of a young teenage girl who felt like showing her navel. In a time when young girls are being body shamed in school and sent home for “showing too much skin” (i.e their arms, a navel in hot weather, or shorts or a skirt that don’t rest below the knee) I don’t think it sends the right message to say that there is something WRONG with the way Riri was dressed because of how someone else might over sexualize her appearance.
It doesn’t take clothes for someone to be inappropriate towards women (hello, Donald Trump anyone??). Riri’s clothes aren’t going to stop some person who wants to objectify her to… well… objectify her.
Women are assaulted every day wearing plenty more. Some less- and even then, guess what? It isn’t the woman or the girl’s fault! If a young girl wants to show her navel because of the weather- or hell- because she likes her friggin’ stomach, she should be allowed to. By pulling this cover we effectively say RiRi shouldn’t want to show her curves (because yes, girls can and often do develop curves at 15) because she’s being “sexual”. No.
Now, I’m all about saying the hell with the male gaze because I dress the way I do because it makes ME feel good. Not for “approval”. But this isn’t what this is. Yes, white artist did draw her, but it isn’t like we have not seen young girls dress similar to what Riri had on. He wasn’t pulling this from thin air. Her outfit was tame actually. It was cute and she seemed confident. Some 15 year old girls have curves like Riri had on that cover and having curves alone (and not trying to cover them or play them down) does NOT mean you’re trying to make yourself sexual. All too often Black girls who develop early are shamed to feel like they did something “wrong” by going through friggin’ puberty.
How about we focus more on teaching our boys and men that no matter what a girl or woman is wearing it is her body and it does not equate sex or free access? Riri’s outfit was fine. It’s society that needs a makeover.
What do you think about Riri’s “evolving” appearance?