TLC Criticizes Rihanna for Her Constant Nudity & It Reeks of Slut-Shaming

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains nudity.) Rihanna speaks onstage at the 2014 CFDA fashion awards at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on June 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Source: D Dipasupil/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

I never thought I would get to see a TLC and Rihanna feud in my lifetime, but apparently it's happening. At least, that's how people are framing it. Rihanna is like a spiritual successor to bands like TLC that helped pave the way for both girl groups and black female artists, so when TLC decided to make a comeback it was pretty much a given they'd be asked about other similar performers. As it turns out, T-Boz and Chilli aren't huge Rihanna fans, but their reasons aren't the ones you'd think. Apparently, TLC disapproves of Rihanna's constant nudity, of all things.

"Every time I see you, you don't have to be naked," said T-Boz in an interview with Live @ Sunrise Australia. "It's hard for us to say anything because any time we do, they say, 'Oh, TLC must be jealous,' but it is what it is. I call a spade a spade. We became the biggest selling girl group with our clothes on, and that says a lot. It's easy to sell sex. We could go around with booby cakes all day long."

First of all, booby cakes? I'm not sure if that sounds like a delicious Hostess pastry or just a gross description of a flat souffle. Either way, it's immediately going to become a party of my daily vocabulary. Second of all, is that really your main beef with Rihanna? She's far from the first artist to pose with little to no clothes on and she won't be the last, so how is that even a point of focus? Even worse, it's not as though her nudity is pointless — at least, not at the moment. Say what you want about Scout Willis and Rihanna's #FreeTheNipple campaign, but it's a commentary on society's double standards when it comes to male and female nudity.

The fact that TLC further defends themselves by claiming that they became the biggest selling girl group with their clothes on is just the icing on the cake. There are several of their own music videos that would disprove that claim in an instant, most memorably the infamous "Red Light Special."

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Naturally, Rihanna has taken it upon herself to fight back and highlight their hypocrisy in her usual way. She has changed her twitter wallpaper to a picture of TLC posing topless and then commenced tweeting up a storm, all without naming any names of course. It's not exactly a full-fledged celebrity feud — or, rather, it's not until TLC responds to Rihanna's tweets — but it's enough for people to pause and closely examine both sides of the issue.

And, you know, look at a bunch of pictures of Rihanna wearing clothes in stark contrast to TLC in her current wallpaper. Because that was Rihanna's totally mature point.

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/rihanna/statuses/474790775696289792]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/rihanna/statuses/474795774652334080]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/rihanna/statuses/474852889458794496]

Don't get me wrong. It's not as though TLC isn't right. It's a sad fact of Hollywood that women are commodified for their bodies to the point where being "sexy" and showing off your body are a guaranteed way to get attention. Look at all of the controversy that surrounded Miley Cyrus when her hypersexual VMA performance made her a superstar, all based entirely on the negative buzz and frequent cries of, "Lawd, save the childrens!" Sex definitely sells and TLC was right to point out to people that it doesn't have to be that way.

However, using Rihanna as the basis for their platform was where they made their misstep. Rihanna has based her whole career around doing whatever she wants, reminding people many times that she is not here to be a role model to anyone, and she owns her sexuality. It has never owned her. Rihanna is as confident in her body as Beyoncé is and she's always given the impression that she shows it off because it makes her feel good. That is her right as a woman.

Would I personally love it if Rihanna actually started wearing clothes? Of course I would. Do I presume to dictate to her what she can and cannot do with her body? No, I don't and neither should anyone else. Next time TLC wants to make a point about selling sex, they should stick to using themselves as a basis instead of pointing fingers at sexually liberated stars. We all know Rihanna could succeed with all of her clothes on. Apparently, she just doesn't see why the two have to be mutually exclusive.


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