When we were discussing the different types of feminism in class, I found it very interesting that two feminists, for example one Radical Feminist and one Sex Positive Feminist, could have completely opposing views on a topic. The first controversial thing that came to mind was Rihanna's song S&M. In case you didn't know, S&M stands for Sadomasochism, a fetish involving violence and submission. According to Wikipedia, "Sadomasochism broadly refers to the receiving of pleasure—often sexual—from acts involving the infliction or reception of pain or humiliation."
Some lyrics from the song are "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me." Rihanna was quoted here commenting on the song, saying, "I like to take charge, but I love to be submissive," she says. "Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun. You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge. That's sexy to me." Would Radical Feminists like these words? Would Sex Positive Feminists even like this, or is this too degrading even for them?
I feel like while this song may be trying to sexually liberate females, in that they can choose to do whatever they want, Rihanna is truly perpetuating gender stereotypes in this song (and even in the things she says in real life). The fact that she wants to be submissive to a man, wants to have somebody "be macho" and that the idea of all that actually sexually excites her, is so typically female that all feminists would probably shudder in disgust. But then again, it is liberating in a way, for a woman to know what she wants and be able to get it, even if it may seem like a form of degradation.
Does this song perpetuate gender stereotypes, or is Rihanna making a feminist statement? What would feminists say about this song, and would different types of feminists have different opinions?