Rihanna’s Controversial ‘Man Down’ Video Draws Defenders from the Media

Rihanna’s been taking plenty of heat for her new music video, in which the singer portrays a rape victim who kills her attacker. Outraged media watchdog groups have gone so far as to demand the video be banned. But media outlets remain largely unmoved by the hysteria.

BET premiered the video last week and has refused to stop airing it. The network issued a statement in response to the controversy:

BET Networks has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our content. The Rihanna “Man Down” video complied with these guidelines and was approved for air.

MTV has not yet aired the video, but noted on the MTV.com blog that their “Facebook poll asking whether the video goes too far had the “no” votes leading the “yes” votes by a margin of three-to-one.”

Says Leslie Morgan Steiner on CNN.com praises the video: “In only five minutes, Rihanna captures the complexity of being a victim.” Steiner asserts that far from being banned, the video should be required viewing.

Janell Hobson wonders at the double standard on the Ms. Magazine blog :

What does it mean for the larger public to loudly condemn a fictional scene of a rape victim grabbing her gun and pulling the trigger on her perpetrator, especially when other violent representations in media are not condemned but championed?

After watching the video myself, the only people I felt inclined to shoot were the histrionic, would-be censors. Watch below, and make up your own damn mind: