Rihanna's "S&M" Video: NYC Sex-Shop Employees (Including A Former Dominatrix) Weigh In
There comes a time in a foreign country's life when it has to stand up and say, "No, Rihanna, we do not want to see you deep-throat that banana." That time was last week, when 11 countries banned the pop star's new bubblegum-colored, bondage-laden music video for her song "S&M." Supposedly, according to director Melina Matsoukas and Rihanna herself, the video is a light-hearted examination of the latter's relationship with the press -- she enjoys enduring daily paparazzi pain, because that's what gives her the pleasure of fame. As for the U.S., MTV is considering a clean edit. Meanwhile, to assess the validity of the video's so-called inappropriateness, we went directly to the source: sex shops. We asked the kind folks at Fantasy Party, Cherry Boxxx, and Tic Tac Toe what they thought of all the hullabaloo -- and Rihanna's S&M prowess.
Before we move on, the video in question:
Here are the responses from the Greenwich Village sex shops we consulted, assessing the video in terms of the ban, Rihanna's S&M abilities, and how effectively the clip relates to actual S&M culture:
Fantasy Party's Shanlin Perry
The Ban: "I was a dominatrix for 12 years, so I really want to see this. [Watches video.] She made it look really pretty, but yeah, that's a lot of S&M. It's starts off with mummification and then you've got gag balls, the latex fetish in there, you've got the fucking hog-tie fetish. Yeah, that's kind of extra for children to see."
Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "She's not a dom [short for dominatrix]. It's very pop. She was doing what all girls do in videos, except she had a little whip."
The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "It seems as if she's mad at the press, so she wants to tell them that she'll kick their ass. I don't know what the connection is, Rihanna. It's not adding up. Are you into chains or what?"
Fantasy Party's Guy Ayad
The Ban: "It's unfair. I'm very into freedom of speech, and I think adults can decide on their own what to see and what not to see. I think children should be prevented from seeing certain things. They might not be ready for it."
Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "Knowing the field and working in a sex shop, I would say a B+. It's not like I say, 'Whoa, she can do it.' She passes."
The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "I think she's just trying to describe it. It's not a deep text. It's not someone really trying to understand what it's all about. But, I mean, it's okay for a pop song."