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Why are Brittany Renner's tears Offensive?

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Written by   89
4 months ago

Internet personality Brittany Renner got on Instagram and cried. And she was ridiculed for it. The self-ascribed "mad, mouthy, majestic" woman, with the cheeky humor of Geoffrey Chaucer's Wife of Bath, threw a defiant middle finger up to society's norms and expectations of the female model, and then turned around, gave us a glimpse of her vulnerable side- a side many refused to believe she had- and we didn't care for it.

Screenshot of Instagram comment

In the video, Renner pursued the theme of forgiveness, of picking up the pieces and moving on from pain, even in situations where you feel you've been wronged but haven't received an apology.

"I choose forgiveness," she said. "Because I don't want to keep looping in the same story. That story, like the stories that we tell ourselves about our lives, are the same stories that keep us captive. The things that happened to us shape us, without a doubt, but they don't define us."

Image Source: Unsplash

It was a beautiful message- relatable even, if one could get past the analogy and preconceived notions about the messenger and zoom in on the message instead. This, unfortunately, is sometimes the most difficult feat for many of us to perform.

Renner, unfortunately, is not a dainty, demure damsel. Over the years, from the publication of her tell all book, Judge This Cover, where she threw open the curtains and gave the world a front seat view of her bedroom, pole and all, and causing many to scramble to clutch imaginary pearls, she did not craft the persona of someone needing societal support or sympathy to lift her up.

In fact, she reminded us instead of Chaucer's unapologetic Wife of Bath whose bold embrace of her sexuality offended the sensibilities of Middle England.

Frances Beer, in the article, The Wife of Bath: Sexuality vs Symbol, describes Chaucer's Alisoun as "lusty, crude, iconoclastic, gleefully selfish and smugly lecherous, with a bold, handsome face, ample hips and an unabashed appetite for power".

Beer goes on to state, "She is a veritable encyclopedia of medieval misogynistic stereotypes and her tactic is to attribute these qualities – lechery, vanity, greed, shrewishness, deception – to herself before anyone else has a chance. The theory, evidently, is that the best defense is a good offense; assertiveness training she does not need."

Fast forward to the 21st century and, in many respects, I would argue, so too Brittany. While I may not go so far as to use the same adjectives to describe her, I will say that the image she often strives to craft is one that is bold and unapologetic. And yet, she is human. Except as a society that prides itself on advanced thought, we are not prepared to accept that Renner does not have to stay in the box that we have painted her in or which some may argue she has painted herself in.

Today, we are unwilling players on stage in a scene where Renner unmasks our hidden prejudices, forces us to question why we still see the shadow of the La Djablesse in the female who claims sexual empowerment.

In the abstract for the paper, La Djablesse: Between Martinique, Trinidad (and Tobago) and its Pan Caribbean Dimension, published in the journal, Women, Gender, and Families of Color, writer Maica Gugolati describes the La Djablesse as a "female demon who uses her charms to kill or challenge men's machismo and misogyny; she teases men and the concept of masculinity while challenging ideas of domination using her sexuality."

I would argue that Brittany's unapologetic depiction, her embrace of her sexuality, her bold videos, tell all stories, and unabashed declarations, does the same thing. It challenges our ideas about a woman's place, or rather a lady's place in society and how she should best be depicted.

And, my friends, you may not agree with me on this, which is okay, because there's a debate that could be had about that, and people do feel passionately about this topic. But I'd say this.

Wherever you stand in the argument about how 'appropriate' Renner is or should be, it does not change the simple fact that she may offend sensibilities, but she is allowed tears. And we don't get to tell her where she should cry or how she should cry for it to be acceptable or deserving of our empathy and understanding. That's not how it works, or at least, I'd argue, that shouldn't be how it works.

Renner is allowed to regret her mistakes. She is also allowed to feel hard done by.

There is space in her to forgive herself and to forgive others.

And when we feel moved to condemn her, to crucify her on the altar of public opinion or brand her with a scarlet letter while simultaneously lauding her companions, giving them a free pass, and petitioning for their freedom, it says more about us than it does about her. And so, if you're so inclined, here are some boulders you can stone her with.

Image Source: Unsplash

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Written by   89
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Comments

Well written, I guess this article my share a lesson, ' why are Britanny tears offensive'

Is this historical let me ask?

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4 months ago

Hi, it isn't historical, but rather moreso current and trending? Brittany Renner is an internet personality who shares content on Instagram. She recently posted a video of herself crying and was ridiculed by some viewers for doing so. My position here is that she may be judged harshly because of the way she is viewed by society, and I am saying, he who is without sin...

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4 months ago

Thanks for the enlightenment

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4 months ago