Rihanna is the new Princess Diana, according to feminist Camille Paglia

Rihanna Princess Diana

This story is really bizarre, but lets just say that Camille Paglia has been losing her feminist touch over the years. A little while back, she took a swipe at Lady Gaga for not being sexy in the proper way and, instead, appearing “clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism.” Paglia then wrote a haphazard essay in which she blamed Taylor Swift and Katy Perry for the death of feminism, and in the same piece, she went on to declare that Rihanna was a wonderful, sparkling display of “authentic sizzling eroticism” and feminism. So I guess that Paglia has always had a bit of a hard on for Rihanna as “the pleasure principle incarnate.” Never mind that Rihanna is a pretty awful role model for young females after returning (time and time again) to the abusive Chris Brown.

Paglia wasn’t done with Rihanna though, and now she’s unleashed an even sketchier essay that basically says that Rihanna is the new Princess Diana. The comparisons made in this essay are absolutely absurd, but while Rihanna (with Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows in tow) was tumbling out of a nightclub in London on Saturday night (after the tragic debut of Rihanna’s fashion line), The Sunday Times was on its way to her hotel doorstep and newsstands throughout the world. The Times’ cover story? “The Princess and the Showgirl: Why Rihanna is the new Diana.” See if you can make sense of this nonsense (with reference photos here), and we’ll discuss below:


Princess Diana

Rihanna is in love with the camera, and the camera is in love with her. Not since Diana rocketed from a shy, plump kindergarten aide to a lean, mean fashion machine has there been such a ravishingly seductive flirtation with the world press.

Like Diana, Rihanna has worryingly drifted into using photo ops to send messages of allure, defiance, or revenge in a turbulent relationship with an errant partner. Rihanna, another victim of a festering romantic triangle, has bounced dizzyingly back and forth in her checkered affair with rapper Chris Brown, who was convicted of a felony in 2009 for abusing her.

Diana’s anguished helplessness and isolation inside the royal family, with its stoical code of duty, led her to gravitate toward the ever-hovering paparazzi, whose global power as a media institution increased exponentially because of her popularity… The problem is that, in this era of social media, Rihanna in her fury of tainted love has tools ready to hand that Diana never dreamed of. Instagram, for example, a photo-sharing program with a palette of special-effects filters, allows Rihanna to send personal pictures to friend and foe in the blink of an eye, without the mediation of professional photographers. It is autobiography written by a volatile mix of impulse and mood…

The speed of Rihanna’s self-documentation from dawn to dusk accelerated in the months following her reunion with Brown last October. The climax was an extraordinary holiday melodrama during which Rihanna cooled her heels in a luxury rental in Barbados. Provocative photos of Rihanna lolling in skimpy beachwear followed forth, soon followed by darker shots of a morose Rihanna pacing a balcony, for all the world like Diana pining in lonely abandonment at the Taj Mahal…. the photograph is echoed 15 years later by the shot of Rihanna on her balcony in Barbados, in turmoil over her relationship with Chris Brown.

Some of Rihanna’s candid shots, particular the fireplace photos where she poses half-nude in a fur-lined jacket, have an atmospheric eroticism that is genuinely artistic and has not been seen in decades. Pr0nography today has become hard, plasticised and stereotypical, with a boring lack of intrigue and subtext. Rihanna’s impressive visual archive demonstrates that eroticism is a function of mental projection, not bust size…

Diana and Rihanna began as sensitive, wounded, but appealingly bubbly and good-natured provincial girls who slowly discovered their own photogenic virtuosity and began to conceptualize themselves as living sculpture for the lens. Both developed a false intimacy with photographers and the public and began to cannibalize themselves in their futile search for security in love. Diana, rebuffed, eventually accepted her exile. But Rihanna, in the classic syndrome of the battered woman, still pities and hopes to change and save her abuser…

[From The Sunday Times]

Now this is only an abridged version of the entire article (which is not available online), but did anyone else walk away from this wondering what the hell Paglia was smoking when she wrote this piece? Kaiser mentioned to me that Paglia once compared Paris Hilton to Diana at one point too, and sure enough, this comparison took place in the 2009 MTV documentary, Paris, Not France, in which Paglia can be heard saying that, like Di, Paris had “the ability to enchant the still camera.” Of course, the Paris bit only makes the Rihanna-Diana comparison more hilarious.

As for Rihanna, she’s (naturally) thrilled with the comparison and immediately tweeted her happiness as such: When your face is pic-stitched to Princess Diana’s on the cover of The Sunday Times…. I mean……. Just so happens I came home drunk to this in a pile of papers outside my hotel room! My lil Bajan behind.” Then Rihanna probably passed out drunk in (what she probably sees as) a fitting tribute to her life as Diana III.

As a side note, Hollywood Life says that Chris Brown and Karreuche Tran have been love-nesting in Houston while Rihanna’s been in London. Well, obviously.


Princess Diana

Princess Diana

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN

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87 Responses to “Rihanna is the new Princess Diana, according to feminist Camille Paglia”

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  1. mel says:

    The last thing Rihanna needs is someone inflating her ego even more.

    At this point, her music has become s**t, she will never top Umbrella or even Rude Boy, she;s more known for partying and her whereabouts with CB than her work.

  2. allons-y alonso says:

    Camille Paglia truly is queen of the trolls.

  3. Soporificat says:

    I wish people would stop referring to Camille Paglia as a feminist. It’s like some lunatic declaring that they are the Pope and then everyone actually addressing them as Pope Lunatic. It gives popes a bad name, lol!

  4. lexy says:

    this woman is a nutcase. why do her stories get attention? She is clearly unhinged!

  5. dcypher1 says:

    what is paglia smoking. how dare she compare riri to princess di. blasphemy.

  6. Ann says:

    Well, Rhianna and Di are/were both attention whores but beyond that I kind see many similarities.

    • emmie_a says:

      Maybe they are/were attention whores but Diana used a lot of that attention to further her passions and her charities. Rihanna uses the attention to further her celebrity status and her love of pot. It pisses me off that they are being compared on any level. And like someone up-thread mentioned, as if Riri needs a bigger ego. please.

    • gogoGorilla says:

      Not really. Diana was a true philanthropist who used her time in the public eye to further some excellent causes. The MEDIA loved her and stalked her. She did not seek them out.

      I’m horrified that any reputable news outlet would actually publish such tripe, but clearly they’re going for the sensationalist audience.

      Ugh. Disgusting.

      • Lucrezia says:

        I agree she was hounded by the media, and that she had no control over it in the early years of her marriage. But she absolutely courted the media after her marriage broke down. Remember the famous “there were 3 of us in this marriage” interview? Or the autobiography by Andrew Morton?

        It’s also widely accepted that she used to contact tabloid editors to give them photo-ops. (BBC mentions that tidbit here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6961302.stm, and doesn’t bother to use weasel words like “alledgedly”, the just flat-out say it.)

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      Lady Gaga would have been a better pick. Think about that. LADY GAGA. Because she has actually bothered to make some efforts on behalf of others! All Rihanna does is dress inappropriately and make poor choices.

      The whole concept is bunk though. There IS no new Diana. Everyone wants Kate to do it, which is impossible. They should not have bumped off the one they had.

  7. kitkerenina says:

    Sad. The girl in the second pic, right, could have been Lilo if Lilo hadn’t imploded.

  8. V4real says:

    Either this lady was smoking some of that good shit when she wrote this or she is desperately trying to get in RIRI’s panties.

  9. Babalon says:

    Paglia is ridiculous when writing about pop culture. Absolutely absurd and irresponsible. She needs to stop.

  10. marie says:

    I’m not a fan of Paglia, at all.. and when has CB ever been a rapper?

  11. Suze says:

    Both Diana and Rhianna court (or courted) the media like mad, but the rest of the comparison falls flat to me.

    Paglia is really losing it – I think she’ll throw any drek out there in a bid for attention.

  12. I Choose Me says:

    The problem is that, in this era of social media, Rihanna in her fury of tainted love has tools ready to hand that Diana never dreamed of. Instagram, for example, a photo-sharing program with a palette of special-effects filters, allows Rihanna to send personal pictures to friend and foe in the blink of an eye, without the mediation of professional photographers. It is autobiography written by a volatile mix of impulse and mood

    Both developed a false intimacy with photographers and the public and began to cannibalize themselves in their futile search for security in love. Diana, rebuffed, eventually accepted her exile. But Rihanna, in the classic syndrome of the battered woman, still pities and hopes to change and save her abuser…

    I dunno anything about Paglia (will Google later) but she makes some interesting points in the article. She’s comparing Princess Diana and Rihanna (hey that rhymes) in terms of media exposure and how the media is/was used as a tool by both. Leaving out the fawning bits, her assessment of Rihanna is dead on. But yeah, I doubt if Rihanna even bothered to read the article, she instead focused on the comparison. A comparison that will simply feed into her narcissism even more.

    • kitkerenina says:

      Right. I see Rihanna displaying the cover only, on some shelf or wall surrounded by toddler tiaras.

    • MooHoo says:

      totally agree with you I choose Me.

    • j.eyre says:

      I am not really a fan of anyone involved in this article, save for Bedhead who wrote the post, but I agree with you on this point, @ICM. I have not read the entire article, just the the excerpt in this post, but that which you pointed out is what stood out to me as well. The assertion that Diana and Rihanna both sought solace in the press and public when their worlds collapsed and that later, they were empowered by the that seeming support enough to present an idea of who they wanted to be via those same channels, is an interesting comparison. I am not saying Diana was not a philanthropist or taking away from all the good work she did, just another viewpoint to consider.
      And in the case of Rihanna, maybe she did take the “you go girl” enthusiasm her fans gave her when she came back from the Chris Brown with her head held high and assumed a support of her “strength.” So when she went about flaunting her relationship with Chris Brown, she assumed we would all continue to see her as strong because this was the projection she thought she was putting out.
      I am not supporting any arguments here. Like @ICM, I am simply taking a minute to think on some of the points made in this article.

      • Lucrezia says:

        There’s a famous quote: “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”

        I think Diana and RiRi had/have a similar self-esteem issue. Both too caught up in pushing a certain image to actually be truly happy.

        Antoher quote (can’t remember exactly how it went), was something like “fame freezes you at what-ever emotional age you were when you first got famous”. That kind of makes sense if you accept that Di was a *very* young 20 when she got married. Both her and RiRi got trapped in that stupid high-school phase where popularity/image is the most important thing.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Yes, that part I could see…

  13. I.want.shoes says:

    I can’t believe this woman tried to convince the reader that Rihanna’s “erotic” instagram pictures are nothing like p0rnography.

  14. Micki says:

    Apparently Paglia is a great fen of Diana and the ultimate honour she can bestow is a comparison with her.
    So much that she hammers all known facts about Rihanna into “solid” parallels of Lady Di’s bio.

    Even as non-too great fen of Diana I find the comparison offensive. Diana was never trashy. Diana used her media power not only to project her own ideas of self but also for many charities and causes close to her heart. She did her best to get away from abusive ? relationship.

    I don’t see the similarity. Help?

    • bluhare says:

      You can’t see a similarity because there isn’t one.

      Camille Paglia has been making sensationalized statements for years. I think she did an article about Madonna once (and if I remember correctly, it was flattering.) I’m too lazy to google to see if I’m right.

      Is she still a professor somewhere? That’s why people took her seriously to start with.

  15. Eye Roller says:

    Can people stop feeding Rihanna’s (inexplicable) inflated ego??! I think she has to be thee most annoying “celebrity” out there, yet she thinks otherwise. And does anyone else wonder what her troll BFF does? All we see is her lingering in the background or posing in pics – does she not have her own thing going on? Talk about enabler. Finally, who cares about Chris Brown and Rihanna…they are both too egotistical to realize how stupid they look to the world. Everyone, please stop praising Rihanna for all her stupid shite.

    • Jayna says:

      Rhi Rhi on twitter is annoying, but I recently watched the Oprah interview of her that was repeating, and I found her delightful. She has a great laugh and loves to laugh. Showing her in her element down home in Barbados showed you a different side to her, and she actually was insightful in many instances, which surprised me considering her delusions about Chris. She was far more interesting of an interview than Beyonce with Oprah.

      Rollingstone talked about her love of laughing and enjoying conversations with people in that way and actually appreciating their humor. After watching Oprah, I see what the interviewer was saying.

  16. spinner says:

    If you tell a big enough lie & profess it long enough & loud enough — everybody is going to believe it? This is insulting & I fear it supports another agenda that is not so apparent at first glance. I don’t know how Paglia could have even penned this with a straight face or a clear conscience.

  17. erika says:

    i’ll take betty friedan or gloria steinem any day over paglia. and it’s sacreligous to fix rihanna’s face right next to Diana’s.

    No comparison, and stop shaming P. Di in her absence. The DIFFERENCE between Di and Rih-rih-diculous are that for all of Diana’s beauty, kind touch, royalty status and tiara she still had the honesty to be real, to be herself and much of her was admittedly heartbroken, vulnerable, depressed and insecure…

    and because of her confessions of imperfection women like me, or you could relate to her. I could relate to a beautiful princess, an actual princess, because I TOO have had those thoughts of self doubt, insignificance, troubled, etc.,

    and that is why gin and weed soaked Riri will NEVER compare to Di, ohh, she’s troubled, heartbroken and vulnerable BUT she will NEVER let on to that. She puts up a veneer of strong bitch attitude but would a strong bitch allow herself to be used and physically abused OVER and OVER by a douche machine???

    I can’t relate to Rihanna like I could Di cuz that bitch is F****cked up!!!

  18. bopit says:

    whatever. i’m more intrigued by Cara’s eyebrows.

  19. Dhavynia says:

    So being beat up by your douche boyfriend, getting back with the walking disease and calling yourself a thug makes you the ideal feminist?
    Some rodel model. .

  20. MyLeNe - Montreal says:

    I’m sure Lady Di turn herself in his grave right now …

  21. Baskingshark says:

    So Princess Dihanna, then? Seriously, Camille Paglia, you should know that Waity Katie is the new Diana. And if you think otherwise, her mother will come round your house to “re-educate” you.

  22. baby says:

    Chris Brown is NOT a rapper!!! He. Is. A. Singer. JESUS.

    Edit: Not directed at you, Bedhead, but at the lady who wrote the essay that was quoted :)

  23. phlyfiremama says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…(*pauses, wipes tears away) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. In what universe again???

  24. Stuart Horsely says:

    He’s comparing Diana with a female who wears a “c-nt” necklace? Good thing I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

  25. Jayna says:

    Paglia is a creepy older woman drooling over young women. She was so creepy on Watch What Happens Live, and considering the way she was talking about the Real Housewives in a pervy manner and elevating them in social culture and praising them as strong women and that meany Tamra is her favorite is disturbing.

  26. Ella says:

    I thought it was Katgarine McPhee on the cover.

  27. DreamyK says:

    Um. NO. Princess Di was a humanitarian and philanthropist.

    Rihanna is a club partying, booze swilling, dope smoking, thug life, abuse loving narcisstic turd on the lawn of life.

  28. lylaooo says:

    this is the most stupid story of the day !! Diana must be frolicking on her grave

  29. Lisa says:

    Meh. She’s trollin’. I’m hatin’.

  30. Elceibeno says:

    It is official Camille Paglia has lost her edge and/or her mind. I completely disagree with her comparison of Princess Diana and Rihanna. Princess Diana stood up against her cheating husband and her loveless marriage. Rihanna on the other hand refuses to abandon the man who beat on her.

  31. stinky says:

    awwwwww……. i LOVE Camille.
    but its looking like im the only one.
    i really do love Camille… but this is utter nonsense, and i AM concerned. my spin is that Ms. Paglia is indeed quite brilliant. So much so that she’s loony as well. Thats so common among geniuses. seriously.
    Camille – I’m disappointed.
    you really need a hobby or something, because i think youve been sitting around watching too much tv or something.

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      Why? Why do you love her?
      This is a serious question.
      I find her vile, and have, ever since I wasted $18 of my grocery money on her stupid book about how women are valued as sex objects above all else.
      Like I needed to blow $18 on a book to tell me THAT. I could have had a decent dinner!
      And she has done nothing to improve things; she is the worst sort of apologist.
      All this article tells me is that she has figured out how to rhyme.
      I know this sounds harsh, but how exactly has anything she has ever said improved the lot of women? Most of it seems to support the status quo.

  32. vvvoid says:

    Lol, Chris Brown is not a “rapper”, Camille. He’s a dancer who sometimes sings.
    I’m glad she at least addressed Rihanna’s battered woman syndrome this time.
    I don’t like weak abstractions and dodgy comparisons like this, but I will say I agree with Camille about Rihanna’s eroticism. She’s very good at sexualizing herself perfectly. I see no real shame in that, I do hope she grows out of it though. Until then I will enjoy it because Camille was dead on when she said it’s a function of mental projection, not bust size. Rihanna is a natural. It’s obvious her sexuality is largely a result of her not feeling worthwhile as a human being independent of sex appeal, but because for her it is a very crucial defense mechanism, she wields it exquisitely, expertly.
    I think she feels like as long as she’s the sexiest thing ever, Chris won’t be able to stay away. She believes all her value to a man, to the world, resides in her sexuality and I believe she’s felt this way from a young age. But unlike the clumsy execution of Courtney Stodden, who has no real grasp of what’s actually erotic and thus mimics imagery from cut rate pornos, Rihanna has an innate understanding of true eroticism, she knows the RIGHT buttons to push when executing it.
    I know a lot of people will disagree and say she’s trashy etc., and I agree that she’s a bit trashy, but I think she pulls it off if naughty sex object is what she’s going for. It doesn’t feel forced to me, I think she has a very real love of sex and eroticism on top of a very real self-esteem issue that makes her feel like she has to rely on her sex-appeal. But at least it’s natural, at least she seems like she’d actually be a fantastic lay, whereas Stodden seems like she’d be doing her best Jenna Jameson impression the whole time in bed.
    What I’m trying to say is, Rihanna mixes SENSUALITY with her sexuality, and that’s why she’s so sexually appealing in my eyes. I do hope she learns she’s worth a lot more than that, but even if/when she realizes it, eroticism will always be a natural part of who she is, and that’s ok.

  33. Grace says:

    Wow Camile has lost her mind. She must be desperate for attention. Ri is a moronic child who uses her background in prostitution to be “famous”. She glorifies domestic abuse. She never wants to get a formal education or help other women out of their abusive situations. Anything she says about abuse is just fame-whoring.
    In no possible way can she be compared to Diana who was a wonderful mother, ambassador, and diplomat. Ri’s womb is probably too toxic to bear children.
    The only thing these two have in common are scummy men.
    Ri has never been pretty IMO but she does wear clothes well.

  34. skuddles says:

    What absolute rubbish. It makes about as much sense as saying Chris Brown is the new Mohammed Ali. Seriously time to retire Camille!

  35. Madriani's Girl says:

    What a load of horsesh*t. Diana had class, breeding, a selfless personality, and taste.

    Rihanna is a piece of garbage who got lucky with her career.

  36. TheOneAndOnlyOnly says:

    Can’t do any better than all these comments; thing is Paglia once upon a time had some interesting insights but ii’m afraid she’s just bottom feeding for attention now, as many pointed out; comparing Princess Di to half-witted riri is liking looking in a garbage can and comparing it to French cuisine.

  37. KellyinSeattle says:

    Wow; what blashphemy! I love the pic of Diana with Mother Theresa, though.

  38. sauvage says:

    “P0rnography today has become hard, plasticised and stereotypical, with a boring lack of intrigue and subtext. Rihanna’s impressive visual archive demonstrates that eroticism is a function of mental projection, not bust size…”

    Wait a minute. Since WHEN is “erotic” the same thing as “p0rnographic”? Did I miss something? When has your average p0rnography ever been anything else but “hard, plasticised and stereotypical”?

    The typical p0rnography during the f***ing Victorian Age showed women as horses to be ridden hard. Anything changed, much?

    To me, eroticism is about empowerment. It is about accepting who you are, feeling comfortable in your own skin. That is NOT the typical vibe I get from someone with battered wife syndrome.

    Rihanna is reducing herself down to being “sexy” and “wanted” as opposed to ‘being sexy is part of who I am beside a lot of other things that make me me and I don’t need to feel “wanted” to know I am worthy’.


  39. val says:

    Princess Di, is surely rolling in her grave right now. WTF??? I just can’t!

  40. J7 says:

    I am convinced that the world has officially gone to hell.

  41. WarrenL says:

    Camille Paglia is clearly out of her overheated mind. The whole Diana thing was inflated way beyond the worth of Diana herself, but Rihanna is severely overrated in just about every aspect one cares to consider. I wish she’d just vanish into obscurity, but humility isn’t part of her vocabulary so we’re probably stuck with her waving all her brown bits about on Instagram. I’ll simply settle for my young daughters totally passing her by. I don’t want them listening to Rihanna’s appallingly obscene and frankly rather stupid lyrics, and I don’t want them ever viewing her as a role model.

  42. C.Z. says:

    Rihanna says she likes the comparesion, but has she ever even HEARD of Diana before this?

  43. teehee says:

    Crock of shit. Both Rihanna and that article.