A Tux-Clad Rihanna Returns to the Red Carpet

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 5 2009 7:57 AM

A Tux-Clad Rihanna Returns to the Red Carpet

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For the first time since she was allegedly beaten by now-ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna made a public appearance last night on the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala. Her stroll down the carpet is noteworthy not just because she's been off the celebrity circuit for months, but because she chose to don a Dolce & Gabanna tuxedo. While it may be a mistake to overly scrutinize her clothing choices (or any celebrity's clothing choices, for that matter), her outfit is the way she's choosing to present herself for the first time to the public after a harrowing couple of months. Ostensibly, she is making the statement that she is powerful; that she does not need protection. However, it troubles me that she feels that she needs to dress in masculine garb to express her self-possession. It sends the tacit message that feminine equals weak, and what happened to Rihanna has nothing to do with weakness. Am I reading too far into this, or does anyone else find Rihanna's choice unsettling?

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

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