As someone who spends a lot of time online, I have recently been forced to come to the conclusion that the term “clap back”–which Urban Dictionary describes as a comeback, most likely pumped with attitude, sass and/or shade”–has been abused to the point in which it has no real meaning anymore. (Like, if Hillary Clinton, Joss Whedon, and the mayor of Austin can all clap back, what can it really mean?) In fact, the only time I can ever really see it retaining its value is when it is used in reference to Rihanna.
And, fortunately, I now have an opportunity to do that–yesterday, Rihanna clapped back to an absurdly sexist, bodyshame-y article that was written about her last week with the meme below:
Here’s some context in case you missed it when all of this was going down: Last week, a man named Chris Spagnulo (better known, perhaps, by his Twitter handle, “Chris Spags”), a blogger for Barstool Sports, wrote an article inspired by a picture of Rihanna that he saw. In it, he claimed that Rihanna, by gaining some weight, would cause him personal pain, because Rihanna would inspire every other woman in the world to gain weight, too. Understandably, it did not go over well. The piece was taken down shortly after it was published, but here’s an excerpt, courtesy of Elle, that might help you realize why, exactly, people were so mad about it:
“So you see her pushing 180 and it’s a tough world to stomach. With all the fat acceptance and ‘love me as I am’ crowd, there’s definitely a world where I could see chicks see Rihanna make some strong ‘I don’t give a f–k I just love pizza’ quote that goes viral and bam we’re in a world where all the hottest girls look like the humans in Wall-E. And just in time for summer too. A world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg loaded into one-piece bathing suits may be on the horizon now that Rihanna is traipsing around out there looking like she’s in a sumo suit. “
Yeah. Of course, Rihanna did not even really have to respond to this—the internet did that for her, first of all, and, as many people have pointed out, she may very well have been too busy having fun on her private jet or showing up unannounced to invite-only awards shows to even notice that this whole thing ever happened.
In any case, Spag Man has now been “suspended indefinitely” from his blogging position. He’s not exactly taking it well:
Breaking: My boss can’t handle getting called out in Cosmo now that he’s trying to fuck anyyone who reads Teen Vogue https://t.co/b3bHBrt4YI
— Straight Spags (@ChrisSpags) June 1, 2017
Not to shed any unnecessary tears for Spag (to be clear–I am not), but it should be noted that this probably isn’t exactly fair. That a piece of this nature was even published in the first place is indicative of a larger problematic culture at Barstool in general (the site has faced a bunch of allegations of sexism in the past), and it’s clear that Spagnulo was only suspended because Barstool began getting negative press–not because anyone who works there feels any actual remorse.
Still, if a head has to roll, it might as well be the guy who seemed so deeply wounded by the idea of a “world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg loaded into one-piece bathing suits,” right?
Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder to Barstool and the rest of the bro-blogging community that body-shaming anyone–Rihanna or not–isn’t cool. Rihanna herself, on the other hand, always will be.
What do you think of Rihanna’s response? Let us know in the comments!