Tanner Stransky
December 15, 2009 AT 05:04 PM EST

Rihanna’s recent and continuing press tour—which has served to promote her latest album Rated R and give her a chance to talk about the situation with Chris Brown—undoubtedly had a “bare it all” vibe to it.

She’s been brutally honest about the abuse and what happened that fateful February night before the Grammys. But she’s taken that “exposure” idea rather literally with the January issue of GQ, which features her topless on both the cover (see: yowza image at left) and in an accompanying pictorial for the magazine’s January issue (where there’s even more yowza). Rated R? Indeedy.

Honestly, there’s not much left to the imagination here. While topless photo shoots are no revelation for GQ, it just adds another layer to the whole Rihanna makeover initiative. And now, we’re being beaten over the head with it, in case you didn’t know/realize: Rihanna is edgy! And sexy! And grown up! She’s going topless! She’s a hard-ened woman, dammit!

I’m totally fine with Rihanna’s decision to take it off. She’s a grown lady, she can do what she wants, and there’s a certain “I am woman, hear me roar!” vibe to this. But I do think it’s interesting because of what Rihanna means to young girls, and the role model image she’s been cultivating. Through all of her press tour, she’s emerged as an advocate for women who may be going through what she did.

And now, the top comes off on the cover of a men’s magazine? I mean, I guess the two things—her speaking out against domestic abuse and taking off her clothes—are  not mutually exclusive. But it’s a sort of odd dichotomy, if you ask me.

But what do you think? Are you startled by Rihanna’s decision to bare it all on GQ? Do you think it jives with the rebrand Ri-Ri has been working on since her personal troubles earlier this year? Are you intrigued enough to pick up a copy of the magazine?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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