On Tuesday, pop star Ariana Grande, whose Twitter photo is a picture of her crouching while naked, tweeted a story about a rude fellow saying something crude to her boyfriend. Here is the epic tale:
went to pick up food with my boyfriend tonight and a young boy followed us to the car to tell Mac that he’s a big fan. He was loud and excited and by the time M was seated in the drivers seat he was literally almost in the car with us. I thought all of this was cute and exciting until he said “ariana is sexy as hell man I see you, I see you hitting that!!!” *pause* Hitting that? the f***? This may not seem like a big deal to some of you but I felt sick and objectified. I was also sitting right there when he said it. (?) I’ve felt really quiet and hurt since that moment. Things like happen all the time and are the kinds of moments that contribute to women’s sense of fear and inadequacy. I am not a piece of meat that a man gets to utilize for his pleasure. I’m an adult human being in a relationship with a man who treats me with love and respect. It hurts my heart that so many young people are so comfortable using these phrases and objectifying women with such ease. I felt like speaking out about this one experience tonight because I know very well that most women know the sensation of being spoken about in an uncomfortable way publicly or taken advantage of publicly by a man. We need to talk about these moments openly because they are harmful and they live on inside of us as shame. We need to share and be vocal when something makes us feel uncomfortable because if we don’t, it will just continue. We are not objects or prizes. We are QUEENS.
It sounds like this young man was pretty awful. Grande’s right that women shouldn’t be treated this way.
So she should stop treating women this way. This is an actual lyric from “Dangerous Woman”:
Don’t need permission
Made my decision to test my limits…
All girls wanna be like that
Bad girls underneath, like that
This isn’t Grande just speaking for herself. It’s Grande speaking for all women. That’s why she has an audience – she’s not just speaking about her personal experiences or personal desires, she’s making a deliberate case that women generally oppose boundaries, that they’re all “bad girls underneath,” that women generally want to waive consent.
When Grande isn’t implying that all women are bad girls, she’s participating in the pop music trope of offering herself to the world at large. Her songs aren’t about love with a particular fellow – they’re general propositions. Here’s the lyric to “Side To Side”:
I’m talkin’ to ya
See you standing over there with your body
Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
And we don’t gotta think ‘bout nothin’
Is the crude and ugly phrase “hitting that” a good deal worse than this description of a sexual relationship with no emotional connection?
And then there’s her offended boyfriend, Mac Miller. Here’s his lyric to “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty”:
Open your legs
Sexy, nasty, have no guideline
One day, four times
You don’t mind that I don’t care (pleasure, pleasure…)
And yet she’s concerned that random men objectify women? Perhaps she should ask her boyfriend about such objectification.
Grande defends her art with a flaming strawman: “seeing a lot of ‘but look how you portray yourself in videos and in your music! you’re so sexual!’…expressing sexuality in art is not an invitation for disrespect !!! just like wearing a short skirt is not asking for assault.” That obviously true. And nobody’s arguing that she had sexual harassment coming. We’re just arguing that her art degrades women by objectifying them and contributes to a culture of objectification that she rightly opposes when it’s applied to her.