It happens so often it’s sadly predictable: every new Disney kid grows up to be a raunchy pop star.
Well, I say “raunchy.” Others might say “sexually empowered.”
But did you know that majority of explicit songs on Ariana Grande’s new album – songs that ask men to prove themselves sexually in order to date her, songs about staying with men (some verbally abusive) who cheat because it’s better than having no man at all – were written by men?
I don’t know if that’s relevant. It just seemed worth mentioning.
Because the above link comes from Wikipedia, it stands to reason that some sources may be listed incorrectly. Still, that’s an overwhelming number of male influences who, I’m going to assume, are probably older than Ariana, who is in her early twenties.
I don’t know about you, but I’m slightly creeped out by that.
Just forget, for one moment, that Ariana chooses to sing these songs. While that may be enough to satisfy the sex-positive crowd, it still disturbs me that this is part of the package of cementing the transition from Child Star to Adult Artist. And we, the listeners, may never know if it creeps Ariana out to sing this stuff, or if she ever gives it a second thought because it’s propelling her to stardom. It’s paying her bills. It’s making her an idol.
More than that, it pains me to know that there are people out there, men and women, who will say this is all perfectly fine. Feminists, too. We are declaring war on rape culture, on campuses that don’t take assaults seriously, on people who insist she ‘asked for it’ because her skirt was short and revealing, but we call material like this “empowering” simply because Ariana chooses to sing it. No one is forcing her to open her mouth for these lyrics – lyrics that romanticize verbal abuse and shitty behavior (from the song “Why Try”: “I’m loving the pain/ … Even when you’re yelling at me/I still think you’re beautiful”).
We’ve gone from trying to free women from oppression to celebrating women who glamorize oppression, simply because it’s their choice to do so? Am I the only one who sees a dangerous progression of assimilation here?
I call bullshit. Women deserve better than this. If feminism today is celebrating someone who is willingly oppressed, we have failed miserably. And don’t try to convince me for a second that a song about “loving pain” from an abusive partner is anything but oppression.