Pop star Ariana Grande recently took to Twitter to talk about a disturbing encounter with an excited fan the other day as she was picking up some food with her boyfriend.
“He was loud and excited and by the time M was seated in the driver’s 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!!!’”
Grande said she was grossly offended by the fan’s comment.
“I am not a piece of meat that a men 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 [objectifying women] with such ease.”
There is no doubt that the over-excited fan was very rude to say the least. It certainly must be disconcerting to have a complete stranger follow you to your car to congratulate you on your sex life. The downside of celebrity is that often times fans forget that they are real people. Objectification is par for the course when your job depends on selling an image that isn’t based in any part on real life.
The problem with Ms. Grande’s complaint is that she willfully engages in her own sexualization and objectification. Grande’s entire brand is “sexy.” From her wardrobe to her “come-hither” videos to her songs about having sex all night in which she herself sexually objectifies men, Grande isn’t exactly discouraging her own objectification.
It’s been a while since anyone has objectified me, but I’ve had my fair share in the past and it isn’t always fun and cute. It can be very humiliating and brings a disturbing sense of vulnerability. But I just can’t get on board with Grande’s righteous indignation. You cannot build an entire brand on sex and then get angry when your fans only see sex when they look at you.
The singer says it “hurts her heart” to see that so many young people so easily objectify women, but takes absolutely no responsibility for her part in giving those young people permission to do exactly that. Let’s face it – Ms. Grande is not singing songs and making videos about spiritual journeys or grad school. Her income at this point in her career depends on selling herself as a sexual object.
How she expects horny teenage boys to watch her gyrating in glorified lingerie as she sings about fulfilling their sexual fantasies and not view her as anything more than a come-to-life sex Barbie is beyond me. She’s quite happy to take their money for doing as much, but doesn’t want to bear burden of over-sexualization that comes with that transaction.
I find it difficult to sympathize with this pop-tart when her career and her sexuality are intimately and purposefully intertwined.
There’s an argument to be made that Grande doesn’t have much control over her brand. It’s likely her management and label exert a lot of control when it comes to her image. However, no one is forcing her to work in this industry, and one doesn’t need to be a rocket surgeon to know that there’s a trade-off for fame and celebrity in the music business. Grande wants to have her cake and eat it too.
The truth is that Ms.Grande is actually astonishingly talented as a singer and an actress. Her recent hosting gig on SNL was quite impressive. As her career develops and she begins to exert more control over her own brand she shouldn’t have much trouble transitioning from sexy pop star to a bonafide powerhouse singer. She may be too young to understand yet, but she doesn’t need sex to sell her talent. She’s overflowing with it.
What Grande does need is a reality check. Sorry, honey but you can’t base a career on selling sex and then get angry when your horny fans treat you like a sex object.