A quick look back at Ben Shapiro’s comments on Ariana Grande’s Twitter outburst shows us the extent to which rape culture rhetoric dominates seemingly innocuous comments. Take Mr. Shapiro’s piece, written for The Daily Wire. It’s not overly long. It’s not massively critical of Ms. Grande. It kind of makes a point that you might agree with – until you stop to think about what it is that he’s actually saying.
In a nutshell, Mr. Shapiro sees Ms. Grande equally responsible for the objectification of women as the young man Ms. Grande complained about w/r/t the old “hitting that” comment. Mr. Shapiro voices his concerns over the objectification of women, and points out that this is a bad thing that should not happen – all good stuff, you’d think. However, Mr. Shapiro makes plain his feelings on Ariana Grande’s conduct in public, starting with her Twitter account profile pic. He says that in the picture Ms. Grande is “crouching while naked,” which I’m not actually sure that she is (she actually looks like she’s wearing a one piece body suit – dancers wear them), and even if she were, you can’t see anything offensive or inappropriate for the setting in which it appears.
Mr. Shapiro then quotes Ms. Grande’s words at length, before stating that Ms. Grande’s lyrics and those of her associates (Mac Miller) objectify women and that she should stop this behaviour. He picks up on one particular lyric that speaks of “bad girls” and that he takes that phrase as meaning “that women generally want to waive consent.” To paraphrase Ms. Grande, here: wtf. Ms. Grande’s lyrics, as a popular culture artist, means that they are never going to be all that explicit – and what exactly is wrong with someone wanting to access a bad girl persona? By bringing the consent issue to the fore, Mr. Shapiro is saying that if such women are raped then that’s their fault – and that’s exactly what rape culture rhetoric does, it justifies horrific thoughts w/r/t the treatment of women.
Next, Mr. Shapiro quotes more of Ms. Grande’s lyrics:
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’
Then he asks: “Is the crude and ugly phrase “hitting that” a good deal worse than this description of a sexual relationship with no emotional connection?” Now, the four lines could actually be interpreted in quite an innocent way. There’s nothing overtly sexual about the lines, but Mr. Shapiro chooses to treat them as such. He also finishes by stating that Ms. Grande’s “art degrades women by objectifying them and contributes to a culture of objectification that she rightly opposes when it’s applied to her.”
Mr. Shapiro’s response to Ms. Grande’s feelings of being objectified as a woman is poorly thought out, lacks evidence, and uses common clichés to do with how a woman should behave and present herself to the world. Mr. Shapiro does not wish women to be objectified, but he’d kind of like it if they just stopped dressing so provocatively, and waiving their consent and all. The History of Stupidity prospers at Mr. Shapiro’s keyboard, sadly.