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Misogynisitc Culture Perpetuates Victim Blaming in Media

Illustration by Rioka Hayama

On September 7, 2018, the world lost another young artist to a suspected drug overdose. His name was Mac Miller. It was completely tragic to see someone so young, die from an addiction they had been trying to stop. His death shocked many in the hip-hop community with countless artists making tributes to him. Hopefully his death will bring more awareness about the drug problems in the entertainment industry. After this initial period of shock, some started to direct hateful comments to his ex, Ariana Grande.

Miller and Grande had quite a public relationship from August 2016 to May 2018. Some thought that Miller overdosed on purpose because of his grief due to Grande’s current relationship with comedian Pete Davidson. Comments ranged from, “@arianagrande I mean idc what anybody says I’m 100% blaming this on you,” to “YOU KILLED MAC MILLER U SLAG.” Why are women in the entertainment industry so commonly blamed for their partner or even ex-partner’s issues?

This isn’t even the first time fans have blamed Grande for something Mac Miller related. Back in May, after Miller got into a car accident, Grande responded to a tweet blaming her for the crash, due to her relationship with Davidson. She responded with, “I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel as if they need to be.”

There is this misogynistic culture that tries to place the blame on women, since people idolize these male popstars, almost believing that they can do no wrong. These hateful comments just started to get more and more hateful, getting to the point where Grande had to disable comments on her social media in order to escape the hate. Grande has been through so much this year with the Manchester bombings and the PTSD she got from that. It seems especially cruel to blame her after losing someone who was very dear to her heart when the two were no longer an item, placing Miller outside her sphere of influence and contact.

It’s incredibly sexist for this mob mentality to constantly blame women. There has long been a societal standard for the woman to have to compensate for a man’s actions and fix any problem in their life. If your partner is angry, you’re not doing enough for them. If your partner is unsatisfied, you have to put out.

This standard has just been ingrained into people’s brains and that somehow makes them think that this is acceptable. Women are not responsible for fixing their partners shortcomings and should never be held to that expectation.  It’s victim-blaming, pure and simple.

Take Yoko Ono for example. When The Beatles broke up, people started to blame her for it due to her relationship with John Lennon. She was said to be weighing him down and causing a wedge between Paul McCartney and Lennon. Then, after Lennon’s assassination, people said that she was profiting off of his death.

This also happened with Courtney Love, an even more controversial figure. She was married to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Their relationship was always rocky, mired with drug problems and other challenges, so the public’s perception of them together was already less than great. Once Cobain killed himself, all the blame immediately turned to Love. She was later bombarded with threats and insults regarding competency as a wife and her helplessness in the situation. This happened way back in 1994 and the hate continues to this day. Love has never been able to shed that image since.

The root of this problem is a lack of empathy. Being placed as someone to be blamed for a loved one’s passing is incredibly difficult, and many  develop anxiety related symptoms from the situation. People are not extensions of each other, and therefore should not be held accountable for other people’s mistakes. Especially in our current anti-victim blaming environment, it is important to acknowledge that people are responsible for their actions. To feed into a misogynistic culture by attacking the grieving just so you can find someone to put the blame on, is despicable. Men can also be imperfect and they are not a figure of virtue. They are responsible for themselves, not their significant other.