Gender: The Role it Plays in Celeb Controversy

Taylor Swift and Cardi B at the 2018 American Music Awards

The entirety of the internet remembers the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and Kimyé receipts and arguing that took place several years ago. This sparked the creation of her album Reputation and the loss of thousands of Kanye fans and her own. Separately, a video of Cardi B explaining how she used to drug and rob men during her stripper days resurfaced earlier this year. This resulted in another Twitter hashtag, #SurvivingCardiB, referencing the R. Kelly sexual assault scandal. Yet, in a recent Buzzfeed Youtube video, teens and young adults unanimously decided Cardi B was cool and Taylor Swift was not. Their reasoning for their decision about Swift- she’s too problematic. Cardi’s debacle deals with illegal and immoral matters whereas Taylor’s was recipes and phone excerpts being thrown around. This begs the question: Why do people choose to look past certain controversies over others? Gender dynamics could be playing an impactful role.

A Youtube video titled, Teen Vs. Adult: Who Is The Coolest Celebrity, was released July 9th by Buzzfeed owned channel, As/Is. Two teenagers and two adults decide whether they, or their generation, deems them cool or not. One of the adults commented on Swift by saying, “Her outside of her music? A little controversial,” provoking agreement amongst his teenager co-star. Okay, fair enough. She has had controversy aside from Kanye, which may be the justification there. The clip cuts to another teenager saying, “The last time I really heard about her is when Kanye took the mic.” He is referencing when Kanye West infamously stole the mic from Swift at the Grammy Awards in 2009 to say Beyonce’s album deserved to win instead. Simply put, he has only heard of Swift one, involved in controversy, and two, mentioned as a victim to Kanye West’s interruption. Completely disregarding her success, or recent music, the teen hearing about Swift is, simply put, “credited” to Kanye West. Which, is basically the premise to his misogynistic lyrics about her in the song, “Famous,” showing that she is subconsciously mentioned in association with West, rather than her incredibly successful pop star self. 

A screenshot taken from the As/Is video, which now has around 380,000 views.
One of many Twitter posts regarding the video filmed 3 years ago.

In the same video, Cardi B is referred to as, “a major voice right now,” and “always doing funny stuff.” Since when is drugging and robbing men funny, and not controversial? Cardi B was seriously let off the hook by these four for her vile past. However, Twitter used the Cardi B scandal to point out the double standards of men and women involved in topics like sexual assault. R.Kelly was rightfully incriminated for sexually abusing women and minors on multiple occasions. While you can’t directly compare R.Kelly and Cardi B’s assault history, it’s fair to assume she should be criminalized and charged as he has been. In addition, he was dropped by his record label and boycotted by thousands.

Apparently Cardi B saying “I did what I had to do to survive,” was deemed a reasonable excuse. And her countless ‘Okur!’s maintain her popularity among young adults and teens. Under #SurvivingCardiB lives angry Twitter users explaining that if a man had done the same actions, there would be media outrage and instant charges against the wrong-doer. Perhaps the existing stigma that only men assault women clouds her supporters from distinguishing forgivable and unforgivable actions. Whether that’s true or not, it’s safe to say gender plays a huge, but sometimes unnoticed, role in our society.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am trying to provide a little bit of variety between Op-ed pieces like this and also the usual light-hearted reviews. Thanks for reading!