An Open Letter to Pete Davidson, re: Ariana Grande's Feminism

You're just not a good match for Ariana Grande—but not for the reasons you're thinking

Pete Davidson sits on a grey chair wearing green pants and a black hoodie that says "gooniversity" on it.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Dear Pete,

Look, we know it’s been a whirlwind year for you. Prior to your sudden love connection with a certain high-ponied pop star, the public mostly knew you as one of the youngest cast members on Saturday Night Live. You hadn’t yet ventured into A-list celebrity territory, but you had made a name for yourself thanks to your distinct brand of humour. It’s sorta, uh, crass, but these are trying times and frankly, your self-deprecating jokes, sparked by anxieties around economic insecurity and the state of global affairs, have made us feel very seen. We’ve also been impressed with how open you are about your Crohn’s disease, drug use and mental health struggles. And your love of Harry Potter definitely earns you some points.

But it’s time for us to discuss your relationship with our #Kween, Ariana Grande. Although you’ve been engaged to her since June, there seem to be a few things you don’t understand about how she’s positioned herself and what she represents. So, tbh, we think you need to step up your game. Especially considering your comments on the SNL season premiere. You made some self-deprecating jokes about yourself, which is on-brand and were funny. But then, you said you planned to get Ariana pregnant so that she wouldn’t be able to leave you.

“Last night I switched her birth control with Tic-Tacs,” you joked. “I believe in us and all, but I just want to make sure that she can’t go anywhere.”

That’s sketchy AF, dude—that kind of behaviour is associated with domestic abuse. Also, it’s also clear that you don’t get (or don’t care about?!) her feminism, or why so many young people look up to her.

So… here’s an overview of all the times she’s shut down sexism. Maybe you could take some notes?

That time she stood up to a sexist Mac Miller fan

In the last three years, Ariana has presented herself as a powerful career- focused woman who is not here for sexism that aims to disparage and degrade her—and really all—women.

Remember when she shut down a fan who made her feel “sick and objectified”?

Ariana tweeted about an experience in December 2016 that she said left her feeling “hurt.”  At the time, she was dating rapper Mac Miller and a fan approached the couple. She said the fan expressed his love of Miller but acted as if Ariana wasn’t right there, telling Miller congrats for “hitting that.”

In her tweet, she said that she felt “sick and objectified.” She went on to say, “I am not a piece of meat that a man 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.”

She also encouraged women to share these experiences with each other and to remind each other that we are not “objects or prizes. We are queens.”

When she asserted that she’s “no one’s property”

In this note from 2015, Ariana asserts that she has value as an individual and that she’s “tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present or future PROPERTY/POSSESSION.” She also reiterates the fact that she, and all women, are enough as individuals, without a man by their side.

When she celebrated female sexuality and hit back at slut shaming 

Listen to Ariana’s music and you can tell she feels strongly about women’s agency—hello, Dangerous Woman isn’t about pleasing a dude, it’s about taking control of your sexuality for your own sake. But that opinion doesn’t appear only in her bops—she’s also vocal in interviews and on social media about the fact that wearing a “sexy” outfit isn’t an invitation for harassment. Preach, Ari.

The entire “God is a Woman” music video

No explanation needed.

So, back to you, Pete

In a September radio interview with Howard Stern, you said you’d  “never been prouder” in response to photos that appeared to show Bill Clinton “eyeing” your fiancée. We’ve heard you talk a lot about how much you love her, but we’ve really only heard you use words like “hot” or “sexy” or mention how satisfied you are, sexually. “My dick is forever hard,” you said during a Q&A with students at Auburn University.

But, clearly, those comments—and last weekend’s Tic-Tac debacle—are in direct contrast to the way Ariana presents herself. In the past, she has been vocal about the importance of being with a partner that doesn’t make you feel ashamed or objectified. By only focusing on her appearance and how she looks next to you, you’re giving us the impression that that’s all you value her for. That doesn’t mean that you can’t ever compliment her looks. But at this point, fans are looking to you to show that you have more to say about her than simply sex.

Ariana received accolades and admiration for being outspoken and for helping other women confront mistreatment in their lives by unabashedly discussing her own. But right now it seems like you’re working really hard to undermine her efforts, and that’s disappointing.




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