If you've been following pop culture for the past few weeks, you might have noticed the release of pop queen Ariana Grande's new album, "thank u, next". One of the songs on the album, "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored", was released as the third official single, with a YouTube video that premiered on February 7th, 2019.
The lyrics of the song, "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" describe Ariana's boredom with single life and her desire to date a man who's already taken. As the song progresses, Grande coaxes him to leave his girlfriend for her, saying that she "can't compare" and it "isn't fair" that he isn't choosing Grande over his current beau.
Ariana Grande has been vocally feminist in the past, shutting down sexist statements by her interviewers and expressing the need for gender equality over her social media. She has claimed time and again that women should not feel afraid to express their sexuality and should be considered equal to men in all that they do.
While "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" does portray a different perspective wherein the woman is pursuing the man and choosing a partner she desires, it still lacks due to its bashing of some women (a.k.a. the girlfriend mentioned) while empowering others.
One of Ariana's many statements of equality states that women are not a "piece of meat" that men get to use for their pleasure. But the lyrics of "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" seems to strip away all of that, when Ariana tries to tempt a man with sexual favors in return for him calling it quits with his girlfriend. In the song, she repeatedly says "you can hit it in the morning, like it's yours", promising him sexual gratification if he does as she says. Not only is this manipulative, it is incredibly toxic and disrespectful to another woman's relationship.
The first thought that occured to me while hearing the song was, "But what if I was the girlfriend?". How would it make me feel if my significant other was being tempted and manipulated by another woman who had taken a liking to him, who even agreed that her intentions were not right but still didn't care? In any relationship, there are always insecurities and soft spots, and there is always a more attractive woman or man out there. How would I feel knowing a woman like Ariana Grande was trying to take my man?
Ariana's glorification of disrespectful behavior towards other women is soaked in by her fanbase of young tweens and teenagers, some of whom may begin to believe that this behavior is normal and that it is indeed alright to break a couple up if you are interested in one of the individuals, so long as you are attractive and are able to tempt him or her into being with you.
Moreover, the song justifies hating on another woman for no reason other than desiring her man. "I only hate on her cause I want you" says Ariana, once again making even her emotions towards another female the result of a man. This lyric promotes girl-on-girl hate and girl fights over men, saying that it is alright to hate on a woman because you want her boyfriend to be your boyfriend.
While the music video of the song has an empowering twist, wherein it shows Ariana wanting to break up with her boyfriend to find herself, the lyrics of the song itself are not self-empowering but rather tearing down of other women. I adore Ariana's voice and the catchy tune, but the meaning of the song and the manner in which it devalues the bonds in relationships makes it a track I will push to the far depths of my Spotify playlist.