All hail Ariana Grande, the global superstar who unapologetically relays fabulous, fierce, and femme-positive messages through her many avenues of artistry. She embraces expression of her sexuality as an art form, maintaining full control of her needs as a woman in control, yet admitting that she sometimes can’t help but “be needy.”
With such freedom of expression, however, come critical opinions on Grande’s song lyrics, music videos, and even her sense of style. During a 2015 interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra, Grande admitted that when it comes to the equality of women, she feels the need to take a public stance, “not because I’m reacting to a personal attack, but because I feel like I want to fight for everyone.” As a widely known celebrity with millions of eyes constantly on her, Grande understands the importance of speaking out on issues that affect her and others, “because otherwise, why do I have this voice?” she explained.
The songstress refuses to “just be an entertainer,” but instead, hopes to empower others with her words and actions. Let’s dive into some of her most powerful stances against some intolerable sexist remarks.
Ariana Grande was objectified by a fan while out with Mac Miller
While out grabbing a bite to eat in 2016 with her late boyfriend, Malcolm “Mac Miller” McCormick, Ariana Grande experienced an unfortunate incident when an admirer of Mac Miller attempted to chat him up and directed a sexist comment at Grande. The “Thank U, Next” singer immediately took to Twitter to share a lengthy message with fans, writing that the young boy “was loud and excited and by the time M was seated in the driver’s seat he was literally almost in the car with us.” Grande admitted she thought the fan’s urgency was “cute and exciting” until he exclaimed to Mac Miller, “Ariana is sexy as hell man. I see you, I see you hitting that!”
The pop star, who was sitting right beside Miller during the confrontation, told fans she felt “sick and objectified” and explained, “Things like this happen all the time and are the kinds of moments that contribute to women’s sense of fear and inadequacy.” Grande felt compelled to address this specific instance, knowing the shame women have similarly felt after being demeaned by men. The “34+35” singer urged fans to vocalize their experiences, “because if we don’t, it will just continue,” she said. “We are not objects or prizes. We are QUEENS.” Period!
Don't bother Ariana Grande with ridiculous assumptions about women
Contrary to popular opinion, there is much more to a woman’s happiness than material possessions, especially if Ariana Grande has anything to say about the matter. The “Positions” singer was met with an extremely sexist question in 2015 during a Power 106 “The Liftoff” radio interview. Hosts Eric D-Lux and Justin Credible asked whether Grande would use her phone or makeup if she had to choose one for the last time. “Is that what you think girls have trouble choosing between?” she asked, dumbfounded. “Is this men assuming that that’s what girls would have to choose between?”
As if listeners couldn’t already sense the irritation in Grande’s voice, the radio hosts continued to spit sexist remarks toward her when the topic of emojis arose. The pop star listed some of her then-new go-to graphics, including the unicorn emoji, which D-Lux suggested was a “girls” emoji. Grande quickly corrected him by explaining that “many boys use the unicorn.” D-Lux then said the word “boys” in a homophobic tone. Ariana Grande wasn’t having that, either. She told the host, “You need a little brushing up on equality over here!”
Ariana Grande defended herself after being called a sexist slur
A demand for feminine power was seized back in 2016 when Ariana Grande’s smash-hit single “Dangerous Woman” debuted at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video was released just weeks later and caused quite a stir as Grande stripped down in a sultry lingerie ensemble. While many praised her for unabashedly expressing her sexuality, the visuals were criticized by one Facebook user who proceeded to comment, “with all respect,” the music video “salts like a wh*re.”
The post, which has since been deleted from Grande’s official Facebook page, garnered the attention of Grande, herself, who shared her own thoughts on the matter. The singer asked (via Mashable), “When will people stop being offended by women showing skin / expressing sexuality?” and addressed the fact that men are featured shirtless on countless occasions. “The double standard is so boring and exhausting,” Grande added. “With all due respect, I think it’s time you get your head out of your ass. Women can love their bodies too!!”
Ariana Grande shut down Ryan Seacrest's intrusive comments
Ryan Seacrest may be one of Hollywood’s most notable media personalities, but even he could use some schooling on sexism straight from the mouth of Ariana Grande. During a 2015 interview on the talk show “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” the host praised Grande for accomplishing so much at just 22 years old. The singer admitted she was still trying to figure out life, and Seacrest tried for a witty remark. “I can’t figure out girls,” he said. “They keep changing their minds.” Grande wasn’t here for his negative remark geared toward women, which prompted her to respond with, “So do men… come on, Hunty!”
Seacrest clearly didn’t learn a lesson about coming for Grande, seeing as how he pried into Grande’s love life with an intrusive question about her relationship with Mac Miller in 2016. The “Positions” singer shared a photo to Instagram, which led Seacrest to assume that she had confirmed their relationship. Grande was quick to shut down his assumption during the KIIS FM morning radio show (via Entertainment Tonight). “Oh, is that what I did?” Grande replied. “Is that what Instagram means to you now?”
The conversation got heated when the host continued to ask about her personal life, and Grande shut down any remaining speculation. “If I post something, then that’s what I’m willing to share at the moment,” she explained. “It doesn’t mean then you, Ryan Seacrest, with millions of listeners, are entitled to more information.”
Fashion is a personal decision for Ariana Grande, too
Ariana Grande had the perfect response to critics who tweeted that they were less than impressed with her recycled street style in January of 2020. As the naysayers pointed out that they were over her signature oversized getup, the “God Is a Woman” singer offered a surprising response regarding fashion choices that are only for her to make.
One commenter suggested that Grande dress more like an “Insta baddie” rather than wear “the same boots/long shirt combo for years.” In another tweet, they added, “She could easily stand out without wearing the same 2 outfits luv.” After stumbling upon the Twitter thread, Grande immediately defended her fashion choices in a somewhat sarcastic tone. “Thank god I’m a singer then,” she exclaimed. “Gimme a break. I don’t like having my photo taken, I escape the paparazzi almost every time, I never post photos that aren’t on stage but s*it, I promise I have cute a** clothes.”
In another thread, one fan came to her defense, tweeting, “Babe we just want THEE BEST FOR YOU PERIOD,” which Grande understood. She managed to throw some subtle shade at social media impersonators who’ve adopted her style. “I promise I look cute over here in my own world,” the pop star said. “I haven’t even been able to put on a pair of f*ckin boots lately because of the traumatic image I have in my head of these uh…. TikTok ‘performers.'”
Ariel Winter and Ariana Grande joined forces after being pitted against each other
There’s truly nothing quite as influential as women supporting other women, and that fact was further proven in 2015 when a comment from an unknown social media user went viral. The commenter pitted Ariana Grande against “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter and desired Winter over Grande solely due to the former’s physical features. The ridiculous statement, naturally, didn’t sit well with the “7 Rings” singer.
Grande delivered a lengthy response that read, in part: “We live in a day and age where people make it IMPOSSIBLE for women, men, anyone to embrace themselves how they are,” she said. “Diversity is sexy! Loving yourself is sexy!” She went on to add that “misogyny, objectifying, labeling, comparing, and body shaming” are quite the opposite of sexy. “The things that make us different from one another make us BEAUTIFUL,” the star wrote.
Winter was quick to stand in support of Grande’s response, tweeting, “Thank you @ArianaGrande. Women should empower one another. Celebrate each other — you’re all beautiful.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Ariana Grande embraces expressing her sexuality through art
Months after the release of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” album, criticism remained at a constant with regards to the singer’s proud display of her sexuality in her work. In December 2016, she decided to air out her frustration over the continued chatter in a scathing dialogue on Twitter. “Expressing sexuality in art is not an invitation for disrespect!!! Just like wearing a short skirt is not asking for assault,” the singer tweeted. “Our bodies, our clothing, our music, our personalities… Sexy, flirty, fun. It is not. An open. Invitation,” she also wrote.
With many songs from “Dangerous Woman,” including “Side To Side” and “Bad Decisions,” hinting at her sexual desires, Grande concluded her sentiments and stood firm on the fact that it’s “our right to express ourselves.” She shared another example with her 84 million followers: “You are literally saying that if we look a certain way, we are yours to take.” But, in fact, “we are not.”
Bette Midler couldn't derail Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande had the best response to Bette Midler’s viral interview with The Telegraph in 2014, in which the actor criticized Grande’s scantily clad image. While discussing female musicians who, she claims, utilize their art as a means of selling sex, Midler name-dropped Grande, specifically, noting, “It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch looking so ridiculous.” Midler admitted she wishes the “silly” seduction would stop, adding, “You don’t have to make a wh*re out of yourself to get ahead.”
As a response, Grande took the high road and, like many fans, was confused as to where the harsh critique had stemmed from. She shared a screenshot of a tweet written as a draft, alongside a photo of Midler in a bikini and draped with pearls. “Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgement!” Grande wrote. “Not sure where that Bette went but I want that sexy mermaid back!!” Despite the unexpected hostility Midler projected, Grande admitted she is “always a fan no matter what.”
As if offering further consolation, Grande vowed in a follow-up tweet that she would still “quote ‘First Wives Club’ every single day of my life.” Midler eventually responded in an unusually facetious fashion, tweeting, “Spoken like a reformed old wh*re! She does have a beautiful voice, on a couch or off.”
Ariana Grande refuses to be tied to a male's name
Ariana Grande’s 2015 Honeymoon Tour successfully marked her first-ever arena tour, in which she promoted 2014’s “My Everything” album. With this tour, the “Honeymoon Diaries” were produced, which consisted of behind-the-scenes vlogs that documented Grande’s life away from the stage. In one vlog that has since been blocked, but reshared, the star recalls an interview in which she was told to “talk to [them] about boys.” The “Into You” singer told the interviewer, “I’m not Big Sean’s ex, I’m not Niall’s possible new girl.” Instead, she said, “I’m Ariana Grande, and if that’s not interesting enough, don’t talk to me.”
Not long after Grande and Niall Horan’s rumored relationship began making headlines, the singer took to Twitter to write what many have since dubbed her “female manifesto.” She addressed multiple alarming topics, including her statement “about not being Big Sean’s ex.” “I am tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present, or future PROPERTY / POSSESSION,” she explained.
While touching on double standards, misogyny, and her newfound freedom from no longer being identified with a man, Grande then added that her “Honeymoon Diaries” series, where she initially spoke out on the controversial interview, was meant to share “absolutely as much as [she could] with [her] fans.” The singer’s priority seemed to be sharing her authentic self while advocating for fair treatment for other women, too.
Ariana Grande is unashamed to be labeled a 'diva'
Conversations surrounding gender equality and female empowerment stemmed from the release of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” single in 2016. At the same time, the singer was aware of the stereotypes that would likely result from the dynamic female energy the track exudes. During an “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” interview following the song’s release, Grande said, “I feel like I’ve come into my own, whereas before, I think I was afraid to be myself and make decisions and speak out about things I’m passionate about,” she admitted. Grande no longer feared being labeled as a ‘diva’, saying, “What it really is, is just a woman in charge.”
This revelation, however, didn’t mean other people would use “diva” in a positive light. Grande caught up with Zane Lowe for an interview on Apple Music in 2020 where she was tired of the treatment she received from the media and had “trauma” from it. “I stopped doing interviews for a really long time because I felt like whenever I would get into a position where somebody would try to say something for clickbait or twist my words … I would defend myself,” she said. “And then, people would be like, ‘Oh, she’s a diva.'”
The Florida native explained, “It’s like, when men express their opinions or defend themselves … they’re brilliant, and they’re geniuses … ‘What a boss!'” she continued. “And yet, it’s just so not the same thing with women, which I hope we can work on fixing.”
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