Men and Accountability

Over this past weekend, Cardi B was the the star of the Rolling Loud Festival, and what an opportunity it was considering she was their first female headliner. For her career, it was pivotal. Or perhaps it was her estranged husband Offset, who rolled three stands out, which, when put together, said “Take me back Cardi.” Seconds later he too entered the stage and into a mic, in his own words: “I love you bruh.” Cardi spoke right to him, but certainly not into him, and Offset plus the stands left the stage.

I imagine that when the fans in the crowd purchased their festival tickets they weren’t expecting to watch their marriage issues unfold on the stage. Their issues weren’t exactly private since they began, but Offset’s performance was certainly not rehearsed.

I’ll start with how dare he.

Let’s all admit that being the first female anywhere deserves respect. Being the first female anywhere in 2018 proves that this society is still centered around men and that women, in 2018, are still fighting to get the recognition they deserve for their talents. From that starting point alone, Offset was in the wrong. How dare he take that feat away from her and turn her moment, her workspace at that, into his reality show. Let’s not pretend that what he did was romantic; not even in the slightest. Instead of the crowd chanting her name, they were telling her to “Take him back.”

This is instance one of unchecked male privilege. When a woman tells a man to give her space to think things through, that is an untranslatable statement to these men. Men who act just like Offset were never taught to respect a woman’s boundaries like how they were taught to respect another man’s. Think about it–isn’t it interesting that still so often, men will introduce their romantic partners as “my girlfriend, my wife” to other men? It’s a marking of territory. Now I’m not saying that’s wrong, but let’s dig a little deeper here. Men like Offset have never been taught to respect a woman’s boundaries because they’re taught the way to win her over is to push them. When she walks away, she’s playing hard to get. When she says leave me alone, she really means follow her. When she says give me space, she means interrupt her performance and turn the attention away from her.

Secondly, every male celebrity just had to offer their two cents about their situation, urging Cardi to reconsider with Offset. Of course this doesn’t surprise me, because men will never hold their brothers accountable for their actions. In fact, a whole gaggle of classic “I only fuck bitches”-minded men got mad at Ebro just last week for holding Kodak Black accountable–but that’s none of my silly female business!

Instead, they are, once again, leaving the responsibility of fixing the problem to the women–in spite of the fact that this problem was Offset’s doing. Cardi didn’t cheat; Cardi didn’t break their vows; and yet Cardi is under the spotlight. We love to hate the victim and not the victimizer.

None of them take issue with him interrupting her moment, her work, to draw the attention onto him, and quite frankly that is peak male privilege. As always, men are given the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, even when said mistake is seeing other women outside their marriage, and then expect forgiveness. The stands didn’t say “I’m sorry” ; they spelled out “Take me back Cardi.” The latter is a demand, the latter says there’s only one option.

What about that is romantic?

Men are so reactive to this kind of criticism because they’ve never been taught rejection. Accountability, apologies–these are not words found in traditional masculine jargon. Yet every woman I know–from strangers on the internet to myself–apologizes so frequently because it is so ingrained in our traditional feminine values. If we were to play a drinking game with the rule being to take a shot every time a woman apologizes, we would all be in the hospital getting our stomachs pumped.

So men aren’t held accountable for sexual assault, but the survivors are told to wear a longer skirt next time. Men aren’t held accountable for cheating, but women are told to take him back because he made a mistake. And I’m just wondering at what point do we stop coddling these adults and treat them like adults? I’m not calling any man mature if he throws a tantrum for being told he’s in the wrong. Offset is a grown man who made the conscious decision to sleep with other women. Why the hell are we punishing Cardi for his actions?

For how much longer are we going to demonize women for the actions of men?

In an effort to make this more personal, I want to speak to all of my male friends and family for a moment. I just want all of you to know that in me correcting you for whatever internalized misogyny you have that it is not a personal attack on you. I want you to be better; I want you to grow. And you’re not going to do that with those biases. If you take it as a personal attack, then you have a lot more introspection to do that I can’t help you with.

Anyways. Congrats to you, Cardi, for being the first female headliner at Rolling Loud Festival! And thank you so much for coming back to Renaissance and visiting us there! I’m wishing you all the best in this difficult situation with Offset. I’m so sorry he’s acting a fool right now. You’ll get through this, you absolutely will.

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