Celebrity news has seen yet another case of slut-shaming and double standards this past week.
R&B singer Kehlani was accused of cheating on her boyfriend Kyrie Irving with her ex, Canadian singer and rapper PartyNextDoor, after PND posted a photo on Instagram of him holding her hand in bed. Even though the picture was only up for a few minutes, the Internet went up in flames, calling Kehlani names such as “whore” and “ho,” leading to a suicide attempt by Kehlani later that night.
I had a very frustrating conversation regarding Kehlani’s story with a male colleague. His response to a young woman attempting suicide after being slut-shamed was, “She’s not even that cute.” A person tries to take their own life, a person is ridiculed all over the internet for something she didn’t even do, and all that matters is her appearance.
The main issue here isn’t whether or not Kehlani cheated (and she stated that she had already broken up with Irving on a later post on Instagram). The issue here is that time after time again, if a woman cheats she gets labeled a whore. When a man cheats, he gets to brag and high-five his friends.
This is what society has ingrained in our brains: It’s okay for men to sleep around because they can’t control their urges, but if women sleep around they should learn how to close their legs and stop being sluts.
Last week, a video was posted in which Iggy Azalea’s fiancé, Laker Nick Young, admitted to cheating on her. The video was taken by his teammate D’Angelo Russell. Instead of the internet getting on Young for cheating and bragging about it to his friends, Russell was blamed for snitching. Fans at the Lakers game that evening were booing Russell, not Young.
This is one example of how a man can get away with cheating, but a woman receives so much flack and ridicule that she doesn’t even want to live to see another day.
Kehlani is a 20-year-old girl. She would only be a junior in college right now, and I think most of us can agree we were still figuring out who we were at that age, and what love really was. Kehlani stated that she was devastated after she and PND broke up, and she started a relationship with Irving, one of her best friends, until she realized she was madly in love with her first love, PND.
I’ve been 20 years old, in love with two people, sleeping with both, and feeling so lost and confused as to what to do. Dealing internally with such strong emotions is hard enough, but it’s even harder to hear the whispers of your friends and colleagues calling you a slut. Boys at that age are taught college is their time to sleep around with as many people as possible, but as women, we cannot have the same option without being scrutinized.
People have a right to change their minds and handle their relationships in private without being scrutinized on social media by people jumping to conclusions and stuck with these ideals that women cannot be sexual, and have to date one person their whole lives.
Somehow PND gets to go without any blame in the situation for posting the picture in the first place with the misleading caption, “After all her shenanigans, still got the R&B singer back in my bed.” The language used paints Kehlani in a light where she sounds “slutty,” and is airing the fact that they just had sex all over social media. Everything falls on Kehlani, because she is the woman and therefore, easier to blame.