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  • Tue, 17, Nov, 2020 - 10:30:AM

The world is better when women are allowed to be horny

Ariana Grande / Positions / YouTube

Ariana Grande’s new full-length LP, Positions, is something of a mixed bag. The songs are good, some are even great, but none reach the same heights as last year’s mega-hit Thank U, Next (not to mention 7 Rings or God is a Woman). Having said that, the album is noticeable for something else entirely: Grande’s brazen display of her sexual desires.

Only a few years ago, a former Disney/Nickelodeon star releasing a song that included the word ‘fuck’ (let alone the lyric ‘fuck me until the daylight’) would have caused about 1000 think pieces and a strong condemnation from a prominent member of the church. I mean, who can forget the whipping Miley took for twerking on Robin Thicke?

Actually, in Miley’s case, the drama began much earlier. Remember the moral panic that ensued when she wore short shorts (and you could see her bra strap!) during the Party in the USA era? Remember how she stoked outrage in the Can’t Be Tamed music video by wearing a black leotard? Panic reached a fever pitch when, during a performance in 2009, she used a pole to stay upright while singing atop an ice cream truck.

Watching that performance from today’s perspective it looks positively innocent (and no one could realistically describe that as pole dancing) but in 2009, it was ‘slutty’.

In other words, it was the worst thing a girl could be.

And yet you won’t find the word slutty being ascribed to Grande’s latest project – instead, in 2020, listeners favour the word horny. Headlines read Ariana Grande Is Unapologetically Horny on Her Positions Album, and Fans Love It (Glamour), and Positions Is Ariana Grande’s Most Theatrically Horny Album Yet (Vulture).

Horny (a word I can barely type without giggling, but I’ll try to be serious) is distinctly different from slutty. Horny describes the desire, slutty describes the woman.

In the past, only men were allowed to be horny. Women were nothing more than receptacles for men’s horniness, and they weren’t supposed to be proud of it. Nowadays, female horniness is becoming standard fare for exploration through art.

Cardi B’s ground-breaking WAP set a new benchmark for sexual innuendo and is told entirely from a female perspective, while collaborator Megan thee Stallion has made a career out of brilliantly expressing her sexual desires. As she told Pitchfork, “It's not just about being sexy, it's about being confident in my sexuality.”

But even in a post-WAP world, one might think that a former child star releasing a song called 34 + 35 (you do the maths) would cause a bit of outrage. After all, it’s been less than decade since Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz, an album that received backlash from all but the Pope.

Instead, Positions has garnered little more than an appreciative ‘yes, queen’ and a number one debut. Perhaps it’s a sign that we, as a society, are growing up.

Let’s hope so. The world is a lot better when women are allowed to be their whole selves, without shame.

TAGGED IN

  • Ariana Grande /
  • Sexuality /
  • Sex /
  • Desire /
  • Gender /
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Abigail
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