Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next is the Feminist Anthem We’ve Been Needing

Posted by Jolie Peters
(@Jolie Peters)

Ariana Grande has been frequently on our mind ever since Mac Miller passed away earlier this year. Actually, scratch that, she’s been frequently on our mind ever since her whirlwind romance with Pete Davidson. We’ve always been living for Grande’s fab pony tail and stellar voice, but her newest song Thank U, Next has been re-instilling our love for the pop singer more than ever.

In traditional mainstream media fashion, Grande was thrown some major shade surrounding Miller’s passing. Few journalists focused on the rap artist’s longtime battle with addiction, and instead focused on the relationship that the two had prior to his tragic death. Instead of using Miller to shed light on the devastation of the opioid epidemic, Grande found herself in the spotlight taking the heat because of her new relationship with Davidson, and its effect on Miller’s mental state. It always seems that as the world grapples with a celebrity’s death, the woman in their life somehow takes the blame or becomes the focal point (insert eyeroll here). That’s a conversation for a different day.

In the aftermath of Miller’s death, Grande ended her short engagement with Davidson and released the feminist anthem we’ve all really been needing. Thank U, Next has taken the world by storm and it’s no surprise why. The song manages to be an ode to Grande’s ex-lovers and a self-empowerment jam all at the same time. While most breakup songs are lyrically petty AF, highlighting the ex’s obsession and bitterness, this refreshing song abandons that traditional archetype. Instead, Grande begins by thanking each of her ex-boyfriends. She details what she learned from each relationship – or more importantly – what each lover taught her. This is a far cry from the traditional breakup ballad that blames the significant other all while victimizing the singer.

Just when we thought the song can’t get any better, she goes on to drop the feminist mic on listeners. She sings,

“Spend more time with my friends
I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’
Plus, I met someone else
We havin’ better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon’ last
‘Cause her name is Ari
And I’m so good with that (so good with that)”

If you’re still unclear, she’s referring to herself in the last few lines of the verse. Why has this tickled our feminist fancy in such a big way? Pull up a seat to my Ted Talk…

Feminism has always gotten a bad rep, but people opposing the #MeToo movemment and trending hashtags like #BelieveWomen have boded even more hatred and outlash than ever before. Somehow, feminism has become synonymous with anti-men. Being anti-patriarchy isn’t the same thing as man-hating, and nothing is more frustrating than when people confuse the two. Instead, feminism is about equal rights for men and women, I repeat, equal rights for men AND women. It’s about learning to love your femininity, no matter if you identify as cis, trans or gay. Feminism isn’t about asking for a seat at the table, it’s about pulling up a throne and demanding the respect that women haven’t been afforded for years.

Thank U, Next is a sanctum song, and it stands for every aspect of feminism that is important. Grande doesn’t pose herself as the victim, even though she was openly wronged by the majority of her ex’s. She also doesn’t demonize anyone she’s singing about in an attempt to gain support from the same media, or the listeners, that pegged her as the primary catalyst in Miller’s death. This approach is incredibly refreshing, and for that we’re so thankful.

And just when we thought we couldn’t love the song any more than we do already, teasers on Grande’s Instagram indicate that the music video will mimic Mean Girls. Needless to say, we can’t wait for it to drop. Snaps for Ariana Grande, her poise, grace, and ability to rise above the haters and give us the feminist anthem we’ve so desperately needed this year. We have a lot to learn from her.