In response to the news about the Manchester attack writer David Leavitt tweeted, “The last time I listened to Ariana Grande, I almost died too”.
The subtext of Leavitt’s tweet is that Grande’s fans are idiots with bad taste. ‘Who would even go to an Ariana Grande concert anyway given how bad the music is?’, he seems to be saying. It’s a small step from here to victim blaming — ‘if they had better taste they wouldn’t be there, ergo they wouldn’t be dead.’ The inference is that Leavitt thinks it’s ok to make extraordinarily insensitive ‘jokes’ about the death of 22 people, because of his contempt for their musical taste. Twitter has not seen fit to remove Leavitt’s tweet but did remove the tweet of someone responding to Leavitt by asking him to “Seriously Fuck right Off”, which I think says something a bit scary about Twitter’s values.
According to Buzzfeed Grande’s fans have an average age of 16 and are primarily girls. A lone, unidentified man entered the concert hall with a home made nail bomb for the express purpose of killing as many teenage girls as he could. And he succeeded, with 22 people dead and 59 injured. It is unfathomable to imagine why someone would want to hurt teenage girls yet the number one worldwide non-health related threat to women’s health and lives is men so clearly there are actually many, many men who want to hurt us. Statistically it is the men who are known to women and girls are the most likely to hurt them.
It seems not only are girls and women at risk from the men in our families and the men we date, now we must also worry about attending events with other women, as this makes us vulnerable to attacks like what happened last night. 98% of mass killings are perpetrated by men, so these types of mass murders are very much a gendered issue in terms of who is doing the killing.
While there has been widespread support for the victims and their families there has been a significant cohort of misogynists belittling Grande’s fans and making “jokes” about the tragedy. Grande herself has been attacked online with Twitter users blaming Grande and suggesting her promotion of equality, peace, acceptance and tolerance caused the attack. “You sow, you reap”, one empathy-less man said. Presumably this man thinks she should be promoting war and inequality instead, or perhaps; more likely he thinks she shouldn’t be saying anything at all.
The significance of the tour being called ‘The Dangerous Woman’ tour should be lost on no one. Is there anything misogyny hates more than an outspoken, dangerous woman?
Grande has cancelled the rest of her tour and it has been reported that she wants to end her career because of the tragedy. I sincerely hope she doesn’t. The world needs more Dangerous Women, and after last night’s attack we need more brave women too.
Update: Leavitt has now deleted his tweet (pictured above).