My frustrations with attributing a woman’s success to a relationship.
Forgive me in advance if this comes off as a rant. But maybe a rant is what we need to get people to open their eyes and close their mouths in regards to the disservice of labelling women as solely sexual beings. There are a million different directions I could go with this, but for time’s sake, I’m only referring to this god-awful trend of attributing women’s success stories to their relationships with famous or more well-off men.
I was having a heated debate with my roommate one day when she brought up a “funny” story about how her co-workers expressed their disinterest for Vashtie Kola – which for those who are unaware, is a dj and entrepreneur form New York. She went on about how her co-workers – all of which were men – didn’t like Kola because she was “only famous because she used to fuck Pharrell.” Yes, I’m referring to Pharrell Williams. Vashtie and Pharrell apparently met when she was a model for his clothing brand, Billionaire Boys Club and began dating shortly after. Although Vashtie had always been a model and dj, I will admit that her face became more recognizable as she was spotted with Pharrell. Her career also seemed to get a small boost from the press surrounding her relationship, but that is as far as I will go in regards to dissecting the benefits of her relationship. My roommate’s co-workers however, kept going. They made the case that if it hadn’t have been for her relationship, she would have just been another New Yorker trying to make it, hence why they did not like her.
I ventured into the short tale about Vashtie’s rise to fame and her relationship to dive into my frustrations with this logic and thought process. Why is it that women’s careers can only be defined by their relationship with men? Like I said, Kola’s career definitely blossomed during her relationship and I would assume there are some public benefits of dating some one famous, but it is an overall injustice to women’s characters and work ethic to label a relationship as the sole factor in igniting their career.
Why is it that women’s careers can only be defined by their relationship with men?
The debate between my roommate and I sprung from our different perspectives. She heard her co-workers preaching about the unfairness of being famous and beloved primarily because of who you know or date. I heard her male co-workers bringing down a woman by chalking her success up to her sexual and romantic history. Sure, there are times where we dissect celebrities careers and criticize some that seem unworthy of fame. The Kardashians are often in this discussion, and while I sometimes have a contradicting perspective on their infamous careers, I was quick to stand up in this debate.
If a woman demonstrates her creative genius and professionalism, is it fair to cloud all of her strengths with her past? I don’t think so. Admittedly, I am a fan of Vashtie and in that sense, was able to testify to her talents as a dj, designer, and creative. But for other women who find their success being labelled a result of their romantic circumstances, it is unfair to take away the sweat and hard work that stands behind them.
Women shouldn’t have to control who they fall in bed with or date in fear of having their success downplayed. Why can’t they date a celebrity and be commended for their own work, even if their face becomes more recognizable as a result of their relationship? There a couple of celebrities I would love to date. And while I’m sure Drake is not looking my way, I would hope that my success with anything I pursue wouldn’t be credited to my relationship. It’s time to start judging women’s work as we do men’s: by it’s merit, content, and quality.