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ENTANGLED: Jada, Will Smith, August Alsina and Gender Double Standards


ENTANGLED: Jada, Will Smith, August Alsina and Gender Double Standards

If Will was female, he’d be told that “men are like that”, that it’s in their nature to be sexual therefore we must excuse their promiscuity. He’d be told to pray about it, stemming from men’s portrayal as being naturally unable to control their sexual behaviour, therefore only God can intervene.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and August Alsina: we’ve seen the memes, we’ve seen August’s interview and the Smiths’ Red Table Talk, and we’ve been blessed with the word “entanglement” which perfectly describes many regrettable or messy situations. For instance, I am in an entanglement with my academics. I’m also in an entanglement with my natural hair—I get that I have kinky hair, but the knots and dryness are bullying.

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Memes say women defending Jada are for the streets—no, we are not for the streets, we’re for common sense.
Let’s untangle the gender double standards seen in the reaction to Jada’s entanglement with August.

1. Open Relationships

‘Non-monogamy at its most basic is a relationship that involves more than two people. “Ethical” non-monogamy implies that all parties are being treated respectfully, and that enthusiastic consent to the arrangement has been given by everyone involved.’

Whether you like it or not, monogamy isn’t for everyone; some couples trust each other enough to know what they do with other people doesn’t affect their feelings for each other. These relationships are based on transparency, honesty, communication, trust, and respect–and that’s what Will and Jada have.

Some couples primarily love each other but get bored easily so would like to explore their sexuality in a transparent environment. Some are sexually monogamous but romantically polyamorous. Some are bisexuals/pansexuals who love their partners but can’t fathom being exclusively sexually involved with one gender. Some have an asexual partner, so their relationship is solely romantic while the non-asexual partner can be sexually involved with others provided it’s strictly physical.

It’s worth reading about polyamory to truly understand that it’s more complex then “just wanting an excuse to cheat.” So really, y’all should stop judging Jada and Will’s relationship—while they’re polyamorous, some of you are in open relationships and don’t even know it. While they’re open with each other, your boyfriend’s heart is entangled with 5 other girls’.

When this drama started, before the Red Table Talk, people on Twitter were tripping about the idea that Jada and Will Smith are in an open marriage. But the concern was less about an open marriage, and more about Will allowing Jada to get involved with other men. Non-monogamy is okay, but not when a woman is doing it.

The people making noise probably have some uncle in Gokwe who has seven wives and twenty children but why don’t people judge that situation? Say it with your chest that you believe men can be non-monogamous but women mustn’t. Then say it with your chest that you’re a hypocritical toenail of satan. Some of your fathers have a soccer team of children you don’t know exist. We’ve seen your fathers at night clubs and wonder, don’t they have other things to do besides blessing 20 year-olds—like planning their pension plan or buying their arthritis medication or something. At least the Smiths are transparent with each other.

2. Double standards on infidelity

Society is accepting of non-monogamy in men, but when a woman does it, she’s a hoe. Which is ironic because women are sexualized all their lives; our bodies are sexualized, our confidence is sexualized, our shyness is sexualized, our intelligence is sexualized, our lack of it is sexualized—but once a woman is sexual, she is demonized.

Remember when Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé, a literal goddess? The very men condemning Jada Smith for getting entangled with August during a break with Will Smith, are the ones who were defending Jay-Z. They were saying, “he’s only human, he made a mistake” but now that it’s a woman, where’s that energy?

Remember when Offset cheated on Cardi B and men defended him? But if Cardi B cheated, you’d say dumb things like, “you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” When Tristan Thomas cheated on Khloe Kardashian, we heard the sound of crickets on male twitter. Then there’s Future cheating on every partner ever. These events have always been dismissed as no biggie, and they’ve never been blown out of proportion the way Jada’s entanglement was. Yet Jada got entangled with August during a split, and within the context of their presumably open marriage, unlike the men above. She didn’t do anything wrong.

Suppose Jada and Will weren’t in an open marriage and she actually cheated on him, no, I wouldn’t support it. I’m simply saying society needs to resolve its normalization of disloyal men but demonization of disloyal women. Women are judged based on their sexual acts but men aren’t. Women’s virtues and redeeming qualities are erased once they’re promiscuous but men’s remain untarnished.

3. If Will Smith Were Female

Here’s what would happen if Will Smith was a woman.

If Will was female, he’d be told that “men are like that”, that it’s in their nature to be sexual therefore we must excuse their promiscuity. He’d be told to pray about it, stemming from men’s portrayal as being naturally unable to control their sexual behaviour, therefore only God can intervene. But God emphasizes that he gave us free will. When y’all tell women to pray instead of telling men to stop cheating, God is like:

If Will Smith were female, you’d tell him to be strong and stay for the children. You’d emphasize his partner’s great qualities and contributions, that his cheating doesn’t define him. If Will was a woman who cheated, you’d judge him based on his sexual behaviour; you’d call him a slut and send him back to his family, forgetting everything else he’s done right. Men will cheat twenty times and society will say the couple must try fix things, but when a woman cheats once, she’s for the streets and must be divorced/dumped.

If Will was female, you’d tell him he’s let himself go and must work on his appearance. You’d say he’s gotten fat—no wonder the husband isn’t attracted to him anymore—although the weight was gained bearing their children.

Imagine women cheating then justifying it by pointing out their husband’s potbelly, his balding head and three-minute sex after which he asks, “did you cum babe?” Yes, I came to the wrong marriage. You’d tell Will it’s his fault, he must apologise, ask Jada what he did wrong and how he can improve for her.

If Will was a woman, you’d say his vagina is now loose from childbirth and sex—he must start using herbs to tighten it because sex isn’t the same for his husband anymore. Not that men are being told to use penis enlargement herbs or whatever.

Honestly, men are not animals whose decision making is solely decided by instinct; like women, they have brains that they can use to make a choice, but they choose not to be loyal, knowing society will excuse them.

4. Was Jada’s Behaviour Predatory?

The last double standard we’ll discuss concerns Jada and August’s entanglement. Many people say if their genders were switched, we’d call Jada’s behaviour predatory.

Firstly, I agree that Jada took advantage of August. He was going through serious physical and mental health problems and reached out to the Smiths for a safe space wherein he could heal. He was at his lowest point, then instead of being a safe space, Jada ended up in his pants. He was just an entanglement to her, yet in his interview, August reveals his deep love for her but ended up cast to the side once she and Will were fine. Yes, she hurt him, but calling her a predator is inaccurate.

Jada was about 44 years-old while August was about 24 years-old. The age difference is huge, but August wasn’t a naïve and innocent teenage boy, he was a grown-ass man who literally sings about sex for a living—he knew what he was getting into. He possibly fantasized about sex with an attractive older woman. He got the short end of the stick in their entanglement, but both of them consented to it for their selfish reasons. There’s a difference being heartbroken and being preyed on. With woke Twitter’s logic, all our exes are predators. The moral of the story is don’t date married people—it will end in tears.

People claim that were their genders switched, people would call Jada a predator, but let’s be honest, society generally accepts men dating younger women more than it accepts cougars. In African societies, many people say women must date older men so they respect them—I’ve heard many women say that and most of our parents have a huge age difference.

In the celeb world, these relationships are common but there’s hardly any criticism of them: Scott Disick was 34 when he started dating 19 year-old Sophia Ritchie but there was no outrage, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Alec Baldwin, Eddie Murphy, Nicholas Cage, then the average age of 44-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends is 22.9—I could go on and on but clearly society has no problem with men dating younger women. If you’ll call Jada a predator, then so are these men, but clearly woke Twitter was just excited to use the entanglement as a “gotcha!” to one-up feminists.

Funnily, August timeously announced his entanglement as he released his new album, “The Product III: StateofEMERGEncy.” What did he gain from airing their dirty laundry? In my opinion, he preyed on his entanglement Jada for publicity and record sales—who’s the victim now?

So dear Woke Twitter, please sit in the naughty corner and think about your double standards.

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When I'm not smashing the patriarchy, I debate, paint, and work on my YA African feminist fantasy novel on Wattpad--which I guess is also smashing the patriarchy. Currently stu(dying) BA Law at University of Pretoria. I may or may not be a mermaid masquerading as a human. Pro-LGBTQ+. I'm just out here not hearing problematic people over the volume of my Afro.

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