Ariana Grande’s song “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” has received mixed reactions and generated several theories. The general response to the song is that it’s 1) catchy and deserves to top music charts; and 2) promotes self-love just like “Thank U, Next.”
But not everyone sees the song as the latter, including me. Many have also pointed out that it promotes cheating as it implies that the persona in the song wants her crush to break up with someone so they can be together.
"break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" is gross sorry title pa lang mali na + the lyrics are so fucking basic and it may encourage cheating or sabotaging relationships DAMN is this the fate of the music industry? will delete in 5
— gab (@gabrieIIius) February 8, 2019
How did Ariana grande release a song this week titled “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored” and is CELEBRATED meanwhile Taylor is still being dragged for Girl At Home 6 years ago about girl code and women sticking together against cheating men we-
— Rachel (@taylortrivia13) February 10, 2019
The general public isn't going to analyze the lyrics and the music video to find a deeper meaning.
By making Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored a single, Ariana Grande is normalizing "stealing" other people's partners, as well as cheating.
— Exposing Ariana (@therealgrande_) February 9, 2019
Wait how is "break up with your girlfriend, im bored" about self-love? Is it just the MV or the stans trying to defend it because the lyrics are still pretty damn clear re: what it's about
— modern-day hippie (@trishaobannon) February 9, 2019
This caused a back-and-forth about how skeptics should watch the music video it ~totally~ is about self-love. Because, as you can see, Ariana tries to get close to a couple and while she sings about breaking up with a girlfriend, she ends up almost kissing her doppelgänger in the video. It’s a not-so-subtle hint that Ariana is “choosing herself” over some boy. (Likewise, she’s also being accused of queerbaiting.)
There are also some theories that Ariana’s singing “Break Up With Your Girlfriend” to ex-fiancé Pete Davidson. According to one fan, it’s a song “asking Pete to break up with her so she can love herself.”
@ArianaGrande I think “Break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored” is asking Pete to break up with her so she can love herself…u guys are probably like duuuh but I haven’t seen anyone say that before..chill
— Arianator101 (@Arianator10111) February 12, 2019
However, it’s a flawed argument considering that not all song meanings are reflected in music videos, and vice versa. If people never watched the video or have put it aside for a more balanced critique, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend” basically has a “steal-your-girlfriend” vibe if you read the lyrics carefully. In no way does it indicate that it’s about self-love. The lines “I know it ain’t right / But I don’t care / Break up with your girlfriend / Yeah, yeah, ’cause I’m bored” and “You could say I’m hatin’ if you want to / But I only hate her ’cause I want you” in particular don’t sit well with many because of their cheating implications.
The popular response to this is that people simply don’t want Ariana to succeed because there are similar songs like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” which are equally well-loved. That’s a fair statement, but it also shouldn’t exclude “Break Up With You Girlfriend” since, as they said, they have similar themes.
Before stans come after me with virtual pitchforks, let me just say this: I understand your POV that it’s about self-love based on the music video—it’s a valid argument and I don’t discredit that. I can also see how Ariana created this narrative out of a fun idea. But when someone has an opposing opinion, the knee-jerk reaction shouldn’t be, “You hate Ariana because you’re from another fandom and blah-blah-blah!!!” You should think of it as useful criticism for someone as influential as Ariana. You have to consider that there’ll always be different interpretations. Plus, the world has enough problems for people to fight over the many ways they understand a pop song.
Art by Marian Hukom
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