Another day, another heated interaction between two celebrities on social media. Gigi Hadid took to Twitter after YouTube star Jake Paul came after her boyfriend, former One Direction heartthrob Zayn Malik. The story starts when Paul described running into Malik several times at a boxing match in Las Vegas.
The alleged encounter wasn’t very pleasant, as Paul tweeted shortly after “Almost had to clap up zane from 1 direction because he is a little guy and has an attitude and basically told me to f**k off for no reason when I was being nice to him ... ”
Hadid, who recently reconciled with Malik after being on and off with him for years, clapped back in a merciless tweet. She replied to Paul’s tweet: “Lol cause he doesn't care to hang w you and your embarrassing crew of YouTube groupies ... ? Home alone with his best friends like a respectful king cause he has me, sweetie.”
Many fans online applauded Hadid for her response, as Paul has been involved in controversial acts in the past. Fans thoroughly enjoyed seeing Hadid roasting Paul, making comical memes about it. Paul’s ex-girlfriend and fellow YouTube star even chimed in to back up Hadid’s response.
Hadid isn’t known for making mean-spirited posts on social media, so this definitely sparked waves in the media. There are many instances where female artists and entertainers have been praised for raising their voice to express disapproval over certain topics.
For example, the internet loved when Halsey clapped back at a fan for repeatedly screaming her ex’s name at a pre-Super Bowl concert in Miami earlier this year. She told the fan “you're not going to disrespect me like that at my own show” and posted later on her Instagram story that women shouldn't feel “crazy or unhinged” for standing up for themselves.
Another instance that everyone lived for is when model and actress Cara Delevingne shot back at Justin Bieber for saying she was his least favorite out of his wife Hailey Bieber’s friends on "The Late Late Show with James Corden." Bieber later said he had “nothing against those people.”
Delevingne posted the clip of Bieber’s segment on the show and a couple of throwback pictures with him, joking in the caption “If you have nothing against me, then why don’t you unblock me?”
While all these women have merit in their responses, they have much more leeway in their public commentary. Hadid, Halsey and Delevingne, being white women, are excused from the labels that are often placed on women of color when they speak out.
When Nicki Minaj coined the infamous phrase “Miley, what’s good?” at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, after Miley Cyrus spoke negatively about her during an interview in response to her debacle with Taylor Swift, gossip outlets proceeded to depict Minaj as the bad guy, placing aggressive images of her next to pleasant photos of Cyrus.
This all started because Minaj expressed her disappointment over her hit “Anaconda” not being nominated for Video of the Year prior to the award show. Her tweets were perceived as mean and aggressive, and Minaj eventually shared the reasoning behind her comments.
Minaj explained to MTV that if Cyrus was going associate herself with Black culture, using Black people in her videos and performances, she should also care about the issues regarding the lack of representation they face.
“The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects Black women makes me feel like you have some big balls,” she said.
Serena Williams’s infamous outburst at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Tennis Championships was also sensationalized as Williams "overreacting" and being "hysterical." At the game, Williams accused the umpire of being sexist toward her, calling him a thief for stealing a point from her. She received a game penalty for her comments and lost minutes later to her opponent Naomi Osaka. She later stopped her supporters from booing and voiced positive comments about Osaka and the way she played.
While Williams, who works tirelessly to master her craft, was standing up for women’s rights and empowerment, she was villainized for the way she reacted. This, among many other scenarios, speaks to the difference between white women and women of color in how they are perceived in the media and by the general public.
Female empowerment has a history of favoring white women, and we as a society should strip ourselves from the biases we have against women of color, so that all voices can be heard.