This past weekend, Atlanta rapper Offset interrupted Cardi’s performance at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles and begged her to take him back. He walked onstage with a bouquet of flowers and a cake that read “TAKE ME BACK CARDI”. The Atlanta based rapper grabbed a microphone and said, “I just want to tell you I’m sorry, bruh. In person. In front of the world.”
When I watched the video, my eyes rolled so hard I got a headache. Whatever Cardi said in response to Offset was inaudible, but it’s clear that she was not amused by the public display of tomfoolery, but rather uncomfortable. Offset left the stage and Cardi had to take a minute. But when she came back, she finished her set strong.
The main things that everyone knows about their relationship are that they have a baby and that Offset has cheated on Cardi… a lot. Earlier this month, Cardi took a stand and finally separated from Offset, amidst rumors he had cheated yet again.
— Complex (@Complex) December 16, 2018
When it happened, I felt happy that she saw what she needed to do and hoped that she realized that she deserved to have someone that treated her with love and respect. Many fans felt that way, but there were also a lot of fans who felt she needed to talk to Offset and stick by him (it was actually mostly men that felt this way).
Hollywood and society have painted a picture for men. That if they try hard, and show great feats of effort, they can convince a woman to say “yes,” no matter how many times they’ve already said “no.” Some of you reading this might think I’m reaching but, to me, this a form of coercion. Pressuring someone to go out with you, or take you back after you’ve done something crappy, isn’t okay. It shows a lack of respect for that person’s boundaries.
Take one of the most popular romcoms on the planet, The Notebook. When I first saw the movie at 13, I remember whispering the words “say yes” to Allie when Noah threatened to jump off the Ferris wheel if she didn’t go out with him. I thought the whole thing was so romantic.
Cut to around ten years later. Obviously, I had grown up, been in relationships and when I watched the movie again, I realized just how creepy Noah was. He didn’t respect the fact that Allie was with someone else. That she had already given her answer of “no”. And when it wasn’t going in his favor, he made her feel guilty by saying he was going to kill himself. She finally said yes. They fight constantly, get physical with each other, but in the end, they fought for each other; and that’s all that matters because they end up happily ever after.
But here’s the thing that Offset and countless other men don’t seem to understand: forcing yourself into the space of someone who wants nothing to do with you is abuse and coercion. No matter how many movies there are of men doing this, it’s not cute and it’s not romantic; It’s creepy, toxic and borderline psychotic. What Offset and the people who support him need to understand is that he is the one who messed up. He is the one that betrayed Cardi’s trust by not keeping it in his pants. And Cardi doesn’t owe him anything. — not her forgiveness, not her sympathy and sure as hell not this “ride or die” attitude that so many people have when it comes to relationships. Artists like 50 Cent and T.I. need to stay off her Instagram and stop telling her to “come home”.
If Cardi decides to get back together with Offset, that’s her choice. And if she does, I feel as though it will continue the cycle that men can beg and plead their way back into a woman’s life that they’ve hurt. We, as a society need to get out of this mentality that no matter how badly someone hurts you, they deserve a second chance.
Sadly, it’s women that are expected to uphold this mentality. Because everyone knows, if the tables were turned and Cardi was the one cheating on Offset constantly, people would call her a “ho” and a “slut”. They would most likely urge Offset to leave her.
So why are women expecting to be the doormats in situations like this? It’s a question that I’m not expecting you to answer right away, but to just think about it. Because, in a way, we’re expecting them to take emotional abuse. That’s what it is. Emotional abuse. And it’s going to continue to happen until more people say “enough”.
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Photo: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.