Toxic relationships in the public eye: Cardi B and Offset

Am I really writing about Cardi B? Apparently so.

The 26 year-old rapper has seen somewhat of a eventful year. From her feud with fellow female rapper Nicki Minaj, the explosion in her popularity, to the birth of her daughter, Kulture. Unfortunately, it’s all been underpinned by an increasingly tumultuous relationship with 27 year-old rapper Offset.

Now I’m not really a fan of Cardi B. I’m going to say that before anything else. Not particularly a fan of her music, her style, or her behaviour in general. I would never stick up for her if someone was talking shit about her near me. In fact, I would probably laugh and join in. I ain’t no Perez Hilton and this isn’t E! News or Daily Mail, but I feel like at this point we really need to talk about Cardi, her safety, and what this whole thing really says about us.

We need to talk about the toxic relationship between them, and how it’s become so public. Offset cheated on her multiple times during their relationship, and now he’s trying his best to win her back. He’s got videos posted to his Instagram, dumb tweets like ‘FUCK YALL I MISS CARDI’ plastered on his Twitter, and most recently he interrupted one of her shows to put up a backdrop of $15,000 worth of flowers on her stage, begging her to take him back.

This might be sweet and cute if, 1. he hadn’t cheated on her (did I mention, multiple times?), and 2. if she hadn’t already turned down his apologies and advances.

The big problem here is that the Offset’s behaviour is obsessive. The even bigger problem is that we’re allowing all of this to go on happily in the public eye, and we’re making it seem like it’s hella nice of him.

It’s harassment. Crashing Cardi B’s performance reeks of ‘I want you to give me attention, so here I am taking all the attention away from you and having it on me’. At the end of the day, that stage is Cardi B’s job. Offset is harassing her at work. And the unfortunate fact is, most of the coverage that came from this show was focused on Offset’s gesture rather than Cardi’s performance.

Cardi B is being expected to do the emotional labour of this whole problem. She has to deal with the cheating, the breakup, and with the pressure to take him back, whilst Offset can pull a few strings, type a few tweets, and expect redemption from his infidelity. In a since deleted post, Cardi B said ‘Violating my baby’s father is not going to make me feel any better, because at the end of the day, that’s still family. Unfortunately we going through things, and it’s not private, it became public. And I just want things to die down.’ She is being forced to stand in the grey, on an issue that could not be more black and white.

The whole thing is seemingly sprinkled with tons of misogyny. In literal terms, Offset is trying to be the centre of attention when Cardi B’s career is thriving, especially on that stage. Is this just the beginning of what might become a tirade of ‘fuck Cardi B’? It’s classic toxic masculinity for a guy to firstly try persistently, and then become violently angry when a woman rejects his advances. Offset’s tweet (below) also suggests that he’s mad she didn’t forgive him on the spot, and he expected the consequences of his interruption to be different. Is Cardi B’s message of ‘I just want things to die down’ a cry for help, suggesting that she is scared of Offset lashing out at her?

Publicity isn’t helping the whole thing, and is only adding to the concentration of the misogyny at play. Public figures such as 50 Cent and T.I. have come out in support for Offset. The Game said ‘I feel like these days, relationships, the family environment of old is slowly fading away and you guys amongst others n the ones I named above serve as super dope examples for this new generation of growing couples to remain solid and really stay true to those wedding vows ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART.’ He is basically asking Cardi B to forgive Offset like they did in the old days, just to preserve the family unit that the couple have. Because apparently, even in 2018, it is up to the woman to keep the family together whilst the guy does everything to mess it up. Bro, back in the day, women found it much more difficult to get a divorce, and men used to beat them up with few consequences. Still happens now, do we blame the whole ‘back in the day’ kind of thinking? Please take your mindset back to the 1900s and leave it there.

Cardi B expressed her worry about the consequences of what this ‘bullying’ might do to Offset. She said ‘Just earlier, you just saw how Pete Davidson was talking about how he don't even wanna be on this earth because mad people be coming to him every single day’, after he posted a suicidal message following bullying he faced following his breakup with Ariana Grande. Another case of babying the guy and thinking about his wellbeing before yours. Cardi, if Offset thinks it’s okay to jeopardise your relationship with multiple counts of cheating, what makes you think he cares about your emotional wellbeing? Why are you so willingly becoming a product of the misogyny that you are clearly a victim of?

Offset’s behaviour towards Cardi B is steeped in misogynistic thinking. Not only does he view Cardi B as his doll to manipulate first and then appease, but he views women as objects in general, feeding his ego with how many women he is able to woo. From expensive diamond rings, to flowers and grand sorries, Offset refuses to acknowledge the emotional complexity of the matter and of his now-estranged wife, and believes that material gestures can cover up his wrongdoings.

All of this has happened in full view of the public eye. Social media has only served to make us all hyper-speculative of this relationship. Whilst a majority of Cardi B fans have slammed Offset for interrupting her Rolling Loud headline performance, the debate on whether Cardi B should take him back or not has desensitised the main issue at hand - the nature of this toxic relationship. Why are we more focused on what Offset is doing to get her back, rather than whether Cardi B is okay and why she isn’t getting legal help? And since when did I become so bothered about celebrity relationships? The telltale signs of an unhealthy relationship are being played out in public for all of us to see, and whilst we might be recognising these signs, I’m bothered because we’re not really doing anything to address them, and instead we just seem all-too-happy watching the drama unfold.