On Friday, news broke that Mac Miller had died of a suspected overdose in his California home. As his peers, such as Chance the Rapper and Kehlani, mourned him, fans were quick to react. While some expressed grief, countless fans reacted with anger. And much of this anger has been directed towards Miller’s ex, Ariana Grande.
Blaming anyone’s ex for the outcome of their life is short sighted and reductive. People are made up of more than their relationships, and emotional codependency, when taken to an extreme, is deeply unhealthy. I’ve had toxic exes who told me that they would ‘die without me’ or that they would ‘have no reason to live’ if I left them. Does that make me a bad person for putting myself first and walking away?
Grande has spoken out about Miller’s struggle with sobriety and the pressure that this put on her and her own mental health. Expecting anyone, man or woman, to take full responsibility for another person’s wellbeing is at best, naïve, and at worst, manipulative. I don’t need to put words in Grande’s mouth, she summed it up perfectly when she said ‘blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem.’
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 35. Men accounted for almost two thirds of alcohol related deaths in the UK in 2016. While Miller’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed, it’s clear that his mental health was declining. Attacking a woman who used to be involved with Miller, rather than actually creating a useful dialogue around male mental health, is not only blatantly misogynistic, but also incredibly unhelpful.
Women are not responsible for the inner lives of their significant others. Of course, a healthy partnership is supportive and loving, but women have their own shit to deal with. Expecting women to be free therapists for their partners damages everyone in the process, and fails to take the mental issues men face seriously.
If you want to blame anyone for Miller’s death, blame addiction and blame the patriarchy. Men are consistently taught to bottle up their feelings, to use substance abuse as a means of escape, to drown any emotions they have in violence or alcohol. If Miller’s death makes you angry, focus your energies on changing our perceptions of masculinity. By blaming Grande, all you’re doing is reinforcing the negative stereotypes that damage male mental health in the first place.
The hatred towards Grande does nothing but support the idea that men are emotionally incompetent beings, who need a woman’s soft touch to rescue them from themselves. Perpetuating this kind of ideology helps no one but the coroner.