Story at a glance

  • The “Summertime Sadness” singer struck a nerve this morning with social media users after writing an angry message on her Instagram, saying critics have accused her of “glamorizing abuse.”
  • Del Rey drew a self-comparison to artists such as Beyonce and Ariana Grande, saying that they “have had their number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f------, cheating etc.”
  • Critics are furious that the artist used predominantly female artists of color to try and make her point, saying her ignorance is a byproduct of white privilege.

Singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, who rose to fame after the success of her first self-titled album, made waves on Thursday after she wrote a long text-only post on her Instagram account, hitting back at her critics who she says have “crucified” her and accused her of “glamorizing abuse.”

Del Rey is being criticized for comparing herself in the same note to other successful female musical artists, all of whom are women of color. 

“Question for the culture,” Del Rey wrote. “Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f------, cheating etc — can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money — or whatever I want — without being crucified or saying that I’m glamorizing abuse?????? [sic]”

Many of those criticizing Del Rey for her comments on social media and elsewhere have argued that the musical artist wrote her note through the lens of white privilege, not realizing that the hard-earned success of these other female artists should not be compared to her own struggles.


“I’m fed up with female writers and alt singers saying that I glamorize abuse when in reality I’m just a glamorous person singing about the realities of what we are all now seeing are very prevalent abusive relationships all over the world,” Del Rey continued, adding that she thinks it’s “pathetic” that the way she’s detailed her own descriptions of her “submissive or passive roles in my past relationships has often made people say I’ve set women back hundreds of years.”

Del Rey went on to say that she is “not not a feminist,” but that there should be a place in feminism for women who “look and act” like her, “the kind of woman who says no but men hear yes — the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being their authentic, delicate selves, The kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women.”

Fans of the artists Del Rey named have been quick to point out the interesting timing of her post — Beyoncé, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj all made music history last week with their recent collaborations, becoming the first black women solo-artists to occupy the No. 1 and 2 spots on the Billboard Hot 100. The song “Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber also currently holds Billboard’s top spot.

Many critics believe Del Rey could have made her point without comparing herself to other female artists and say that she exhibited ignorance by insinuating that the artists she named have not incurred criticism of their own.

Del Rey also added that she would be “detailing” some of her feelings in her next two books of poetry, the proceeds of which she says will go to Native American foundations, as well as her new album which comes out this September. 

Published on May 21, 2020