If, like me, you watched the five proposals that took place during the recent Olympics in Rio and felt that what should have been a proud moment celebrating years of hard work and dedication was overshadowed by their partner’s need to take some of the credit, or lay claim to their prize in public, then Chinese diver Qin Kai’s proposal to his silver medalist girlfriend He Zi, during her medal ceremony would have proven a particularly uncomfortable viewing.
Despite the fact that she said “yes,” this one, of all the public declarations of love, felt inappropriate. This was compounded by the fact that He Zi herself seemed less than jubilant at the sudden interruption of what was probably already the best moment of her life. Qin’s storming of the stage during his girlfriend’s well-deserved moment of celebration, whatever the intent, stole focus from all of the medalists and threw the spotlight on a man during these women’s big moments — not to mention that Qin Kai had enjoyed his own interruption-free ceremony earlier that day when he won a bronze medal.
This is not the only time that a man has stolen a woman’s thunder. In fact there are several times when men have seen fit to jump in and take credit for women’s accomplishments, or steal focus during their big moment.
1. Kanye and Taylor
No one can forget the time that Kanye West stormed the stage at the 2009 Video Music Awards and interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. Mistakenly believing that he was in charge of deciding which woman should get the accolade, the rapper took the microphone from a fresh faced T-Swizz and claimed Beyonce had “one of the best videos of all time.” This was a claim which the VMAs clearly seconded as they awarded her Video of the Year, later that night. Beyonce then donated her time on stage to Taylor, effectively meaning that two famous females were denied their moment of glory thanks to Yeezy.
But it was earlier this year that Kanye really stole Tay Tay’s thunder. On his track “Famous” the rapper claimed that Swift’s career and position as one of the most successful pop stars of all time was actually all thanks to him, claiming “I made that b**** famous.” Luckily, Taylor got revenge earlier this year, ironically during her acceptance speech after winning a Grammy for “Album of the Year,” saying:
“I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment.”
2. Laura Olin and the Men of Twitter
During Hillary Clinton’s historic acceptance of the Democratic nomination a few weeks ago, writer and Democratic strategist Laura Olin tweeted a clever meme summing up the importance of the last two Democratic candidates for diversity in the otherwise old, male and pale lineup. However, it was widely noted that shortly after that, many men started to post the exact same tweet, without crediting Laura as the source.
Twitter etiquette demands that original content is credited, and the irony of a woman posting a celebration of women’s accomplishments only for it to be stolen and posted by a man, was not lost on the rest of twitter.
What would a list of men being unfair to women be without a reference to Donald Trump? In his 2011 book, Trump claimed that he had “at least something to do with” the phenomenal success of singer Lady Gaga. He claimed that: “She became a big star and maybe she became a star because I put her on the Miss Universe pageant. It’s very possible, who knows what would have happened without it, because she caused a sensation.”
Not only is this a completely deluded view of his influence, but also a completely skewed understanding of his audience base, as it is debatable that many would-be “Little Monsters” tuned into the Miss Universe pageant.
Featured photo credit: Eva Rinaldi via flickr.com