Following the news that Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian have been linked together (more specifically, holding hands on a roller coaster - cute), stories of Pete Davidson’s dating past have circulated the internet. And now that Pete and Kim have been spotted following up their first hang-out by having an intimate dinner date, social media has been sent into a storm, with posts celebrating Pete’s ‘game’.
'Pete Davidson needs do a masterclass on how to date up,' writes one user. 'pete davidson's d*ck must be life changing cuz he's everywhere,' writes another.
The fans are excited that Pete seems to attract some incredible, A-list women - including Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale and Kaia Gerber, to name a few. And if the rumours are true, we’re excited for Pete too. Kim Kardashian is beautiful, a great mum, she's training to be a lawyer and her skit on Saturday Night Live (Pete’s place of work) proved she’s also hilarious. Good for Pete!
The short answer is sexism. But let’s explore.
Honestly, I get why people are looking at Pete twice now he’s dated a few (incredible) celebrity women. People with a higher number of partners are more likely to be confident in their needs. Basically, experience is sexy.
But the same encouragement and celebrations don’t seem to apply to women. Just look at how we’ve treated women like Taylor Swift. T-Swift had nine public relationships between 2012 and 2016 while she was in her early twenties. This really isn’t that much when you think about how long four years feels and how everyone is still figuring out what they want when they’re twenty-something. But even if it was more than the average, it had little to do with us.
But even fans of Taylor’s made it a problem. Swift was at the epicentre of public scrutiny for dating multiple men. She spoke about this in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 recently, saying she was unfairly slut-shamed, and it was really difficult for her. ‘That happened to me at a very young age, so that was a bit hard. That was one of the first times I was like, ‘Wow, this is not fair.’’
Taylor adds that she was meant to feel like she was doing something wrong by ‘wanting love, wanting money, wanting success.’
Almost a decade since Taylor first faced this scrutiny, her dating history is still unfairly defining her. In March of this year, the Netflix series Ginny and Georgia made a sexist joke about her dating history.
And it’s not just Taylor. Katy Perry, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston have faced similar criticism from the media and fans, allowing their talents to be eclipsed by their ‘magic number’ at times.
Nothing these women have done in her past dating life has been especially unusual, especially when held up against the male serial daters of the music and film industry. Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, John Mayer (one of Katy Perry’s exes, but no one seems to be bothering him) and of course, Pete Davidson, have all switched up their relationships without having to give reasons to the public. They are admired for their sexual conquests. ‘The Leonardo DiCaprio girlfriend list: The romantic timeline of a serial modelizer’ reads a headline about Leo The Evening Standard. Nobody is using comparisons with Leonardo DiCaprio as an insult. A headline about Pete Davidson reads ‘How Pete Davidson became the Warren Beatty of his generation’ - Beatty was known for dating many, beautiful women.
Regardless of gender, those who are brave enough to subvert regressive ideals by keeping their options open, dating as many people as they would like and moving on to the next new connection when things turn out not to be right for them, should be admired, not shamed. It sets a great example for everyone else to see celebrities bailing when relationships don’t grow in the way they wanted them to and try new things.
We’re not suggesting we start shaming Pete Davidson from tomorrow. In fact, we’d rather all the celebrities - and non-famous daters - were celebrated for keeping their options over and exploring connections with different people while they can.