How We Should Be Talking About Tyga and Men Who Prey on Underaged Girls

26 year old Tyga is currently involved in yet another controversy involving an underaged girl. And we need to talk about why this shouldn’t be a thing.

Speculation that Cali rapper, Tyga, and Kylie Jenner were dating began in 2014 when Kylie was still 16 years old. Tyga was 24 at the time. They are still together. And not only did he embark on a relationship in Jenner while she was still underaged (although they did not go public with their relationship until her 18th birthday last August) he did so under super shady circumstances. During Tyga’s relationship with Blacc Chyna, who is also the mother of his son, she and Kim Kardashian were friends. So if you’re following this, he left his then-fiancé to be with her friend’s underaged little sister. People like me have been throwing Tyga a well deserved side eye, while media outlets have normalized and romanticized Tyga and Kylie’s relationship.

In December, a celebrity news outlet published a story claiming that Tyga was romantically involved with an underaged girl via text. The report was framed as a cheating scandal between he and Kylie, with Molly O’Malia’s age used only as a detail to sensationalize the story. As a result of the way O’Malia was represented, she and her lawyer held a press conference where she disclosed that Tyga made initial contact with her on Instagram. She had thought that Tyga was interested in her music and was reaching out professionally as a fellow artist. O’Malia claimed that she felt uncomfortable, however, when Tyga asked her to Facetime multiple times and she ended the communication. Tyga has responded to these allegations by admitting that he reached out to O’Malia, but in a strictly professional context. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps this was about more than a poor display of personal ethics on Tyga’s part. Based on personal experience, the rapper’s behavior resembles a problematic trend where men target underaged girls knowing that they aren’t likely to encounter any repercussions or resistance from outsiders. It’s a situation that I, and too many others I know, have had to navigate.

It could be true that Tyga’s only mistake was opting out of a more professional means of soliciting music from O’Malia (i.e. via email or her management). It could be the case that at best, Tyga is immature: consistently engaging teenagers as if they are his peers. But at worst, he could be a certified creep who reaches out to underaged girls in ways that don’t seem immediately threatening but could serve as attempts to groom them. But what stands out to me is that our culture is more invested in victim blaming, shaming, and sensationalizing tired romance tropes than holding grown ass men accountable. I have my own extremely difficult, but nuanced understanding of teenaged consent – one that does not strip young people of their decision making ability when it comes to sex, but simultaneously acknowledges that adults seeking that consent are inappropriate, out of line, and often outside of the law. And for the record, I am not here to make any claims about Tyga’s intentions with O’Malia. But when media outlets and observers are more interested in poking holes in O’Malia’s account, like the fact that she claimed to be 17 instead of 14, or questioning if she actually ever felt uncomfortable with Tyga at all, we can’t count on him to be held accountable if he did have ill intentions.

Even in the absence of physical or verbal violence or inappropriateness, people have a right to feel uncomfortable and do something about it. While it’s never too early to learn how to set boundaries, 14 year old girls should not have to establish and enforce them with adult men. That is a story angle worth covering.

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Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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