Nick Jonas' new song, 'Jealous,' declares: 'It’s my right to be hellish'

Nick Jonas, for those who don’t care know, is a guy who sings songs for people who aren’t 80 years old like me — girls, in particular. The internet informs me that he has a new song out called “Jealous” that’s creeptastic. Written about his girlfriend, Olivia Culpo (former Miss Universe), it’s basically a defense of out of control, aggressive behaviour couched in what we are to believe is flattery.

As we’ve discussed recently with regard to Oscar Pistorius and common behaviours displayed by abusive men, extreme jealousy is a red flag.

The language Jonas uses in the song is pretty frightening, to be honest, referencing obsessiveness, possessiveness, and “hellish” behaviour, using his girlfriend’s “sexiness” as an excuse.

I don’t like the way he’s looking at you
​I’m starting to think you want him too
​Am I crazy, ​have I lost ya?
​Even though I know you love me, can’t help it
​​​I turn my cheek music up
​And I’m puffing my chest
​I’m getting ready to face you
​Can call me obsessed
​It’s not your fault that they hover
​I mean no disrespect
​It’s my right to be hellish
​I still get jealous

Cause you’re too sexy, beautiful
​And everybody wants a taste
​That’s why (that’s why)
​I still get jealous

“​It’s my right to be hellish,” he says. Ummm NOPE. No. It isn’t. I don’t give a shit how hot your girlfriend is. Men have tried that crap on me, too. “You’re just so beautiful — all these guys want you,” etc. So what? So your girlfriend is attractive, so other men look at her — that doesn’t justify behaving like a controlling, ragey, psycho. And the fact that other men might objectify your girlfriend, find her attractive or even, you know, want to talk to her like some form of human-type being, doesn’t mean she is going to cheat on you. What’s behind this kind of sentiment is ownership and control, not flattery.

What’s particularly creepy about the lyrics is that we’re supposed to see them as romantic. These lyrics aren’t romantic at all, though. Rather, they sound  threatening as hell.

Jonas said in a recent interview with MTV News:

“I’m with my girl and [some other guys are] looking at her and I was like, I’ve just been training for three months how to be a real fighter for a TV show and I could hurt you now. It was a moment when I was like, I’ve got to write about that because the fact that I got so passionate about it so quickly means that there is a song there.”

So “passionate.” He’s framing violence as “passion” — danger, danger!

But this, of course, is how we are taught to understand “romance” — male aggression, violence, jealousy, control, possessiveness — these are all characteristics we’re told are signs that a man “loves” us. That wanting to have us all to himself is “love” and that acting out violently or aggressively to “protect” that which is “his” is “passion.”

​I wish you didn’t have to post it all
​I wish you’d save a little bit just for me
​Protective or possessive, yeah
​Call it passive or aggressive​

Ugh. No. An ex of mine once asked me, accusingly “why do have to wear low-cut shirts?” I responded by asking him if he was from the 50s and told him never to comment on my or any other woman’s clothing ever again — that it was none of his concern what I wore. But this is it, right? Men who see their girlfriends and wives as things they own also, naturally, believe no other man should be able to look at their body parts. Those body parts are his body parts. Flattering, right? Romantic, right? Wrong.

It’s always couched in flattery — “you’re just too sexy, beautiful” — but the bottom line is that these kinds of lines excuse male aggression, control, and violence. They “can’t control themselves” because they love you so much, because they want to “protect you.” That all this is romanticized is pretty sick.

So no, Nick Jonas — it isn’t “your right to be hellish.” Stop teaching the young girls who listen to your music that obsession, aggression, and possessiveness is “romantic.” It’s dangerous.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.