Roxane Gay writes in the feminist tome of 2014, Bad Feminist, about how her love for problematic music such as “Blurred Lines” makes her, well, a bad feminist:
“As much as it pains me to admit, I like these songs. They make me want to dance. I want to sing along. They are delightful pop confections. But. I enjoy the songs the way I have to enjoy most music—I have to forget I am a sentient being. I have to lighten up.”
Ahh, the catch cry of offensive joke tellers and sexist comment makers everywhere: lighten up.
I recently compiled a list of my favourite songs for personal purposes and while the list is only small it does consist solely of male artists, and not wholly unproblematic ones at that: INXS, Fine Young Cannibals, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams.
I’ve written here before about having to detach yourself from the more troublesome aspects of pop culture in order to consume it lest you become a hermit. Like Gay, this is the same attitude I have to take when it comes to music, especially the kind you want to get down to in the club (which I do when it comes to all of the above. To be more specific, they are “Need You Tonight”, “She Drives Me Crazy”, “Chop Me Up” and “Beautiful” respectively. The fact that they focus primarily on the sexual attraction of women or a particular woman is fodder for a whole ’nother blog post.). It’s unfortunate that the music that has the sickest beats also had the sickest attitude to women. And other minorities. And crime. And violence… The list goes on.
Related: Baby, It’s a Wild World: Navigating Pop Culture as a Feminist.
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”: “ironic objectification” or just plain degradation? Apparently, because Thicke and collaborator Pharrell Williams are “happily married”, it makes it okay for them to derive pleasure from degrading women (Thicke’s words). While there are certainly much worse images and acts of misogyny out there, “Blurred Lines” is lyrically and visually blatantly upholding rape culture: “I know you want it, but you’re a good girl…” Does the fact that it was directed by a woman who instructed the basically—and uncomfortably—naked models and the fully clothed male artists in the clip supposedly love women make it a tongue in cheek exercise in pushing boundaries or raise some more problematic issues considering it’s this country’s number one song? What’s the point in even making such a NSFW video if it can’t even be shown on MTV and YouTube (semi-SFW video above)? [Jezebel]
Dear Julia Gillard,
Thank you for being the first female Prime Minister,
Mia Freedman. [MamaMia]
The rise and rise of feminist parodies. [Daily Life]
What are the differences between women who receive abortions and those who are denied them and proceed with unwanted pregnancies? [NYTimes]
Screw the “armchair commentators”; you know what your feminism is. [The Guardian]
Julia Gillard urges us to vote for Julia Gillard in spite of the sexist attacks against her (obviously written prior to Wednesday’s ousting). Kind of like that comment about her jackets, Germaine…? [The Hoopla]
Is Miley Cyrus’ latest black culture-inspired gimmick akin to a minstrel show? [Jezebel]
This week in inappropriate fashion spreads: hoarder chic. [Jezebel]
Ranking Stephen King’s 62 books. [Vulture]