Hello readers! It appears that you and the blog shall be in my care for the moment. Sarah, because she is a beautiful, independent, woman explorer, is currently in India. Naturally, she cannot have constant access to a computer, and should indulge in her adventures there, and not worry about maintaining the blog. As a result, you’re left with me. So, here I am to bring down the sophisticated tone she created with her last post.
When one first encounters feminism, the usual subjects for discussion are clear – menstruation, abortion, careers etc. However, I’ve taken it upon myself to throw together feminism and music today. This was simply the result of going for a run and realising that I can sing word perfectly ‘Independent Women, Pt. 1’ by Destiny’s Child (Surely as most feminists should? This is the thing you are trained to sing at any moment when you’re initiated in to the clan right?). Singing along to this song made me think about other songs that I could align with feminism. Believe me, there are some anthems out there! So, in Sarah’s absence (time for Rachel to run wild and indulge in ridiculous ideas), lets have a little sing-along!
I would not consider all of these songs below as motivated by feminism, but I think they have their own interesting messages. Upon considering my song choices, I thought that what should be stressed is that I would not consider songs about female superiority to be feminist (or more accurately, in line with my concept of feminism). I feel that feminism should advocate equality between the sexes, and not, as is frequently misunderstood, female superiority. Therefore, I think a song like Beyonce’s ‘Run the World (Girls)’ is not really what I am after. Yes, songs celebrating female experience are great, but at the detriment of men I don’t find them to be that appealing.
Anyway, here is a small collection below for everyone’s listening pleasure.
Destiny’s Child – ‘Independent Women, Pt. 1’
Why not begin with some good old fashioned Destiny’s Child? Beyonce’s first girl band before she decided to take over the planet solo. My sisters and I listened to Destiny’s Child a lot when we were younger – good job mum – we’ve been blasted with notions of female independence from the start. This song, in a straightforward way, promotes financial independence and not relying on the opposite gender. There are so many catchy phrases – perhaps a few to run off to someone at the start of a relationship? I’m having visions of being sat at dinner, giving a sassy finger snap and stating ‘Try to control me boy you get dismissed’. Maybe that’s a little far out…
Christina Aguilera and Lil Kim – ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’
Christina Aguilera has always been a fiery one, so it was no surprise when this gem came out. When you actually listen to the lyrics you realise that it taps in to a number of topics – street harassment, vocal females, respect, liberal female sexuality. This could make coming up with blog ideas easier. I’ll just run through the issues helpfully provided by Christina. Plus, you’ve got to have respect for any singer who can just run off ‘If you look back in history it’s a common double standard of society’ in the middle of a song. Especially when contrasting that with someone like Nicki Minaj calling her enemies ‘stupid hoes’.
Aretha Franklin – ‘Respect’
What a woman. What a song. Hell, this song came to exemplify the feminist movement in the 70s for many. Here’s a woman demanding respect with a fabulous sense of sass. A classier ‘Independent Women, Pt. 1’ shall we say? A sexually aggressive song that understands the want for kisses ‘sweeter than honey’ but demands ‘respect’ at the same time. That’s a woman in control of her life my friends. If anyone wants to channel a little Aretha power just strut along the street with this playing in your ears, you’ll think you’re fabuuuuuulous. (If you see me doing this don’t burst my diva bubble – I know I look like a demented sassy hippo, but I can dream).
Janis Ian – ‘At Seventeen’
This is a sadder song that doesn’t so much enforce feminist ideas, as tap in to a little of what Sarah and I discussed in the introduction to this blog, and in to Caitlin Moran’s overarching idea that society suggests there’s a certain way to be a woman. Janis laments that she learnt that ‘love was meant for beauty queens’ at seventeen years old. Her beautiful song encapsulates the feeling that if you’re not one of the beautiful girls with ‘clear skinned smiles’ then you will not be loved. This certainly played more than once when I was younger and feeling sorry for myself.
Shania Twain – ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman!’
You might think this is a cheesy country song, but oh no my friends, this is a promotion of female liberation and a celebration of womanhood! Shania wants you to forget that you’re a ‘lady’, do what you ‘dare’ and not act ‘politically correct’. Shania channels that you shouldn’t be confined by societal expectations of female behaviour. However, she also suggests that one can celebration the experience of being a woman. I think people can get so caught up in the serious issues of feminism that it is forgotten that womanhood can be celebrated. The female experience is not entirely negative, and can be indulged in – you can wear ‘men’s shirts’ and ‘short skirts’ and be a happy woman.
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed that little feminist party. I was considering an analysis of how Carly Rae Jepsen is a sassy liberated woman who feels able to approach men and declare “call me maybe”. However, I thought that may be pushing things a little too far. The depths of my strange brain don’t need to be completely explored just yet.
I promise more serious blog posts shall surface in the future. I was only just discussing issues surrounding being harassed on the street yesterday (I’m back in London – it’s more frequent) so watch this space. Plus, hopefully, Sarah shall be back soon to take you out of my demented clutches and talk some sense. In the meantime, let’s all go strut our stuff and demand some ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’.