May 25, 2011

"I think Beyonce is a great pop songwriter. Still, the lyrics to this song are classic faux empowerment..."

"... as she's literally suggesting women run the world by being very persuasive with our vaginas."

Amanda Marcotte wrings her hands over a song that mostly consists of saying "Who run the world? Girls" over and over. I saw this video when it played on "American Idol" last week, and I couldn't really make out what her literal argument was. It seems to me, you hear that one line over and over and you're distracted by vivid images of the singer (which could be characterized as "being very persuasive with [her physical presence]").

Oh, what do you want to talk about here? Feminism? What is the real feminism? Whether Marcotte misused the word "literally"? How songs affect the mind? Is it with the lyrics, read literally, or in some more complicated way?

58 comments:

rhhardin said...

Women control 50% of the world's wealth and 100% of the world's pussy, is the saying.

Scott M said...

I can't think of a more sisyphean task than mining pop songs for feminist insights, if there is such a thing.

John Burgess said...

So why is Marcotte hating on Lysistrata? The concept of the song is certainly not new.

WV: quers O'Rly?

edutcher said...

A lot of women think by shaking their ass at a man, it empowers them.

Take a long, hard look at the number of unwed mothers on welfare and think about who has the power.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm not try to derail the conversation, but I've been playing with a few country bands lately, and the young female singers and songwriters are pretty impressive.

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Sunny Sweeney are killers.

I don't think feminism applies much to country, or to any of these women. Carrie Underwood writes some very angry songs (Before He Cheats Again), but the songs are more just emotionally true statements, not some sort of propaganda.

I tended to dismiss Swift, until I actually played her songs. She brings chordal complexity to country that you don't often hear. And, her lyrics are remarkably deep and mature. Back to December is a brilliant tune.

And that's some bedonkadonk that Beyonce carries around!

rhhardin said...

Sisyphus might have liked rolling rocks.

Lots of people like their jobs.

He may have been the rock star of his day. One-handed, backwards, who knows what is possible.

Drew said...

What I'd like to say is that asking Amanda Marcotte to talk about feminism is like asking Hamas to talk about pacifism.

rhhardin said...

You get empowered by actually doing something obsessively that you're good at.

This tends to eliminate social life; which cost tends to eliminate women.

You're empowered more by not needing the social life than by anything else.

And it usually turns out that what you do isn't particularly needed; not that you care.

Shouting Thomas said...

Just watched part of the video. I made it through 55 seconds.

That's some insufferably awful shit!

If women like Beyonce really do run the world, can't they do any better than that?

Shouting Thomas said...

So, this is what makes Beyonce so absolutely awful:

She's thrown out her patrimonial tradition, which is the roots music of America that the entire world loves, i.e., jazz, blues, country and rock.

In it's place, she's substituted... nothing.

She's making a lot of money. For reasons I can't fathom, somebody wants to listen to her.

traditionalguy said...

If I get this right, When enough women have become lesbians, then men must find a gay way to get sex or do without. That does sound like taking the power to destroy families. But maybe I am old fashioned and like my grandchildren too much.

MarkG said...

I didn't find anything at all about vaginas in the lyrics.

The Crack Emcee said...

I noted yesterday that Lady GaGa's "self-help declarations are relentless, predictable and pushy." What is it? It's propaganda in the service of (as ST said) "nothing."

Like the "black power" phase of the Civil Rights Movement, this is just women not knowing when to stop.

junyo said...

I think Mr. Carter would beg to differ about precisely who runs the world.

AprilApple said...

The idea that Marcotte's conjecture is worthy of debate is troubling.
She's gross.

Smilin' Jack said...

""I think Beyonce is a great pop songwriter."

Why would anyone read past that sentence?

Pastafarian said...

Boy you know you love it
How we're smart enough to make "...these millions
Strong enough to bare the children
Then get back to business
See, you better not play me
Don't come here baby
Hope you still like me
** pay me!

[Bridge]"

Yeah, I don't see anything there about vageezays, or whatever the hell vaginas would be called by someone who spoke the English-like language in which this utterly banal shit is written.

I'd say I'm getting old, but I've had a low opinion of popular music since I was in the 9th grade and John Bonham died. So no, it's not me getting old; it's music turning to shit.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would like to get a definition of "feminism" from somebody.

It seems that "feminism" is personal and the definition varies widely depending on who is looking at it or discussing it.

A good portion of the difference is probably due to age and the time you were exposed to feminist ideas that were in vogue at the time.

G Joubert said...

I'm not sure what the kerfuffle here is. The symbiotic dance between men and women has been one of the main subjects of poets and other artists for just about forever. Since men generally have the physical power, women find their power by other means, particularly through thier sexuality. Maybe the real kefuffle is that feminist dogma wants to deprive women of this power.

LordSomber said...

The lyrical content of Beyonce songs definitely keeps me up at night.
And while I'm up, I'm gonna join Amanda's protest march -- Take Back the Music.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I would like to get a definition of "feminism" from somebody.

I've asked that same question a few times, and never been sure of the answer. But, for me, my idea of what is maybe not feminism but is the desirable interaction between the sexes, is something akin to a society where sex/gender are not limitations. I.e., I should not be treated differently in occupation because of my sex, and sexually-based attacks and criticisms should be condemned (see, just about every lib who's commented on Sarah Palin, that kook who had to share his story about that one candidate's hairly lady parts, etc.)

I don't mean that we should be sexless or genderless, just that they shouldn't limit us- if I want to stay home with the kids while my husband works, great; if I want to work and my husband stay home, just as great (although either is, of course, a family decision, not just the woman's). And we shouldn't ignore the real differences in sex- pregnancy, lactation, etc, nor can we expect false benefits to try to "make up" for those things- i.e., I shouldn't get a pass on my work because I have a kid, unless the man would, too- if I am expected to do more housework/childcare than my male counterparts, that's a family problem, not a feminism problem.

Being told I'm wonderful or "rule the world" just because I have a vagina is not anything like feminism, nor is getting any other special breaks, affirmative actions, or other benefits. I shouldn't be absolved of taking responsibility for my sexuality, including being expected to be wise about who and under what circumstances I have sex and being expected to consider the natural consequences and accept them, should the occur. Killing babies is not an acceptable response to pregnancy just because it's unfair that men don't get pregnant. All of those strike me as just the opposite.

- Lyssa

Scott M said...

I would like to get a definition of "feminism" from somebody.

Berkley Breathed, of Bloom County fame, was a huge influence on me comedically during my high-school and college years. I remember Steve Dallas' conversation in a dream with his "ideal woman" after aliens had scrambled his brain from a womanizing right-winger to an Alan Alda-wannabe liberal.

His definition was feminism = the right to make choices.

I didn't believe it then, as a teen, and believe it less now. If that was all feminism is about, it would be a big deal. Not knowing when to stop, as Crack said earlier, hits the nail on the head.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Scott M, as I recall, that was the one where Steve's ideal woman would "choose" to lounge around in french maid lingerie and rub his feet. Loved it!

The right to make choices is pretty much what I was going for- whether that *is* feminism or not I don't know, but that is what it *should* be. They don't seem to be on this thread, but I'd love to hear some of our resident liberals chime in on this issue.

- Lyssa

Phil 3:14 said...

Amanda Marcotte in a feminist philosophical debate with Beyonce.

What next, Jocelyn Elders discusses black female obesity and African-American culture with Sir-Mix a lot

Scott M said...

@Lyssa

"Suppose you could choose to rub a little harder?" Steve asks?

"Sure thing, bubba" says the dream girl.

There's something plainly wrong with me that I have so many of those strips and story lines memorized. Probably has something to do with the seven or so Bloom County books I have in the bathroom as reading material during...you know...

Phil 3:14 said...

And why does

"I think Beyonce is a great pop songwriter. "

sound a lot like:

"Some of my best friends are black"

Shouting Thomas said...

The right to make choices is pretty much what I was going for- whether that *is* feminism or not I don't know, but that is what it *should* be.

How about the right to make choices limited by knowledge of the blowback those choices might incur?

Who's stopping anybody from making choices? You need to read feminist gossip columns that pat you on the back? You want somebody to tell you that your choices won't result in a kick in the ass?

Feminism is infantilism.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Fuck off, Shouting T, my statement above clearly said that the need to get patted on the back and ignore the consequences of one's actions is completely inopposite of feminism. Try actually understanding a person's positions a little before you spout off your little stereotypes.

- Lyssa

Shouting Thomas said...

You just proved again the feminism is infantilism.

So, you want choices?

Nobody's stopping you. What in the hell could you possibly be bitching about except the reality that your choices might earn you a kick in the ass?

You want to be exempted from reality. No man that I've ever known would make these kind of infantile statements. Why do you?

Scott M said...

Nobody's stopping you.

ST, in the context of what Lyssa and I are talking about, yeah, choices were an issue (roughly 86-88). For instance, at the time, there were very few "choices" available to female service members who wanted various jobs. A specific example...fighter pilots. A woman had no choice to become one because it wasn't allowed.

I think you missed the point of Lyssa and I talking about Bloom County.

Seven Machos said...

I wonder how Amanda Marcotte and her breasts feel about the impending indictment of John Edwards.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Shouting T, I never said that anyone was stopping me from doing anything, nor did I complain about anything at all. DBQ asked a question, and I answered it in the best way that I could, then Scott M and I discussed comic strips that we thought were funny. Anyone who's seen me comment knows that I have NOTHING in common with the obnoxious so-called feminists like Ms. Marcott that you for some reason are so convinced that every woman who dares express an opinion must be.

Get a clue.

mariner said...

If you don't pay attention to the silly bitch she can't affect your mind.

Shanna said...

So why is Marcotte hating on Lysistrata? The concept of the song is certainly not new.

Ha! That was my first thought, too. Take it up with the Greeks, lady.

mariner said...

Scott M,
There's something plainly wrong with me that I have so many of those strips and story lines memorized. Probably has something to do with the seven or so Bloom County books I have in the bathroom as reading material during...you know...

Sex?

Sigivald said...

Real feminism is ignoring Amanda Marcotte.

I know this, 'cause the ghost of Simone de Beauvoir told me.

mariner said...

The right to make choices sounds good, but feminists are not interested in allowing women to make choices they disapprove of.

For example, bearing a child instead of murdering it in the womb, or staying home with the kids.

Scott M said...

The right to make choices sounds good, but feminists are not interested in allowing women to make choices they disapprove of.

This. When I read that strip back in the 80's, I remember my mom, a stay-at-home, and her friends were constantly railing against the feminists of the time who called stay-at-homes mentally ill among other things equally vile.

Scott M said...

Sex?

No, no. Caulking.

Blue@9 said...

Marcotte is near the top of my list of "Person I would not want to be stuck in an elevator with, especially if she's got a knife.". Both her picture and her writing give me an uneasy stabbity-stabbity feeling.

Ann Althouse said...

"bare the children"

Homophones are a bitch.

Alex said...

""I think Beyonce is a great pop songwriter."

Why would anyone read past that sentence?


No, that's when it jumped the shark. If Beyonce is a songwriter, then I'm the King of England.

Kirby Olson said...

Althouse vs. Marcotte! I'd love to see a metaphysical boxing match between the two based on literary talent. I'd bet 50-1 on Althouse. Marcotte writes phrases like, "kind of traumatizing."

BeachGal said...

"Blogger Scott M said...

"The right to make choices sounds good, but feminists are not interested in allowing women to make choices they disapprove of."

This. When I read that strip back in the 80's, I remember my mom, a stay-at-home, and her friends were constantly railing against the feminists of the time who called stay-at-homes mentally ill among other things equally vile.

5/25/11 12:38 PM


Yep. Whatever feminism started out as, baser human nature won out and now it's about thinking and speaking in lockstep with the leaders of the "movement". Anyone stepping out of bounds is demonized and even has their womanhood denied by said pack mentality. (see: Sarah Palin, Ann Coutler, etc.) Feminism may have started out with good intentions, but quickly became nothing more than a power trip for people with certain viewpoints.

Phil said...

Makes me miss Dennis the Peasant.

Joe said...

I think Beyonce is a greap pop songwriter

She lost me there.

(The song and video are way beyond lame. It's really saying that if we swear, flip the bird and make some lame, sexually suggestion, dance moves with lots of money, we'll have a hit!)

Sebastian said...

I find most music videos to be incredibly boring, including this one.

Trooper York said...

I saw the HBO presentation of Lady Gaga's concert "Monsters Ball" last night.

I was very pleasantly surprised. She seems to have a lot of talent and puts on a great show. The fans were really into it and had a great time. The kids who work in my store went to the concert at Madison Square Garden where it was filmed and said it was great. They were right.

I am too old to go to such a thing but I can recognize talent when I see it. It seemed like a lot of fun.

Trooper York said...

I think that is what Mandy is missing. Fun. Lots of fun. Not the fun you have with the wimpy hipster dofous twats with the soul patches and the Che t-shirts. Just sayn'

Lyle said...

Amanda Marcotte is totally preoccupied with her cunt

Trooper York said...

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Trooper York said...

She should just use it for good.

Trooper York said...

I think as she gets older she will learn and grow and realize that life can be good if you just relax and enjoy the finer things. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

I wish her well.

Sigivald said...

Kirby: Traumatish!

(Which actually, sounds like "Dreamy" in Kraut - Traumisch!)

Big Mike said...

I see I'm not the only person to immediately think of Lysistrata.

But even Google can't seem to help answer the age-old question. What is the "Lioness on The Cheese Grater" position?

Tina Trent said...

This Amanda person is somebody who blogs at a site called "Pandagon." Illustrated with a fuzzy panda bear.

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