From finding logic in religion let’s make a 360 degree turn to: Bitches!
That’s right, I said it. Or wrote it, depends on if you’re delusional or not.
However, Lily Allen’s new song “Hard out here” will not go out of my head, mainly because it’s quite catchy, but also because she has a point. Before you carry on reading, give it a listen and try to hold through until at least the middle.
So, what she’s saying is that a woman’s sexuality is hyped so much more than that of a man. If a rapper shows himself surrounded by curvy half-naked, oiled-up women while he sits there, his legs spread apart because that’s what men do, a look on his face as if he doesn’t even care. Nobody talks about him being outrageous, nobody talks about those poor dancers either, after all, they are objects and accessories to make the man’s pride and joy (you know what I mean, right?) seem bigger and more important.
But if female singers do this; I mean the twerking, the half-naked posing and all, it seems to be noticed a lot more.
When Miley Cyrus twerked her way through her performance with Robin Thicke at the VMA’s, it seemed it was the only thing anybody talked about for ages. But the thing is, everybody was talking about her and she’s been incredibly successful in the last few months.
When Rihanna and Shakira collaborated in “Can’t remember to forget you”, it was almost as if some rapper had paid them to be his dancers. The song is about them longing for a guy who is no good for them, I think, though I had a hard time focusing on the content.
In the video it seems they’re not talking about a guy in the song, but each other. Next to the sticking out of the butt (which is semi-naked), the rolling around on a bed and pressing oneself against a wall (because that’s what we all do when we’re thinking about someone special), they were also rolling around on the bed together, making gestures that suggest they may not really be thinking about a guy. Or maybe they thought, ah, can’t have him, I’ll have her.
But they are not doing this because they have low self-esteem and feel that they have to be appreciated by male consumers or because they have a daddy-complex. They present themselves this way because they know it works.
Showbusiness is probably as sexist as the fact that women still get paid less in the workplace. There are three ways I can see to work with this:
1. Fight it. Redefine the standards of beauty and sexuality like Beth Ditto who ended up stripping down for a magazine.
2. Ignore it. When you’re a Pop-singer, that’s a bit tricky, but you could just go all alternative or Indie or whatever they call it and pretend to be pretty much androgen. But you also should avoid doing anything that could be considered “outrageous”.
3. Exploit it. People are already commenting on your body more than your music anyway, so if you can’t fight it, go with it and get rich. Show as much skin as possible, establish yourself as sexy and when people are used to it, they might even rate your music instead of your body. Just note you will be under the constant pressure to look sexy and perfect. Oh, and make sure you don’t go too far. They may think you’re a slut.
When I was younger – as in fourteen or so – I was accused of having no breasts by the boys in the class. Well, did I go around accusing them of having a small penis? No. I should have, but I didn’t. It never even came to mind, but of course I beat myself up about having very small breasts. Generally it’s funny how not only men are obsessed with women’s breasts, but women are too. But how could you not? All you see on television is the supermodel with the perfect chest or documentaries on plastic surgery about breasts, breasts, breasts. Mine are too small, others are too flabby, some are too large and some were “optimized” by a surgeon, except that there’s a chance you won’t be able to breastfeed afterwards as the silicone mixes with the milk (rarely, but still) – and isn’t breastfeeding what breasts are for? Surely if mother nature had only put them there so they would look good a) there would be no need for surgery and b) we wouldn’t have toes. Toes are weird.
Going back to my experiences as an early teen, I watched as all the other girls with attractive thighs and breasts and a clear skin (which seems unnatural at that age) let it all happen. I went to a class of real jerks, really ugly, slimy, disgusting, sexist bafoons who would comment on girls’ bodies, touch their legs and ask them about their cup size. Me, I wouldn’t talk about it. They would have only made fun of me anyway. But the girls with the great figure, the beautiful ones, they just let it all happen. They let their legs be touched, they grinned at the sleazy comments and laughed at their sexist jokes. Except for my friend L. who is awesome. One guy tried to touch her leg to annoy her and she slapped him right in the face. HA!
If I had gone around commenting on their penis size I would have been expelled or something. And it’s not like they didn’t refer to body parts other than breasts (Hint: Important for reproduction).
What is so fascinating about a woman’s sexuality? Why isn’t a man’s sexuality just as fascinating? Is it because they don’t have as many interesting parts?
So, the guy with the many naked women is cool, the woman with the many men is a slut or a prostitute – something is clearly wrong. Women have it harder in the work place, especially getting up to higher levels because there’s a chance they might get pregnant. Business women at a high level are under an immense pressure to compete with their male co-workers. They don’t just work hard at their job, they work hard to be taken seriously and seen as a competent employee or boss instead of a sex-object and a bitch.
To me, Lily Allen’s song is about overcoming that fear of being labelled a “bitch” for embracing your womanhood.
The best line is probably:
Forget about your balls and grow a pair of tits.
In our society it is good for men to be competitive, to aim for success, in fact, it’s expected. So women tend to try to hide their femininity to climb the ladder of success, though it ought to be going the other way. Women should be respected for who and what they are: Women – and still be respected as much as men.
Have you ever thought about how unfair it is that “The Chippendales” can charge 60 Dollars for a ticket, while there are millions of female strippers struggling to pay rent?
It’s such an ambivalence, when you think about it: You’re a slut if you try to be too sexy, but still naked women are taken for granted. WHAT?
I’m not saying nobody cares about what men look like, but I doubt that rapper X is trying to seem appealing to women rather than seem manly because he works out and probably takes steroids.
Sexism has been injected in our system at such a high dose, we hardly ever notice that Rihanna and Shakira are bathing in money because of it.
But then there’s the flip side, there’s forced prostitution and there’s me, always worried about the way I look and if it might not be too sexy.
As a woman, I don’t want to live in the constant danger of being raped or simply objectified through language, judged.
So, thanks Lily, for taking that step and embracing the bitch.