The Sexist

Sexist Beatdown: How Beyonce In A Cop Outfit = Feminism Now Edition

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Pre-post-post-feminism was marked by elaborate personality-based costumes

Sady of Tiger Beatdown and I were totally prepared to have a Very Serious Discussion Concerning Our Feelings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and Why Obama Was Or Was Not A Dick About It (VSDCOFOTDOMAAWOWOWNADAI) today.

But then we read this awesome piece by Steve Haruch, dude in Texas, about why post-post-feminism in pop music is just pre-feminism in disguise, and we thought, "fuck it, let's talk about Beyonce in a cop outfit."

Can pop music ever be more than just, as Steve says, "Feminist Lite"?

Spoiler: Yes it can, but only under certain delicate conditions involving Beyonce acting like a jerk, tacos, and Britney Spears cutting the crap already and just hiring me as her feminist advisor.

SADY: lady! are you ready to have a discussion about postpostpostpostpostfeminism?

AMANDA: hi! Sorry! first of all, since you seem to have been doing a bit of "research" into modes of feminism lately can you tell me what post-feminism is? and what post-post-feminism might be?

SADY: post-feminism is the one where progress has been accomplished so we can all be SEXY again and also camille paglia can blame us for our date rapes! post-post-feminism is... um... feminism again? or the one where we have to fight each other in Thunderdome. no wait, that's post-APOCALYPTIC-post-

feminism. no, wait, that's my blog comment section.

AMANDA: ba dump ching!

SADY: TIP YOUR WAITRESSES. i do know you can find the postpostpostpostwhatever in the popular music the kids listen to today, though! such as the katy perrys, and the lady gagas!

AMANDA: first of all, let me just say to pop music, that i am a huge, huge fan

SADY: haha, i had to have someone sing me the veronicas song so i knew what it was about. according to this person it goes "take me on the floor, blah blah blah sexy twins." i feel no need to look up the lyrics!
i'm confident this research is correct!

AMANDA: i will listen to nearly any pop music song, whether feminist, pre-feminist, post-feminist, post-post-feminist, told-from-the-perspective-of-the-unborn-fetus etc. so that sexy twin song, i may be adding it to my ipod!

SADY: yeah, why not?

AMANDA: however, i think it would be Educational if we discussed some modern pop singers (love 'em) and where their songs fall on the feminist —> told-from-the-perspective-of-the-unborn-fetus spectrum

SADY: yeah, i kind of think that what they're talking about is the whole overt sexuality thing in these ladies' music. which is NEW! and UNPRECEDENTED! what with the poking of 'er face and whatnot! and the kissing of girls, and the taking on the floor.

AMANDA: let's start with that kissing of girls thing. i personally wouldn't take such an issue with that song if the rest of katy perry's album didn't blatantly ridicule gay people. [Editor's note: I totally went to a gay bar last night and they were PLAYING THIS SONG:]

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She kissed a girl, she liked it, but I'm betting "boyfriend don't mind it" is a bit of an understatement here
SADY: I JUST LISTENED TO THE VERONICAS SONG. the bridge is "i want to kiss a girl, i want to kiss a girl, i want to kiss a boy." maybe THIS is postpostfeminism? yeah, not just gay people but women which is bizarre: "you are so gay, you are like a woman, you terrible gay-woman-man." like, this grossness wherein gay or a lady is the worst thing to be...

AMANDA: the veronicas song sounds like some sort of bizarre undead compromise between you and andrea dworkin. oh, THIS song? i just listened to it for the first time. shit, i actually don't like this pop song, it sucks.

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Sucks.
SADY: yep. this is our peace treaty. andrea dworkin's thing, sexually, was (i am learning) more complex than i maybe can understand, at the moment. i'm pretty sure she would have some harsh words for the whole sexy-twins, kissing-girls-for-your-boyfriend, bluffing-with-one's-muffin thing. her whole problem was that she thought we were bluffing with our muffins too much! NO MORE MUFFIN BLUFFING, is what she'd say.

AMANDA: i'm okay with never hearing another word about muffin bluffing.

SADY: MUFFIN BLUFFING IS THE PATRIARCHY'S SUPPORT SYSTEM. this is some weird performance of sexuality that seems so specifically catered to be precisely in line with current expectations of what dudes find sexy.

AMANDA: are there any current pop songs that qualify as post-post feminist, which i now understand (?) is feminism again after taking a little break from feminism?

SADY: haha, i like "if i were a boy," by beyonce, maybe a little more than i should. there are certain moments where i can convince myself that it MEANS SOMETHING.

AMANDA: i, too, have spent many moons attempting to squeeze that song into my worldview.

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"If I Were a Boy," or, more appropriately, "If I Were A Dick"
SADY: if beyonce were a boy, she'd roll out of bed and put on whatever she wanted and drink some beer. if this first verse is any indication, i myself may be a boy, or beyonce. but also, if beyonce were a boy, she'd be cheating on YOU! and you COULDN'T STOP HER!

AMANDA: do you have a cop outfit?

SADY: mmmmmm... sadly, no. this may be the only difference between beyonce and myself. barring, of course, the fact that i did not appear in "obsessed."

AMANDA: i really like this song, and (i've convinced myself) that it's an honest critique of the double standards in sexual relationships between men and women ... for those of us who can't just throw all that shit out of the window and have sex with other women. but it's also kind of like, you don't have to be a boy, you're BEYONCE, you can do whatever the fuck you want!

SADY: right? beyonce could basically buy a small country at this point. yet, in her song with jay-z, she points out that she can 'still play her part and let [jay-z] take the lead role." i'm beginning to think her commitment to just doing all that dude stuff (namely, being kind of a dick) is not that profound.

AMANDA: yes HOWEVER—and this is a good point for those post-feminist to listen to—beyonce actually looks super hot acting like a fucking dick. and then looks less compelling when she goes back into the girl role at the (spoiler alert) surprise twist at the end

SADY: OH NO! SPOILER! At the end of "Thriller," Michael Jackson's EYES ARE THOSE OF A MONSTER, AMANDA. HOW WILL YOU HANDLE THIS SPOILER I SPOILED FOR YOU? anyway. i'm beginning to think that postpostfeminism, what with the girls singing about how they've kissed girls, and also boys, and have done things with their muffins that maybe we would be uncomfortable hearing about, is not actually "post" anything. haven't people been singing about screwing (boys and girls) for A LONG TIME?

AMANDA: yes. i think that's what ALL pop music is about, right?

SADY: right? yet, when we hear songs about sex, we think they're kind of naughty, until someone sings an EVEN NAUGHTIER song about sex, and that's all these kids are doing: semi-raising, or trying to raise, the bar for naughtiness. with, GASP, girl makeouts! basically, i think that sooner or later "i want to pee on you" will be an actual single.

AMANDA: of course, until pop music enters its post-naughty phase. sponsored by kelly clarkson.

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SADY: "if i were a boy, we'd be engaging in non-demeaning and mutually respectful activities, such as going to a church group, and holding hands. " "woooo, girl, i want to play zelda and not make out or consider sexual activities at all with youuuu."

AMANDA: You know, somebody kind of made this point in the Bitch comment section, and I think it's pretty apt: as far as POP music is concerned, maybe it's enough for us to have expectations that it not be misogynistic. and that other forms of music that are not played on the radio will tackle the more explicitly radical subjects. that being said, i would really love to write for Britney Spears.

SADY: haha. i'm seriously trying to think of a mainstream pop hit that handled anything vaguely feminist in its subject matter. the best i can come up with is "human nature," by madonna. and that's a tenuous pick. i would love for you to write for britney spears, too! actually!

AMANDA: i understand that she often takes up best-friends-for-a-few-hours fairly often. i think i could be a good influence on her.

SADY: i think my work with the postpostfeminist stars of stage and screen would be brutal, ugly, and short

AMANDA: i thought the misogyny consulting thing would really work out for you

SADY: i think my hit katy perry song, "i kissed the person that it was most pleasing for me to kiss at the time without thinking about or trying to present my sexuality as a performance for the benefit of the male gaze" would not, probably, sell like hotcakes. the b-side, "i like tacos," might be a little more well-received. who doesn't like tacos?! why is our pop landscape so post-tacos?

AMANDA: eww, post-taco

SADY: hahahahaha. ok. it's NOT AN ELOQUENT TERM for my movement. rest assured, you'll soon be hearing the sound of post-taco across the nation.

AMANDA: hahah

  • amedat

    Good lord,
    Send me the cliff notes, then get a real job.

  • Be Real

    Isn't post-post-feminism not reverting to the old feminism, but actually encompassing all of what came before, including feminism & post-feminism? So in actuality, the pop songs you cited can be representative of the entire gamut of p-p-f, from the overt-sexuality of Katy Perry & Lady Gaga's songs, to the "Quality over Quantity" message from Kelly Clarkson's "I do not hook up"?? I don't know of a pop song that explicitly addresses feminism either, but maybe it's a sign of the time that we don't need such songs any longer. One can be hopeful anyway...

  • http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/nashvillecream Steve Haruch

    "as far as POP music is concerned, maybe it’s enough for us to have expectations that it not be misogynistic. and that other forms of music that are not played on the radio will tackle the more explicitly radical subjects."

    If we still think anything above the (awfully low) "not misogynistic" bar is "explicitly radical," then I think we've got a long way to go.

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