So much of our culture caters to giving men what they want. A high school student invites model Kate Upton to attend his prom, and he’s congratulated for his audacity. A male fan at a Beyoncé concert reaches up to the stage to slap her ass because her ass is there, her ass is magnificent, and he wants to feel it. The science fiction fandom community is once again having a heated discussion, across the Internet, about the ongoing problem of sexual harassment at conventions — countless women are telling all manner of stories about how, without their consent, they are groped, ogled, lured into hotel rooms under false pretenses, physically lifted off the ground, and more.
But men want what they want. We should all lighten up.
It’s hard not to feel humorless as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening, it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.
These are just songs. They are just jokes. They are just movies. It’s just a hug. They’re just breasts. Smile, you’re beautiful. Can’t a man pay you a compliment? In truth, this is all a symptom of a much more virulent cultural sickness — one where women exist to satisfy the whims of men, one where a woman’s worth is consistently diminished or entirely ignored.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”—Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1995)
Towards the end of this AMAZING scene from This is Us the boys talk about Niall, and they each talk about how Niall keeps them grounded in their own special ways. Harry says that when he walks into a room, worrying his pretty little head over…
For a long time there was a tradition in pop that we’ll call “Hail, Hail, [Your Genre Here]” songs. They essentially acted as commercials for new forms of music. Chuck Berry wrote a bunch about rock and roll in the ’50s. Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” was the anthem of ’60s R&B. Alicia Bridges’s “I Love the Nightlife” repped for disco, and Generation X’s “Your Generation” spoke for punk (or slagged boomer rock, anyway). In the video for “King of Rock,” Run-D.M.C. demanded that rap be included in a (theoretical) rock-and-roll museum. Metallica put “metal” right in its name, an idea that was subsequently ripped off by a million shitty ska bands. There are many more examples, but you get the idea. Today, you typically only see these songs appear in country music, where it’s still standard for up-and-comers to name-check Hank, Willie, Waylon, and Johnny. But this is really a defensive gesture, considering that country artists (more than rappers or rockers) are able to successfully shed their genre trappings in pursuit of mainstream success without fear of repercussions from authenticity hounds. If you’re Taylor Swift, they’ll even give you a quasi-lifetime achievement award for it.
There’s a reason why these songs are less common now, which I think is fairly obvious: There aren’t really any new genres. Whenever something that seems new and cool comes along (for the sake of discussion, let’s say dubstep), it’s eventually absorbed by the establishment, and all of a sudden what seemed like sovereign territory is just another annexed patch of dirt on pop’s bastardized landscape. (There’s a dubstep-ish song on Midnight Memories, for instance.) I suppose a lot of people see this as a negative — it’s taken as a sign that nothing is “original” anymore. But I don’t view it that way. I’d argue that the greatest byproduct of the new media age in regard to our collective understanding of music is how it has made everything seem more connected. Yes, the Internet has countless rabbit holes catering to narrow interests. But for those seeking a higher perch, the all-access era provides a fresh perspective on a much broader and grander narrative. Listening to songs from various genres, eras, and geographic locations reveals how different kinds of artists usually arrive at the same destination — ultimately, we’re all looking for a good beat, a catchy melody, a vocal that stirs the soul, and maybe an insightful lyric or two that illuminates the human experience. And that can’t help but make fussy categorical distinctions seem less relevant, if not downright silly. The more you hear, the less genres matter.
This is why, in 2013, seekers of great rock songs can’t automatically ignore a new One Direction record. As genres break down and artists feel freer to break out of their predetermined roles and pursue the only style of music that matters — the “whatever sounds awesome” style — it’s going to be harder to know where to look for what you want. It’s possible that a hilarious new trap rap track will end up on a Katy Perry record. That moving cover of an old folk standard could be recorded by Justin Timberlake. The year’s most emotional and technically proficient classic-rock LP might very well originate with two snarky French DJs. Does any of this make sense? No, it does not make sense at all. But like the kids say, it’s so right, it’s so right, it’s so right.
"what music do you like?" is such a stressful question like what do you want to know??? genres?? artists?? albums??? time periods?? 25 most played?? what i’m currently listening to??? what i listen to at different times of the day?? be more specific??????
women smh. they like different things and have different interests. why do some women like a thing and other women not like it? so difficult to understand. so confusing and hypocritical when one woman says one thing and another woman says another thing that disagrees. almost as if women are not a hivemind but are human beings just like men. ugh