Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Slut Shaming // Cultural Appropriation

Despite writing about Blurred Lines already, I felt like that post was incredibly rushed and didn't really delve into all the little things that made it absolutely disappointing and demeaning. In addition to that, the wonderful VMAs were held on the 25th of this month and have brought out some really ingenious talent, like Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke's performances.

Last night I watched Lauren Rose's video about Miley's performance (which you should do, here's her video (x) and her blog post (x). I haven't managed to read the post yet, so I'll get to it after I post this. Basically, it was her video that made me realize some new things that I hadn't known in addition to the things I felt I could've elaborated on that I had understood the concept of but just hadn't mentioned 

My problem begins far before Miley's apparently "scandalous" and "vulgar" performance. The essence of the problem, is that song itself. "Blurred Lines"'s concept isn't something brand new has already been explored in most rap songs and quite subtly in some pop songs, but I feel that this song takes it to another level. It does sound like it's almost justifying rape, in a way that wow, there are blurred lines and I don't know if I should cross them, but hey I will anyways. 

Yet after the VMAs, I didn't see a single thing on twitter or tumblr about how messed up Robin Thicke is. Miley was featured in it, and her attire and dance - which I will bring up in a while - was an extra to the song and pretty much resembled the music video of the song itself. Everyone was on about Miley and nobody discussed the actual problem. Because the main problem isn't Miley dancing, that would be her problem not mind, the problem is the song that essentially promotes that kind of behavior, glamorizes it and most importantly tries to validate it. So all in all, there are double standards here. and that's definitely unacceptable.

Now, when it comes to Miley though, the main problem I have with her is how she's trying incredibly hard to escape the whole Disney persona and trying to make it clear that "I'm nobody's role model, I'm just going to do whatever I want" which is obviously the whole theme of her song "We Can't Stop" and I think by trying so hard to play a different part, she's only putting herself out there for more criticism and more ridicule. If that is who she is, why does it all look like some shitty act. You know?

In addition, the point Lauren brought up was cultural appropriation;

Cultural Appropriation is the adoption of some specific element of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. 

At first people who have criticized Miley's continuous use of twerking lately, mentioned that it was offensive to the traditional African culture whom the dance was originally from, but after a few research, it seems like it's true; Mapouka (a traditional dance) has been banned from Ivory Coast's TVs because of its suggestive nature. But, In the US, "twerking was introduced into the hip hop culture by way of the New Orleans bounce music scene. (x) So, would that really fit into cultural appropriation?

Yet a problem with some of her seemingly innocent and "just for fun" actions are still quite problematic. It feels like in both her music video and in her performance, she seems to enjoy using black women as a prop. (I'm sorry if that term's not politically correct, but I'm trying to keep it simple) And that problem is additionally present in Thicke's video - except this time it's not racist, it's sexist. 

Overall I think these kind of parts of modern pop culture do affect society negatively, even though some people think that all the critics are overreacting about "just another pop song", but it's not just that. It has caused commotion, which clearly means many people have taken offense and have realized how damaging this can be to both the youth and society as a whole. This condonation of using human beings as props is disgusting and promotes us looking upon other humans as merely objects, which just makes way for the flow of other issues that would infest a community. 

I feel like this song should not have been performed on the VMAs in the first place, but despite me saying that, there's a fraction of people that think it's no harm, but those people should take a look at all the underlying problems that they're oblivious - and or turning a blind eye to.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Letters from Nowhere

A few seconds ago I came across this post by (x) and after the first couple of sentences I realized that the writer has finally put to words the feelings I have never quite understood.

Your life is not an episode of Skins. Things will never look quite as good as they do in a faded, sun-drenched Polaroid; your days are not an editorial from Lula. Your life is not a Sofia Coppola movie, or a Chuck Palahniuk novel, or a Charles Bukowski poem. Grace Coddington isn’t your creative director. Bon Iver and Joy Division don’t play softly in the background at appropriate moments. Your hysterical teenage diary isn’t a work of art. Your room probably isn’t Selby material. Your life isn’t a Tumblr screencap. Every word that comes out of your mouth will not be beautiful and poignant, infinitely quotable. Your pain will not be pretty. Crying till you vomit is always shit. You cannot romanticize hurt. Or sadness. Or loneliness. You will have homework, and hangovers and bad hair days. The train being late won’t lead to any fateful encounters, it will make you late. Sometimes your work will suck. Sometimes you will suck. Far too often, everything will suck - and not in a Wes Anderson kind of way. And there is no divine consolation - only the knowledge that we will hopefully experience the full spectrum - and that sometimes, just sometimes, life will feel like a Coppola film.

"Things will never look quite as good as they do in a faded, sun-drenched Polaroid" this reminded me of that post I made here a few months ago about the way things looked in 90s movies, and how they look like in real life and the quite upsetting and disappointing differences. 

And I just found this stunning..because it's true. The best consolation is in the knowledge that sometimes, life will feel like a Coppola film. And that is something I will forever hold on to. 

Blurred Lines and Rape Culture

So I recently came across The Fine Bros video of Teens React to Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' which - if you don't know what it is, I refuse to link the video here because that's where I have the biggest issue - but here you go, have a listen and then give the reaction videos a watch because I think although I don't agree with all the opinions, that's what got me to write about it.

The main problem I have with this song is the message. Many people have went on and on about how it's just another one of "those" songs that talk about nothing but ...let's just go with "women's physical appearance" in a very degrading and disrespectful way. And others have also said that people that have analysed the song and it's message and all that stuff are just sucking the fun out of a casual song but I don't even care :-) If criticizing something that has the potential to stain people's minds is a crazy thing to do, well consider me insane.

The basic message that I draw from the video is that this guy person (whom I've never heard of prior to this song?) is unsure of wether the girl is actually saying 'yes' or 'no' (to his quite douchbag-y and pathetic ways of "pulling") and I make that assumption because of the title being the blurred lines that he's unsure if she wants him to cross or not.

Eventually and throughout the song he assumes; "I know you want it, but you're a good girl" and that just shows that he's a delusional man who's obsessive and absolutely desperate for anything to happen between him and this "good girl"

Now my problem isn't just with the lyrics because the majority of songs nowadays have the most disgusting and distasteful songs ever but the mentality it creates, regardless if you're actually paying attention to the lyrics, you're left with an impression and this song's storyline is basically him continuously pursuing the girl despite his uncertainty of wether she wants it or not; making matters worse, it doesn't even sound like he could care less about her say in the matter.

And this is what creates rape culture and makes it okay.

When it's

It disgusts me and I bet that it would offend, hurt and anger many people who have been in a position of assault and harrassment from this type of a**holes. It isn't okay. What makes you think it's okay? Are you actually serious.

Making things even better, there are two versions of the music video. The first being the general viewed one on YouTube, which in all honest shouldn't even be viewed by the public audience of YouTube keeping in mind that there are tons of young children on the website. This video is distasteful enough; a bunch of girls dancing around these 3 (?) guys? I can't even describe it because I literally only watched the little preview on the reacts episode, because I wouldn't even want to give it an extra view. Just no.

And the second version being the "unrated" version which can only be viewable if you are of 18 years of age. This one supposedly is exactly the same, except the women dancing around are topless.


1. This has no link with the music whatsoever. None. Whatsoever.

2. Wasn't objectifying them in barely any clothing not enough? This isn't me slut shaming because I'm against that but they weren't some independent, free-willed members of society who choose to wear whatever they want. They were objectified. That's the whole point of this goddamn song.

3. Why is this the number one song in the USA at the moment? What makes it deserve that spot. It's not lyrically creative. It's not musically creative. It's not vocally creative. And the video isn't even artistic. Has music become this underrated and unappreciated that that piece of absolute crap is seemingly the best?

I'm just stunned at the people who are okay with the song..I'm sorry but you can't keep saying everything is no big deal because it will amount to a big deal and it already is a big deal. Isn't this enough? The way some guys act - inspired by this disgusting music and male figures who are saluted and celebrated for being "players" or whatever - is just irritating and unnecessary if a society wants to thrive and rid itself from this rape culture that's contaminating everyone.

IN ADDITION, the singer guy has apparently defended himself from the criticism by saying the song was a feminist movement.

h a h a h a H A H A H A HA barely.

It's in no way, shape or form empowering to women. It portrays them as a naked body. Seriously. That is all there is to them. They're just dancing around the guy, topless, while he's trying to "domesticate" them, "smack" them around because he knows that "not many women can refuse (his) pimpin'"

Are you fucking kidding me?
I felt profanity was necessary there.

This is ridiculous. I'm just stunned right now.

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