The response to this question can be found in Diablo Cody's Jennifer's Body; a call back to the timid, uninspired society we live in today, a satire of sorts who’s title refers back to Hole’s song of the same name. While listening to Hole’s Live Through This I remembered the music of the 90s and the call and response to third wave feminism. The album discusses the sale of the body and soul for survival along with the raw anger of existing.
Now we have a watered down feminism that is highly misunderstood. To call one’s self a feminist is to create a backlash of arguments, even from women who oppose equality. When thinking about the pop starlets of now, I'm not sure anything could be more contrived. Britney Spears is a music industry creation with songs that are unapologetically sexual. Britney Spears’ latest album Femme Fatale approaches sexuality with a bold urgency. It is ultimately about the female narrative and her desire. On the album, we have the good girl gone bad with a love that is completely physical in “Criminal”. Radio over played "Hold it Against Me" is exactly what it sounds like: “if I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?” In our society of slut shaming, (check out the video posted below with a 14 year old woman’s explanation of the term) I think this move is positive. Britney is still a pop music creation, and the topic needs to be looked at in context. However, Femme Fatale is a more autonomous approach to female empowerment, especially when compared to her peers who are milk warm and apologetic about their sexuality. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXH2K7OC37s)
Corky, who plays the butch relationship to the femme Violet in 1996 film Bound will not apologize for her sexuality and admits her disdain for women that are apologetic; “…if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s women who apologize for wanting sex.” Since Bound is queer and feminist, I would say Britney’s power makers are on to something that is close to a call for female agency. It’s better than the narrative of good girl with nowhere to go but hell because being bad is unimaginable and intolerable. Think Paramore, Taylor Swift, and Avril Lavigne who deploy narratives of being one type of girl versus another. Songs of this nature play into the ridiculous notion that women need to compete with each other for men.
Film and music makers still tell stories of the feminist queer narrative. Though we still witness binary depictions and unrealistic female roles, there is still great music to tell real stories of women’s lives. Hole’s drummer, Patty Schemel, is the topic for an upcoming documentary called Hit So Hard. Maybe I’m nostalgic for grunge and for a time when things seemed more alive in the music industry and with feminism in general. Either way, I like to explore music that challenges assumptions of gender roles and women in general.
Here’s the trailer for the movie:
- Deeanna Danger -
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