maybe "rants" isn't the right word. these are simple thoughts about my life. some may be more colorful than others. some language may be offensive, but it depends on your definition of offensive. consider this your warning ;)

16 July 2011

The Radio, Subliminal Messages, and Feminism

When I got in my car and turned the radio on (Go Country 105, ah thank you) I heard a traffic update that described the freeways as being a pretty smooth ride amidst “Carmageddon Weekend,” and to try and stay home to leave clearer roads for those driving to and from work and emergency vehicles.

Try and stay home if you aren’t going to or from work...on a weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hermit, and I enjoy going out when I’m not working, but I have never used, nor do intend to use, the freeway as a place of loitering or serenity to help me think of where I should go next. I tend to use the highways as a means of getting somewhere faster that local streets could get me. I haven’t surveyed everyone that sits in traffic (nor do I think anyone actually has), but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that commuters sitting in traffic would prefer not to be in traffic and would much rather be at their destination.

Without empirical research, this is obviously just a hunch loosely balanced on observation. Just a hunch.

Later in the drive one of my current faves came up—“Mean,” by Taylor Swift. (For the definition of “fave” I use in this context, please refer to the text supplied by this class taught by Mr. Perry.). This song made me think about “According to You,” by Orianthi. Note: If you aren’t familiar with the lyrics of these songs, please click on the aforementioned song title, this information is actually important.

I don’t know the full lyrics by memory, but I know what sticks in hearing the song ad nauseam (emphasis on nauseam): “According to you/[fault, fault, fault]” repeat; “According to him/[compliment, compliment, compliment]”. I don’t consider myself a radical anything, especially a feminist (even though I WILL identify myself as a feminist), but a Women’s Psychology class I took a few years ago opened my eyes to a few things that many people don’t realize. One of the broad examples was noticing differences in how females are depicted in advertising versus males. In many ads (not just women’s mags), the body is often truncated, emphasizing something (usually not the face) for aesthetic emphasis. Don’t get me wrong, The female figure is a beautiful sight, but what are they really selling? I get it. I know why marketing and graphics departments do it, but still, it happens a lot more than a lot of people (men and women, children and adults), think.

Back to Orianthi. According to you/him, blah blah blah. I heard a few reactions when this song came out and they were mostly positive, “Good for her! She deserves this new guy! Way to tell the ex!” and yes, that’s all good, but when you really think about it…the dependency of this female character in the song (because I can’t say for certain that the artist is singing about her own life), is—under closer inspection—sad. She is basing this rant on the opinions of two people: male, neither of which is related to her, nor superior. Yeah, she has one verse of “According to me” but that’s directed at Male A (not the Alpha Male, haha). Why can’t she spend more time in “According to me”-land talking about herself? Because it doesn’t sell that much? Because it isn’t as catchy if she isn’t complaining/ranting? Because someone—in Australia, where the song started…or here in the US where it blew up…or in Japan where it became a top 10 hit—because someone thought it would be “sexier” this way? COME ON!!

And breathe…

Obviously, this is just one post, one man’s opinion on a discussion that’s been happening for years. That’s just what I thought today when I was driving through the bumper-to-bumper, 2MPH, stop-and-go traffic due to Carmageddon weekend. Oh, wait, traffic was totally normal, and I don’t plan to leisurely drive through LA just because I can, so I’ll try and stay home and off the highways tonight.

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