Archive for the ‘Music Love’ Category

28
Aug

Why Anaconda doesn’t body-shame nor is anti-feminist

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda

Unless you’ve been living under a big ol’ rock, you’ve probably heard some of the fuss about Nicki Minaj’s new song ‘Anaconda’. If not, a brief summary is that people don’t like it, they think it body-shames (specifically, skinny women) and that it’s anti-feminist. Which is a direct rebuttal to the people saying that the film clip can actually be considered empowering and doesn’t skinny-shame at all. I would like to say right now that I fall into the latter category completely. I’ve never been that big a fan of Nicki, I mean I love her image to death but her songs just aren’t quite my thing, which sucks because I am ALL about supporting black, female rappers in a misogynistic industry like the rap music scene. Before I get into why I like this particular song, I urge you to watch the clip now, even if you have already seen it, as I will reference it a couple of times:

OK so one of the first things people point out about this song is her use of “skinny bitches”. I’ll admit when I first listened to it I thought “great, skinny shaming! This is no better than Meghan Trainor’s damn song”. For reference, Meghan’s song “All About That Bass” has been a bone of contention to a lot of feminists because it’s packaged as a body-positivity song but is full of skinny-shaming (I will discuss this further later on). It’s a widely held belief in feminist circles that body-positivity shouldn’t come at the detriment of one body type over another. But otherwise I loved the song and was totally mesmerised by the film clip. I’m a member of an excellent feminist group on Facebook where we have discussed this video/song at length and it was through there that I started to question if Nicki was skinny-shaming at all, so I decided to do some research and see what other people have written about it.

I quickly found two distinct opinions, that Nicki’s brand capitalizes on racial stereotypes while reinforcing notions of Black female hypersexuality that are long established racist trope or that we live in a world where black women’s bodies are meant for our consumption but only on the terms which everyone who isn’t a black women gets to dictate (both of these articles relate to the cover for this single which was release a couple of weeks before the clip came out, just to clarify).  The more I thought about it, the harder I found it to be mad about Nicki’s supposed skinny-shaming and I was starting to lean more towards the opinion that she is reclaiming the sexy black woman image from people who either fetishise or demonise it but rarely respect it. Aside from the “fuck skinny bitches” lines, everything was so great about the song and the video, the way she featured no men except for the end when she gives a lap dance to Drake who is merely there as a prop for Nicki to dance upon and is denied any real pleasure from the experience (as soon as he tries to touch her she’s outta there), the symbolism of her chopping up the banana etc. 

As I kept researching I came across more articles that were pro-Nicki and so I not only started to side with them but started to vehemently agree with them. One article I loved in particular drew a comparison between Beyoncé who people are so readily to accept as being feminist (even before she “came out” as a feminist) and yet discount Nicki as being over-sexualised and anti-feminist. This is despite the fact Beyoncé has released some really problematic stuff in the past, but hey, she’s deemed classier so it’s easier to accept her brand of moderate and respectable feminism.

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So what about the “skinny bitches” line. Could I ignore it when I’d had a few rants about skinny-shaming in Meghan Trainor’s song. No, but I was suddenly able to justify it. See, Nicki has reclaimed the word “bitch” to be an empowering word for woman, the female equivalent of men being called “boss”. With that in mind, when you hear the lyric “skinny bitches” it’s suddenly not a case of her saying “you’re a bitch because you’re skinny” but her just saying “skinny women” because remember, she also refers to herself as a fat-assed bitch. Yes, she does say “fuck the skinny bitches” which sounds pretty abrasive and mean at first, but after a closer look it’s really just her telling the skinny women to move it because her and her fat-assed friends are coming in to take over the club. I now interpret “skinny bitches” to refer to the skinny, mostly-white women like Miley Cyrus who’ve been trying to appropriate twerking from black women, telling them all to get out of the way because the women who twerked first and twerk best are here and they ain’t impressed.

So back to why ‘Anaconda’ is a more empowering song than Trainor’s. First off, “All About That Bass” is presented as a feel-good body-positive song, which is all lovely and fun until she actively shames a skinny woman by presenting one as “less attractive” and unable to dance in the clip. Meghan is also a thin-waisted curvy girl (therefore an acceptable kind of “fat” that is still considered attractive and desirable) who wrote a song about how bigger girls are better than skinny girls because as her mum says “boys like a little more booty to hold at night”.  It’s just taking all the crap that fat women usually get and redirecting it at skinny women, which isn’t body positivity at all and is just plain ol’ skinny-shaming. But people don’t see that, they see a cute white girl in a cute music video being soooo cute and suddenly she’s the voice for all bigger women everywhere.

On the other hand, Minaj doesn’t have any such pretense. She’s doing what she usually does – the fuck you all type swagger that that you find in a lot of hip hop. At no point does she make the claim that she’s trying to make girls all feel good about themselves, her song is solely about her feeling good about her sexual prowess and how she much she loves her own big, fat ass. There’s a line that says “Say he don’t like em boney, he want something he can grab” which some might consider the same as Meghan’s booty line but the difference between them is that this is something a man has told her he specifically likes, whereas Meghan was told that to make her feel better about feeling fat/unattractive.

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda2

I guess it can all be interpreted differently depending on your own personal experience. Overall I find the idea of skinny-shaming to be a step backwards when it comes to body-positivity, but at the same time I’m not that upset by it. Yes some slim women find it offensive, and I agree that it kinda sucks. But skinny-shaming is in no way comparable to fat-shaming. Thin people, women especially, have this thing called thin privilege, where they can see thin people like themselves represented in an appealing manner in all forms of media, they can walk down the street in a pair of shorts and not have people sneering at them or calling them names, they don’t have people concern-trolling them about their health or how they’re a burden on the health system or how they’re undesirable. So when people get up in arms about skinny-shaming and how it’s as bad as fat-shaming, I feel sad because it’s not true and it’s hurtful to try and align two types of shaming that at face-value might seem similar, but in reality one is oppressive while the other is just about some temporarily hurt feelings. Oh and just a note; if your immediate response to the concept of thin privilege is to dismiss it is being untrue or ridiculous, perhaps you need reminding of the phrase “check your privilege” because the thing about privilege is that you don’t know you have it until it’s pointed out to you.

In the end, these are all my own interpretations based on my own observances and the articles I’ve read online. I have never been skinny-shamed in my life because I am not skinny, but I also haven’t experienced much fat-shaming as I’m kind of in-between. I’ve seen both though, and I gotta say, fat-shaming is a lot more common and hurtful than any of the skinny-shaming I’ve ever witnessed, which seems to mostly stem from jealousy instead of outright disgust. ‘Anaconda’ has a lyric that can easily be perceived as hurtful, but that is not necessarily how it’s intended. This is a song about having a fabulous, big ass and being proud of it. Nicki uses her sexuality to express this in a way that empowers her. Maybe it doesn’t empower you, that’s OK, but you can’t tell everyone else that they’re not allowed to feel empowered by it. I’m happy for women to be empowered by ‘All About That Bass’ too, I won’t deny it’s too problematic for me to really enjoy but I understand why others feel differently than me.

Anyway that’s my feminist fat vs thin rant for now! Back to your irregularly scheduled program of intermittent fashion and geeky posts by yours truly ;)

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23
Jan

Music Love: CIDER CIDER

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TEMPURA KIDZ

Apologies for all the music stuff and lack of proper blog posts lately, but tonight’s discovery simply had to be shared.

Please take three minutes and fifty two seconds of your time and dedicate it to this music video. Forget Gangnam Style or Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – THIS IS THE NEW SHIT!

I promise you, it will be worth it.

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22
Jan

Music Love: Swimming Pools (Drank) by Kendrick Lamar

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18
Dec

Music on my Mind – Favourites of December 2012

Wicked Games by The Weekend

I only just heard this song on the radio today. Be warned, it contains a lot of swearing and is definitely NSFW. If you can deal with the huge amount of f-bomb’s (and let’s face it, if you’re reading my blog, I’m sure you can) then you’re in for a listening sensation. The Weekend’s voice is just amazing, it caresses your wars and makes you feel kind of aroused and sad at the same time. I also love the sexy, simplicity of the film clip, the shadow dancer, caressing The Weekend while he looks apathetic (or maybe just stoned?) is very cool.

Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I have heard this song a lot but it wasn’t until my sister was asking me if I’d heard it when I realised whose song it was. I’d been enjoying listening to Macklemore talking about his album on Triple J as it was the featured album the other week, and didn’t actually realise he also did Thrift Store. I absolutely though a black guy rapped on it! I don’t think I have to really go into much detail about why I love this song (and the clip) because it seems pretty obvious to me (ie. it’s hilarious)!

The Way You Are by Peking duK

Another track I’ve heard on the radio a bit lately (in case I haven’t made it apparent, I listen to Triple J at work, all day every day). These guys are from Canberra and if I was to have seen their website before hearing the sing I probably would never have given them a chance. But I absolutely love it and am probably going to make it my song of summer, even though I’m not going to any festivals this year :( It makes me wish I could do the Melbourne Shuffle better as it’s the perfect song to shuffle to! Please note: I couldn’t find a decent youtube video of this song, as they haven’t yet released the clip, but this video is a good sample of it to see if it’s your thang.

19
Sep

Bitch Bad, Woman Good, Lady Better

This is my new favourite song. Admittedly I like pretty much everything Lupe Fiasco does and conscientious hip hop holds a special place in my heart anyway. So I fell in love with this song almost immediately. Essentially he is drawing attention to the word “bitch” and how it’s used in hip hop and how different people interpret it, whether as a negative insult to women or by girls who try to claim it as an empowering word.

For more clarification, check out the discussion Lupe has with other black artists on MTV about his video and the use of the word bitch in hip hop. It’s really good to see people questioning the connotations of a word traditionally used to insult women and whether or not it can be used as a positive, empowering word by women. Personally, I don’t think so. I mean, look at where the word comes from: female dog. While I am a really big fan of female dogs, it’s always been used as an insult and I hate hearing people call women “bitches” like it’s the new, cool way to say “ladies”. Kind of like how I hate the word slut and how I don’t believe it can ever be reclaimed when it has never been anything but a nasty insult. Like one panelist on the show, Jamilah Lemieux said, there are other, better words we can use to empower ourselves other than callimg ourselves “bitches”.

Don’t even get me started om the social commentary on African American stereotypes. Brilliant!

Anyway, please watch it and see how you feel. Do you think women can reclaim the word “bitch”?

27
Aug

KPOP MADNESS

I’m super late to jump on the bandwagon but over the last few weeks I have gotten into KPOP. In case you’re unaware of the term, it’s short for “Korean Pop Music” and is… exactly what the name says it is. Pop music from Korea (South Korea, obviously). I’ve known a lot of people who have been really into it but seeing as how my favourite band is German, I didn’t want to open that can of worms. But then I discovered the wonder that is Big Bang and their single FANTASTIC BABY and now my life is over. See for yourself:

Luckily for me one of my best friends is Korean so I have someone to share the obsession with. Admittedly I was already a bit of a fan of Girls Generation but obviously it’s not as fun to obsess over girl bands like it is with boy bands. But for the record, this is the cutest song ever:

And then I discovered the GREATEST SONG TO HAVE EVER EXISTED! Yes, it’s is GANGNAM STYLE by PSY. I am in the process of learning the dance to it as my sister have high hopes to do a Gangnam Style flashmob at some point. If you don’t know of this masterpiece, prepare to have your mind blown:

I could go on and on and link you to 30,000 amazing kpop music videos but I thought I’d give you a taste of what I consider the best examples so you can learn more for yourself! ^_^

God damn my obsession with non-English-speaking music!

21
Jul

16 & a Pain in the Arse

I like to think of myself as open-minded with music. As anyone who’s followed my blog for an extended period of time will know, I like a wide variety of music and am no stranger to enjoying a music video that’s a bit shocking and/or controversial. I have admitted I don’t mind the Biebs, I listen to Deutschrock, South African rap, K-Pop, 80s classic and much more. But I cannot stand this:


I don’t watch X Factor so I don’t know anything about this kid, and in fact didn’t know of her existence until I read this article on Mama Mia. Straight up, that is the most obnoxious music video I’ve seen in a long time. In all fairness it’s well made, I wouldn’t have thought it was an Aussie film clip as it has that shiny, US-made look about it. But aside from that, I find it really offensive. Who were the douchebag record executives who heard the pitch for this clip and said “yeah, that’s exactly the kind of music video we wants other kids seeing and thinking is fun and would be great to copy, let’s make it!”.  Because ya know, 16 year old committing petty crime to the dismay of everyone around them is LIEK TOTALLY AWSUM!!11!!

I miss the days when songs by and/or for teenagers were accompanied by cute, harmless videos like Stacie Orrico’s set-at-high-school Stuck On You, Christina Milan’s “sneaking out to go dancing” AM to PM or even the sickneing, family-friendly S Club 7. It’s one thing to bitch about how provocative Lady Gaga or Rihanna are, but their music is not aimed at teenagers (and younger) so as a parent you just gotta say “Nope, you can’t watch this, 11 year old daughter because I am a responsible adult who knows how to lay down the law”. But when music videos by 16 years old show this kind of bullshit? Ugh what the fuck, societies gone to shit anyway, so why am I so surprised?!

Now please excuse me while I sing along to this and then maybe this (not really relevant to this rant, but I’m now on an early-2000’s pop music memory trip).

EDIT: OK so I just noticed that the top-rated comment on her video on YouTube is mine! Haha  WINNER!

20
Jun

What I Wore – Lady Gaga concert

On Saturday night my sister and I went to the Lady Gaga concert! It was a lot of fun, though I will admit it was not quite as mind-blowing as the first concerts I went to back in 2010 (which I wrote about here). But hey, the lady puts on a GREAT show and I was not disappointed. I was also really impressed with how much fan-interaction she had this time. She really does love her fans and while “Little Monsters” sometimes shit me (they’re like a frikken, flamboyant gang sometimes, yo), I loved seeng her talk to fans during the show.

Anyway, on to our outfits!

ME!
Dress: Hackey leatherette dress by Miss Cherry  (from igedo)
Jacket: My precious Lipsy coat from Miss Shop (as also worn to Prince recently)
Leggings: From Avon
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell Nightee (bought from ZOMP)
Handbag: Studded lips from Dangerfield

ERIN!
Dress: Black lace mini dress from Valley Girl
Leggings: Peacock leggings from Black Milk
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell Night Walk from Solestruck

Now, my sister and I are both about 5’9” without shoes. With our JC’s on we were taller than her boyfriend who’s 6’3″ so it’s fair to say we stood out in a crowd in every way possible. We couldn’t go anywhere without hearing someone whisper “OMG their shoes!” which was pretty funny. We got a few compliments but mostly people just stared in awe. I guess it’s pretty darn daunting approaching two girls who are about 6’5″ tall to tell them you like their shoes.! We spent ages before the show people-watching and spotting Black Milk leggings (my sister is a recent convert) and Jeffrey Campbell shoes while sipping champagne.

After the show my feet were in hell. Erin’s shoes are MUCH comfier than mine (I wore hers one night for a few hours and it was like walking on clouds). Because they’re peeptoe’s they cut into one toe a bit and basically I just wasn’t used to them. But I managed to spent almost the whole night in them and even did a fair bit of dancing so they fared better than 60% of my high heels. They’re actually not that hard to walk in, as long as you don’t lean back too much, you’re all right!

It was a really fun night, and I’m glad I shared it with my little sis!

14
Jun

Music Rant: Madonna needs to Grow Up

I think it’s fair to say that I am not a huge fan of Madonna. I loved her 80s stuff and even a lot of her 90s music. But I’ve never been all that fussed with her as a person. It hasn’t anything to do with her scandals, I actually think her Erotica phase was sexy as hell (if you’re going to be a slutty pop star, do it properly like she did, or put some damn clothes on already). I just don’t like… her. I’m not going to dissect why I dislike the woman, because that could take ages. Instead I would like to discuss today’s Madonna. First of all, you should probably watch her new music video:

OK so it’s nothing new. I mean didn’t Lady Gaga do pretty much the same thing in Alejandro? Oh but wait, didn’t everyone accuse Gaga of copying Madonna with that music video? So basically what we have here is Madonna copying Lady Gaga copy Madonna. Confused? I know I am. Look, I love Gaga but I will admit she has clearly copied a lot of what Madonna already did. It’s no biggie, because that’s how pop music tends to work. But to have the “original” artist copy the imitator? Damn, that shit’s wack!

Then there was the “feud” between her and Deadmau5 this week. Deadmau5 got angry at her for making ecstasy references at a festival which she later claimed was a reference to a song that didn’t make it on her record. Oh-kay. As much as I think Deadmau5 is a wanker, I am pretty darn sure she was making a drug reference and I find that pretty tacky, let alone the fact it really is very detrimental to dance music whose image has finally gotten away from the pill-popping culture that dogged it for so long. So she comes up with some bullshit excuse for referencing ecstacy (“No no, I meant the name Molly, not the street slang for the drug which I also reference in the NAME OF MY ALBUM!”). Ya know, Madge, we ain’t all dumb and we don’t appreciate being treated as such. Just FYI.

Look, Madonna was an amazing pop star back in the day. She shaped pop music in new ways and was miles ahead of everyone else in the 80s and even in the 90s. But she’s 53 years old now, with two children (can you believe Lourdes is like, 16 now? Wow, I feel so old). I appreciate the fact she’s kept in superb shape, but the pantless thing is getting beyond a joke. She needs to understand the fact that she can’t keep acting like she’s the same carefree lass like in the early 90s when she released Sex (which I’ve seen and think is actually a very fascinating book, and can be seen here in full if you’re so inclined). It’s not edgy any more, because everyone has copied her and it’s become boring, and seeing her try to recreate it like she’s got something to prove is really kind of sad.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this: Madonna is no longer relevant. There’s nothing she can do any more that will shock us without, I dunno, actually murdering someone live on stage. She’s done it all, and younger, fresher faces are now doing it better. She used to be a chameleon, changing her entire image every couple of years and wowing us all. Now she’s just rehashing her old looks and bringing in other younger artists to try and remind us that is IS relevant and that we should keep listening to her (I mean, Give It To Me with Pharrell has to be one of the most fucking awful pop songs of the last 10 years). It’s getting old and tired and sad.

Sorry Mads, time to retire the body suits, pull on a pair of trousers and age gracefully.

6
Jun

New Music – Die Antwoord “Baby’s On Fire”

If you haven’t heard of Die Antwoord yet, then you’re in for a shock. Whether it’s a good one  or not, is up to you. They’re a South African rap/techno group who are, quite simply, bizarre. I absolutely love them and was so glad I got to see them live at Future Music Festival earlier in the year. Most of their clips are NSFW and might freak out anyone who’s a bit too straight-laced because there’s a fair bit of swearing, sexual/drug references, violence etc. But I find them so refreshing and fun.

I also really dig the whole “zef” culture. I love the “I’m kind of poor but I’m fancy as fuck” thing that they embody so well. I wonder if it would ever take off in Australia? Anyway, enjoy the video!

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