There are plenty of songs where singers (men and women) sing about unrequited love due to the parent(s) not understanding their partner. But there’s an overwhelming amount of songs where it’s the girl’s parents that are the "problem." She either has to runaway from them, sit quietly waiting for her prince to come, or her lover fights with her parents on her behalf. This can be attributed to the long-standing view that women are her parent’s property, only to be sold off as a burden to another man. Women were only valued if they were virgins and chaste, if they ruined that chastity out of wedlock, then they were subject to sever punishment or outcaste from society as a worthless. Thus, a woman’s parents would keep short reigns on their daughters to control her sexuality and their personal freedom. Though we have come a long way from these feudal practices, remnants of seeing women as property of their parents are rampant in today’s pop songs. There's some sort of romantic notion that a parent’s overprotectiveness could somehow equal love, rather than seen as a problem of adultism and sexism. Not to mention, women are only seen as desirable when the answer is no (whether it’s coming from the parents or themselves), which adds to rape culture. It tells others, that when a woman says no, she really means yes, and to chase after her (literally) more than ever.
In recent news, Ariana Grande has called out one fan for making her feel objectified by referring to her as if she was a piece of a meat and not a real person. Backlash in the comment section ensued. Some people say, “your boyfriend is a rapper, and now you feel objectified?!” Or, “stop shaking your half naked ass, you're objectifying yourself!” Yes, maybe Grande did build her pop empire on songs with very obvious sexual innuendos and the pop music industry's stereotypically conventional beauty standards for women. But that doesn't give anyone the right to make someone, even a celebrity (celebrities are people too, rich people, but people), feel like they're just there for your sexual enjoyment, or owe you sex because they're a celebrity.
It’s obvious to say that straight women are privileged because they have less rigid gender boxes than straight men. LGBTQ+ women and men have their own gender boxes put on them by our straight society and their own communities, but since I only have the experiences of a straight woman I will be exclusively writing about that today as to not misconstrue the queer experience. Specifically, I want to talk about straight women and gender expression. Gender is a performance that each of us acts out every day. Our costumes are made by cheap outlet stores, our lines and expectations are scripted for us by writers, directors and producers we’ve never met, and still we think ‘gender, sexuality and sex’ is natural. Straight women are able to perform gender more loosely than straight men due to the patriarchy letting us. Though it seems liberating at first, I argue men let women act ‘manly’ (be the boss, wear pants) not to empower us, but to tell us our self worth isn't based on our own accomplishments, but by getting their permission. Isn’t it ironic that to be a powerful woman, you have to be a man? There’s very little, if any, space for femininity and empowerment to exist in a single individual.
When I was in grade school through high school I got picked on a lot for various reasons. My friends as well got harassed by boys who either taunted us with racial or sexist slurs or try to take things from us or poke us. We as girls and later as women didn't do anything about it. Rather we took the abuse because we knew as 'losers' and racial minorities in the school no one, not even the teachers, would care or know what to do When I watched TV at home of Hollywood's version of high school for some solace and escapism from real school I saw this mantra being played out, 'he's only doing those things because he likes you. He doesn't know how to express his emotions, he's just a guy. Guys mature emotionally slower than girls, you know?' So, being the impressionable girl that I was I believed these lies.
23 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.