female empowerment… sure or not?

My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And their like “It’s better than yours”
Damn right, It’s better than yours,
I can teach you, but I have to charge

You are quite forgiven if you think Kelis was talking about a proper milkshake. You know, like the ones in McDonalds. RM2.99 to make the kids and Suanie happy all day long. Okay, maybe only 4 hours.

Then you put on your thinking cap and go, “Hang on, this is the musical era dominated by the likes of Beyonce and Pussycat Dolls and Sean Paul and Nelly and Snoop Dog. That’s not a proper milksha…. oh.”

When Aretha Franklin warbled about RESPECT some 40 years ago, I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean flashing your terribly-concealed jugs to get the attention and respect you want from the opposite sex. Or the same sex. Or green aliens with big friendly eyes. Or walruses.

I know it’s a demand and supply thing — sex sells, duh. We want more pretty faces. We want more boobs. We want more hourglass figures in skimpy clothing, preferably with pretty faces and nice boobs. The more we get, the more we want. It’s an insatiable, inexhaustible market that comes up with every possible angle to get your attention and hopefully, money.

Come up to Carlsberg, anyone?

Well, it’s business. Nothing wrong with business.

So when I write this topic, I may be biting off more than I can chew. Below is a conversation I had with my sis, just to give you a better idea of how difficult it is if you want to properly write about these kind of things.

Suanie: I am thinking of writing something about the sexuality movement today that supposedly empowers you as a female, using music videos as an example; the girls walking down the streets in mink coats and ignoring the men who whistle at them.
Sis: Ah… but then you are showing half your butt in the short shorts under the mink coat.
Suanie: Precisely.
Sis: I think it’s damn stupid. But I think they have no choice. Black women have to have so much attitude because all the black men have so much attitude.
Suanie: Yeah but why men don’t have to show their titties? People like Melissa Etheridge, no need to show anything.
Sis: Because they are ugly fucks with ugly titties hehehe. Melissa Etheridge probably doesn’t get paid as much in endorsements.
Suanie: But she gets respect. Cannot buy respect.
Sis: Yeah but respect’s not going to pay for your bling bling. But then she probably doesn’t wear much bling bling, doesn’t go with her look.

Have to think of this and that factors, that and this influences.

But my main point is, if they want to sing about being a survivor and I get all the boys in the yard and come push my buttons I dictate when and where and respect me biatch or I shove muh bling bling up uranus, the conflicting messages between the lyrics and images make it quite hard to take them seriously.

So at the end of the day, female empowerment konon.

Feel free to expound on this topic lah. Got to sleep now but will talk about it more in comments, that is if someone comments on it first lah.

comments

Comments

  1. Some excellent points here. Good post.

  2. “I know it’s a demand and supply thing — sex sells..”
    hmmm…if demand outstrips supply, and you’re the supplier, doesn’t that gives you power?
    that’s empowerment – just not in the way u’d prefer it to be.

  3. steveneleven says:

    what’s wrong with Pussycat dolls asking us to push some buttons.. I like it! How boring it would be without pussycat dolls and TLR and shit like that.

    I think men need to learn to respect the boundaries, and women, ought to know hers and be confident abt her sexuality. I love dancing and all that suggestive move, but never once do I lust(ok maybe a few times). But then its becoz I am high and I really wanna enjoy a dance. I touch and twist and rub against some bodies and whatever, but respectfully not in a perverted way. Perhaps taking up cool social dance like salsa, merengue will teach men and women abt that boundaries, that we MAY be touching and dancing like sluts and bitches, but we’re only enjoying that dance, that freedom of expression.

  4. this is le gr8 post.

    but my brain is tired. cannot think of anything to reply.

    soli.

  5. “When the buying sto…” oops, that one is animal conservation.

    Seriously, sex sells. That’s why the phrase ‘oldest profession in the world’ exists.

    What can be done? No idea, but i will have a looksee at this takebackthetech thingie.

  6. I think one element that’s sometimes forgot when people talk about feminism and women in society is the role of men.
    I think “success” has largely been defined in “male” terms. I know, this is the crazy liberal hippy talking, but a result of the feminist movement could be that women now want to validate themselves in a “male” conception of society.

    Case in point, pop and ‘urban’ music. Most of the more “successful” (ie, richer) female singers/groups are those that use sex to sell, like you’ve said. In a way, this has been done by men as well, with songs about sexual conquests and multiple partners. Now, we get the flip side. Singers like Nelly Furtado (gosh, what a fall from grace…) sing songs called “Promiscuous”, and go top of the pops.
    Women begin asserting themselves like their male counterparts, “hell, if you can have a lot of partners, so can I. If that’s a way to achieve some kind of validation, by society or otherwise, lemme at it”.

    I’m not saying that we should revert to Puritanical taboos, and have the genders divided and what not. Its just that there needs to be more emphasis, by both men and women, on the substance behind the sex. If the main way for anyone, male or female, to get validation or self-esteem is through the physical, with no regard for the person underneath, then we lose that which makes us unique.

    I think its great that women now have the choice to “sing” and “dance” like the Pussycat Dolls, or heck even like Playboy Bunnies if that’s how they are so inclined, but I think it’s a sad day when that’s the only method that women are able to be valued in society.
    In a weird way, it reminds me of female genital mutilation, or even the wearing of the burkha. People are sometimes quick to attack these social practices as demeaning and offensive to women, depriving them of their individuality and choice that have become hallmarks of society, at least in the West.
    Yet is there also not some element of oppression in a society that makes women feel inadequate for not being pretty enough / thin enough / sexy enough / tall enough / voluptuousness enough?

    For our part, maybe if men stopped patronising companies/restaurants/whatever that made money off women as hour-glass shaped slot-machines, ready at the drop of a coin, then things might change.

  7. Let’s talk about sex for now
    To the people at home or in the crowd
    It keeps coming up anyhow
    Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
    Cuz that ain’t gonna stop it
    Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
    Many will know anything goes
    Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be
    How it was, and of course, how it should be
    Those who think it’s dirty have a choice
    Pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off
    Will that stop us, Pep? I doubt it

  8. I agree completely with Echo – we are now trying to live like men and behave like men and enjoy the same sexual ‘freedoms’ they have – unfortunately music videos like those by Nelly Furtado (and I also agree- how disappointing after her brilliantly independent earlier work) and the Pussycat Dolls masquerade as women ‘doing it for themselves’ by prancing around in next-to-nothing, when all that succeeds in doing is giving men the eye-candy they have always sought and always managed to obtain: now men are obtaining it by cleverly making us believe we are doing it for ourselves, and not for them. We are being so easily manipulated.

    And as for steveneleven’s comments about how he grinds up against girls in a ‘respectful’ way and not a ‘perverted’ way – well, sorry to break it to you, but you cannot be the judge of that – only the girls you grind against have the right to determine whether you’re perverted or not!

  9. steveneleven says:

    JENNY: LOL thks for pointing that out, I have to agree…

  10. my fren showed me a female mag the other day and you were featured in it~ along with cynthia` :D

  11. HOI!

    Project LEAN MACHINE update, NOW! :-P

  12. well we’ve been using our sex appeal to get men to do things for us for so long that it is hardly surprising that it’s now being so blatantly exploited in the entertainment industry.

    however, getting a guy to help pick up your dry cleaning just by batting your eyelashes at him or “accidentally” brushing your hand against his is still very different from believing that sex is power and respect.

    the former is clever flirting. the latter is just pathetic.

  13. I started by typing in a comment here how much I BOO BOO-ed the whole female empowerment movement but the comment just got too long. And since I like it long and I am sure Suanie loves it long, you can read the extremely long comment here.

    Now everyone can love it long too =)

  14. the logo of takebackthetech?
    with the girl lashing the whip and all.
    look more kinky than empowerment leh.

    on a more serious note, the whip thingy even suggests something violent.

    if you know why the logo is designed that way, can you pls. clarify. thanks.:)

  15. Dude, wait till you listen to JoJo’s new album. I thought I was too high on coke(sic!)when I heard she sang “I love how you do me like that”

    Uhm, “do me”?? I’m sorry, but is there other more innocent explanation to that term?

    JoJo is 15 btw. :D

  16. mac: ty

    gamB: a different sort of empowerment, but it has its repercussions

    steven11: but who dictates the bounderies? nothing wrong with PCD. itÂ’s just not female empowerment, especially after watching their live performance at the AMA. TLR, whatÂ’s that?

    Chen: actually my brain also koyak. but what to do, promised lainie liao :D i love lainie

    julianME: donÂ’t buy fur! actually i am all for legalised prostitution :D but thatÂ’s another post lah, one that i donÂ’t think i will write because it requires more research and reading and deeper understanding. but from where i stand now, i sapot.

    Echo: great comment!

    “I think its great that women now have the choice to ‘sing’ and ‘dance’ like the Pussycat Dolls, or heck even like Playboy Bunnies if that\u2019s how they are so inclined, but I think it\u2019s a sad day when that’s the only method that women are able to be valued in society.”

    You just summarised the intentions of my post.

    Mydeen: herro

    Jenny: PCD masquerade as women? lmao! hahah they are not real women to begin with?? hahaha

    Ben: Yeap I blogged about it too :D

    SF: yeah yeah :D WILL DO!

    lishun: agreed

    Otto: I read .. now just need to add on but atm swamped with work lahhh

    gamB: I have no idea why. now that u mentioned it…

    Z: oh yeah Jojo. i wanted to write about her too but i plain forgot. sheÂ’s 15 meh? I thought sheÂ’s 16 this year haha. man, JoJo is the prime example lah. what to do, britney getting older. need a replacement for that market.

  17. I agree that there are many conflicting messages being vocalized in the music industry. That is one of the reasons our youth are so confused.

    To the comment about women trying to act like men… women have lived in a male dominated society for so long and have been mistreated, abused, and used. We are fed up. I agree that we have to find other ways to get this point across. Maybe we could include female unity with empowerment, then we would be a force to reckon with.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] For more blogs on this: See Suanie, Fire Angel or Lainie. [...]

  2. [...] The reason I wrote the previous post was because I’d watched one of Oprah’s shows, where a ‘video girl’ came out to say that the girls you see in the hip-hop/rap videos are in actual fact very much disrespected. Won’t go into details, use your imagination [...]

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