All my favorite songs are kind of misogynistic and I’m not sure how to feel about that.
I’ve always loved rock and roll. Better than the actual music was the theatricality of it all, for me anyway. Growing up in the age of the MTV and music videos, I had everything I could ever want: rock-rock/shock-rock/cock-rock 24hrs a day, and metaphors transparent enough for a 4yr old to pick up what you barely put down. I have vivid memories of going through my mom’s old records – everything from Zeppelin to REO Speedwagon to John Denver & The Muppets. That, and she would vacuum to Ted Nugent‘s Cat Scratch Fever.
Which brings me to what some might call, my ‘poor taste’ in…things. It’s probably all MTV’s fault, really, though this also bleeds into film and television. To this day I love a show. I want to see a spectacle when I see my concerts. Fire. Explosions. Ladies dancing in cages…
So is it ok? What I just said? Because as someone who is extremely vocal about societies pressures/expectations/bullshit views on women, I kinda feel bad that my one of my favorite song/music video combos is this:
Which compared to today’s standards is pretty tame, but when I was a kid and this came out (I was 1. One year old when it came out) it was pretty hot. And I never wanted a pair of frilly socks and pink pumps more than I did the first time I watched it (which was not when I was one…maybe 3?). To be honest, this music video rocked my goddamned world, and from there is spiraled out of control.
This music video did a lot of things to me. First, I was 5 when it came out. Second, it made me curious as to what the people in the windows were doing. Third, it made me feel things for Joe Perry that I didn’t quite understand, but I knew whatever it was, it was going to be terrible and delicious.
These music videos were an awakening to my prepubescent mind and body that were everything a parent should be concerned about. As time went on, so did my admiration for video vixens. What 4yr old didn’t want to ride a pole like the ladies in this video:
And then this happened…
Which marked an era in which I was madly in love with boys who looked like girls, and also looked like they smelled bad. Which obviously I loved. And obviously my parents hated. Which obviously made me love it even more. This was a time that I could safely say, if I were of age (and not in elementary school) I would have been in big trouble in little China, if you know what I mean. Of course, at this point I didn’t really know anyone else who felt the same way, except for maybe my mom’s best friend, Emily. She had a tattoo of a rose in her ear and I thought that was rad, and she carried herself with an air of utter ‘I don’t give a fuck’, which I admired greatly.
I didn’t have posters of these guys on my wall though, because, aside from Emily, I didn’t have friends that liked this stuff. Sure, my brother did, but he was moving more into Metallica, metal, etc. I was stuck with my cock-rock and no one understood. I once tried to write a report on why Steven Tyler was my hero, but my mom put the kibosh on that because of some minor infractions (he was a drug addict, wah wah wah) so instead I had to write my report on why the actress Marcia Cross was my hero. Granted, I did enjoy Melrose Place, but c’mon. So, instead of Steven Tyler reports and posters of David Lee Roth’s ass on my wall, I had this:
I’m not sure it gets more vanilla than a JTT milk campaign taped to the inside of your closet door.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am afraid of everything and that I dress like a nun who’s still exploring her boundaries. I was routinely mistaken for a boy (it was the grunge era!) and outright refused to wear tank tops in public until the 10th grade (not. an. exaggeration.) and I am rarely seen in a V neck. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these are my favorite videos.
Not only are the video vixens in control of their destinies, but the video vixens are a tale of self exploration! By the power of rock and roll were they able to come out of their shells and be the hot sluts they knew they had in them all along.
I was the video slut in the closet, hiding behind a milk ad.
She’s me. She’s you. The video vixen is in us all, a little bit. As much of a fantasy as these videos were for guys, I think they were just as exciting for girls.
Does that make me a bad lady ambassador? I’d like to think not. Sure, my taste in music tends to be wholly misogynistic and the videos are sexually exploitative, but at least when I watch the women writhe for the entertainment of men I am still aware that they are human beings with value and things to offer the world…like splits on car hoods:
In high school I went to a concert and saw a woman flash her boobs at the stage. I instinctively yelled something to the effect of “it’s important to be smart too!”. It’s not so hard. Seeing that people are sexually adventurous but also intelligent, worthy of respect and dignity.
I’ll also freely admit I’m a horrible hypocrite, because I have so little patience for this shit in a modern context. Mostly because it’s just been done, but also because I’m not sure a lot of musicians know the difference between degradation and fantasy. Of course, calling a woman a ragdoll that you throw away when you are done isn’t wholesome…
I suppose, if I’m going to have the blatant objectification of women, it better be retro. I’m not sure that’s ok. But all my favorite songs are misogynistic and I’m just gonna go with it. What can I say? I love excess.