I can’t get behind this cover for Selena Gomez’s new album “Revival”
In her new autobiography, “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs,” Grace Jones puts modern pop stars on blast for failing to be shocking by trying to be shocking:
“They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts – that is the status quo.”
Ms. Jones is so right. It’s not shocking AT ALL anymore when modern pop stars do something “shocking.” You know what would be shocking? Madonna making an age appropriate album instead of making us pretend for the millionth year in a row that she’s 21.
That’s why when I saw the cover for Selena Gomez’s upcoming album “Revival,” I was nothing but disappointed at it’s sad attempt to be shocking, because I was unaware that patriarchal nudity was still considered shocking.
For real: Is she challenging the patriarchy by showing us her naked body on this album? Is she challenging rape culture? Exploring her own sexuality? Promoting feminism? A woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body?
Based on the lyrical content of her latest single “Good For You,” I don’t think so:
Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
Do my hair up real, real nice
And syncopate my skin to your heart beating
‘Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
First of all: honey, it’s 2015. NO.
Second: These lyrics are all sorts of NOPE.
The song was written, unsurprisingly, by three men and one woman.
Let that sink in like a long, wet fart from a stranger 5 minutes into your hour long bus commute. A 23-year-old female pop singer is singing a song written by dudes, about wanting to please dudes and look good for dudes. In 2015. It’s not as if songs like these haven’t been hitting our mom’s Dodge Caravan radios for decades/millennia, but the tides have turned. Rihanna is known for not writing her music, but at least she has the intelligence and will to curate empowering music like “Bitch Better Have My Money” that tears the shit out of the patriarchy.
More and more people learn about what rape culture is everyday. Feminism is discussed daily in the media. And “Good For You” is nothing if not another tired attempt at perpetuating harmful patriarchal ideas, like women only wanting to look good for the male gaze, or that anybody not going to their senior prom is wearing an updo. Which begs the question:
WHY IS A FEMALE POP STAR SINGING ABOUT LIVING FOR THE MALE GAZE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MAINSTREAM FEMINIST MOVEMENT?
Was Selena so hungry for a hit song that she didn’t care about the contents? Did her label make her do this? Is her career managed by 40+ year old men who have total boners for the patriarchy? All signs point to probably. This is hardly the first time she’s sang a song that is decidedly anti-feminist (no wonder Rihanna passed on “Come and Get It“).
It would be one thing if feminism wasn’t being talked about EVERYWHERE. Or if Taylor Swift, arguably the queen of the entire music industry right now, hadn’t ignited conversation about the importance of being a feminist for the past year. Or if Britney wasn’t tell all men to “suck my fucking toe.” Or, you know, if THE Beyonce hadn’t performed in front of a GIANT SIGN that literally said FEMINIST on MTV.
It’s very true that pop music has not always politically correct or woman-friendly (Blurred Lines, anyone?). But we live in a really special time in mainstream music right now where women are writing and producing their own music more than ever before in a typically male-dominated industry. Taylor Swift, Grimes, Katy Perry, SIA and Lady Gaga, to name a few, all have a heavy hand in writing, composing and producing their own music. It’s amazing! It’s inspiring! And it’s about goddamn time to have actual female perspectives via the written word in mainstream music.
It’s one thing if you’re writing your own music about loving the male gaze, or wanting to look good for that Canadian human mop Justin Bieber. But it is quite another to not even be involved in writing the gross songs that support the patriarchy. Good thing you’re teaching all your young, impressionable, coming-of-age fans that it’s cool to do everything you can to please men sexually. How progressive of u.
Lorde famously called Selena out in the press for singing anti-feminist songs. And she’s right. There’s no place for this in mainstream music anymore. Popular culture is changing, women in music are more empowered than ever and ain’t nobody got time for that male gaze shit. I get dressed for ME, I wear lipstick for ME and so should YOU, Selena. You, your fans and top 40 radio deserve better than this. It’s 2015©.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.