Saturday, December 20, 2008

Confidence isn't dirty

Have you ever noticed how so many women are ashamed of saying they look hot? Self-loathing is such a big thing throughout a girl's adolescence that confidence can seem shameful, much like masturbation and the appreciation of nudity to those who have grown up sheltered. Women have been conditioned to believe that loving yourself is wrong.

Which brings to me the following... what do you think Kelis' "Milkshake" is about?

Go ahead, guess. I've had so many conversations about this topic with people, and I have heard the most unlimited amount of crazy answers. (I could tell you my favorite, but it's quite NSFW.)

There is absolutely no obvious sexual innuendo in this song. Really, look at the lyrics (not to mention the ridiculous opinions people have of its meaning). And if you've ever read her column in Missbehave, you'll know this woman seriously knows her shit. She is a strong feminist, and while it might not appear as such, "Milkshake" is indeed a feminist anthem. I have a great amount of respect for Kelis and believe she is much smarter than people would think-- and has anyone ever considered how tongue-in-cheek this song may be? Come on, she drops a bunch of really vague shit into a song, advertises it to have sexual connotations (the video, the single cover to the right), and leads people to create the craziest ideas of its meaning-- while she has said herself that it is about confidence, sex appeal. If you think about it all, it makes for a BRILLIANT parody of the neverending sexual stereotyping of female artists, as she successfully turns a concept completely on its head.

Another constantly mistaken song is Tweet's sexy hit "Oops (Oh My)". While VH1 trashed it as blatant narcissism, many believe it to be about masturbation (a meaning she rejects, contrary to the song's implications of such)-- when really, the song revolves around the singer's original lack of confidence. She's gone through some rough patches in her life, and at one point, she was so ashamed of how she looked (upon her self-discovery: "I'm turning red, who could this be?") that she was planning on killing herself. As crazy as it sounds, she was saved by a phone call from her dear friend Missy Elliott, who she now calls her Guardian Angel, asking her to provide vocals for her album Miss E... So Addictive. Tweet has said "Oops (Oh My)" is a discovery of how beautiful she really is.

It's depressing how so many seem to believe that women are so desperate for fame that they will sexually exploit themselves through music-- but of course, so many women like that HAVE existed (*cough*, Pussycat Dolls, *cough*) that culture has gotten itself into a pit of believing they will sing about anything to make money (no thanks to former Jesus freak Katy Perry's female-degrading frat party antics-- you know the one I mean, sorry Alex), which my heroine Lily Allen has so wonderfully parodied in "The Fear" ("I'll take my clothes off / and it will be shameless / 'Cuz everyone knows / that that's how you get famous"). And obviously, that's a girl who has learned to understand the meaning of "Milkshake".
So why can't everyone else? And what the hell is up with this sexualization of female confidence?
You tell me.


Erika said...

There's this awesome quote Christina Aguilera has that basically says, "I'm overconfident about my sexiness and sex appeal because it puts me in control and I love the feeling of being in control."

More women need to own their sexiness. Can men? No. Do men have hips? Or breasts? Or curves, or natural seduction? No. It's all just for us.

Women who chastise others for their ability to own their beauty and sexiness only do so because of the inability to own theirs.

Erika said...

Oh wait, I think I see what you mean. I think this might go back to women harnessing their sex appeal in order to find confidence. I think the two are completely interdependent on one another. But if you think back to film noir, women used their sex appeal to be in control of the situation and the man. I think all of this is because we aren't exactly taught that intelligence=confidence. Especially in grade school. The most popular girl was usually pretty confident because she was adored, not because her GPA was a 4.0. At least that was my grade school experience.

Lolita Hazed said...

I agree with both things you said, completely.
1) I think people have sort of been conditioned to believe that women only use their sexiness because of men, not because they're confident, and like that chick in The Producers said, if you got it, why not flaunt it? Thinking you are beautiful is a beautiful thing, and everyone should. It does not equal narcissism. And you know what? I think we're put in a really degrading spot because yes, you're right, we have all these REALLY great and powerful things men don't, so we are often categorized into places we don't belong just for being honest.
2) I forget it because of my environment, but you're completely right about intelligence compared to confidence. A lot of people have assumed that "you can't be smart and pretty", you know? And beauty fades. If you are confident in yourself for who you are, you'll go much farther than if you're just pretty. You've gotta have that something to back it up.

That something is a milkshake.


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