Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To Twerk or Not To Twerk?

Boy is this a confusing time to be a feminist. I've got all sorts of people arguing either in favor or in hatred of twerking, and here I am wondering when having a big butt suddenly became a style and not something I was cursed with.

Let me start by saying that having a big butt is not easy to deal with, especially when you're 5' tall. Sir Mix A Lot's song is a great source of pride, until he starts doling out measurements and you realize that all the girls in his video have pretty small butts compared to the average American woman. Plenty of men are legit into big butts, and they're having their day right now because girls are becoming more confident and less afraid to show them. A great example of this is Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass", which basically became an overnight sensation and an anthem for girls who don't measure up to society's standards.

Hell, even I like the song!

I've seen some wacky things all week from the world in regards to femininity and music, one of them being a big rant from Jill Janus in regards to a poll she referred to as a “Vote for the Hottest Female Metal Vocalist” contest. Since Metalholic's Vote Top 25 Women in Metal poll was released, people (myself included) believe she was referring to that, which is kind of annoying because Metalholic goes out of it's way to say that this is not a "hot" contest. And while I can understand being annoyed by online polls, I can't see myself getting pissed when one of the top contenders being voted on is a singer from Baby Metal.

I mean really, how can girls like me compete with cute teenage girls in tutus?

Which brings me to my original topic; to twerk or not to twerk.

You see, Mastadon released a new music video that involves a lot of twerking. Some people say they're making fun of Nikki Minaj, but that's not true. Mastadon's Brann Dailor claims they "didn’t know about the Nicki Minaj video until after." 

Some people say the video is extremely sexist, which isn't hard to imagine considering the music (which does include metal) industry doesn't often see women as more than bodies. Objects. Things the obtain or admire, visually. Can they be called sexist if that wasn't their intention? I'd like to say no, but this is a product of our society. Our culture is inherently sexist, so when people use women as decorations, it's not because they're saying "women are here to decorate my music video", it's because they've been trained to think that this is how women should be depicted and that's okay.Watching this video, you could come to many conclusions. "They're making fun of rap videos" is one of them, and I'll admit that there's something a little annoying about the idea of three white guys making fun of rap videos and black culture in general. Then again, making fun of objectification could be a noble stance, but they've already said they're not doing that. So what are they doing? It's become normal for a lot of men to see women dancing like this and think it's funny, it's fun, the women are "empowered" and they don't have a problem, so it must be okay. And to be honest, I don't necessarily argue with that. If women choose to use their bodies in this way, who are we to judge their choices? It's a free country, we should be free to show or not show our bodies as much as we want, correct?

Then you could say that the more women allow people to treat us this way, the more they expect us to stay this way. But to blame this on women would be akin to victim blaming, wouldn't it? Just because I wear a bikini doesn't mean you have the right to discriminate against me or how you perceive my intelligence. So lets put this in another perspective; if I twerk and you think I'm stupid, is this my fault or yours? And why should I care about your opinion?

Because we're entertainers, that's why. And while I've accepted that the only way to make a living with music is to give the listening public exactly what they want, sometimes that includes twerking. And enormous surgically enhanced boobs or butts. Sex in lyrics. All the things I just can't bring myself to do.