Saturday, December 13, 2008

Britney Spears adds to cultural dialogue

If I want to talk about hook-up culture, do I want this effing lame article from the New York Times, complete with line graphs?

Or do I want the song "Blur" by Britney Spears, which sexily recounts getting blackout drunk and waking up the next morning unsure if you've fucked the guy sleeping next to you. Of course, the song adds vague date rape/personal responsibility through the chorus:
"Can't remember what I did last night
Maybe I shouldn't have given in
But I just couldn't fight
Hope I didn't but I think I might've
Everything, everything is still a blur"

In case the idea of a girl giving drunken consent to sex (...and how to we distinguish this from sheepish shame?) isn't enough, her song "Trouble" has this gem:

"You and I, left alone cannot be trusted
There's a lust we can't control
Slowly undress, chest to chest
And unless I say goodnight,
I know we're only gonna go too far
Please, I'm not quite ready for that next level
One kiss and that spells trouble (Trouble)

But you could talk me in, talk me into it
If you wanted to
You could talk me in, talk me into it
If you only knew"

I hate to horse shit in your parade, but this idea of coy refusal of sex when you really-kinda want it is effed up, and why people get date raped. Seriously, Britney, it's okay to want sex and ask for it, you shouldn't have to hold out until the last moment, get talked into it, or be so wasted you can justify your forwardness by how drunk you are.

I hate to proscribe behavior; Britney's songs reflect reality. There is something hot about being submissive and conforming to the stereotypically feminine role. In each of these songs, there are moments that frame the faux-submission and let us know she's somewhat complicit ("You and I, we can't be trusted" in "Trouble; the irreverent "Turn the lights out/This shit is way too fucking bright /Wanna poke my eyes out/Just let me get my head right /Where the hell am I?" in "Blur")

There's a lot going on in these songs, they're speaking to a lot of discourses going on about female-male relations. Britney gets my credit for lyrics like "I''m into phonography" (What? seriously? Okay, whatever...) and "Touch of My Hand" on her last album or so, her response to the Divinyl's "I Touch Myself."

So I am going to backtrack a bit: I think the songs are shocking, and I think they talk about some pretty effed up stuff, but let's face it, many of us have been there, done that, many of us have also been sexually assaulted (fun fact!), the world is messy, and I think it would be worse for songs to all conform to IDEALS, not REALITY.

This last idea comes courtesy of Miles Forman, who hosted a Q and A yesterday after a screening of his 1960's Czech New Wave film, Fireman's Ball, a comedy banned in the communist country for portraying REAL people, not socialist ideals of how the world will work out. Presenting facts, impressions, etc., leads to discussion (my blog post!) and I'm not going to force Britney into saying something more positive about women.

However, as far as subversive songs go, I still LOVE The Trucks (who I saw a couple years ago at Capitol Hill Block Party) and their song "T*****s" (your guess, this is the song's name from when I got it off iTunes). Oooo, and Peaches!!! Both of these chanteuses have these songs about using men, and the androgyny is soooo refreshing! I heart them so much.

I've had a couple glasses of Cab, so forgive me if this post is a bit crazy. Off to a party (and coming home alone, esp. after getting fired up about this post!)

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