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Internalized Misogyny Playlist: 11 Songs by Women Hating on Women

Because misogyny is everywhere in our culture, internalized misogyny is also, unfortunately, everywhere. You know how it goes—maybe you find yourself hating on your body, or judging other women’s sexuality, or doubting your own awesomeness at work. Goddess forbid, you may have even uttered the phrase “I don’t like other girls.” Even the most hardcore of feminists are influenced by the white supremacist patriarchy’s messages about girls and women. And so are the most successful of female pop stars. Why are there *so* many songs about how stupid / deceptive / sneaky / crazy / unimpressive girls are… that are sung by women? Are these songs self-implicating appraisals of our culture’s sexist standards? Or just plain-old sexist themselves? Or simply honest expressions of women’s emotions… which are therefore inherently kinda sorta feminist? In the spirit of unpacking our internalized sexism knapsacks or Louis Vuitton bags, I rounded up eleven well-known female-fronted songs that hate on women—here they are, in no particular order:

1) “Stupid Girl” – Garbage

Not to be confused with “Stupid Girl” by The Rolling Stones, or “Stupid Girl” by Neil Young (hey, fuck you guys!), this song is one of several from the Songs by Women Called “Stupid Girl” canon. It features 90s chick singer icon Shirley Manson berating a “stupid girl” (herself? Someone else entirely?) for basically being a hot mess and a fake who wasted everything she had like the beautiful fool that she is. Is this song a self-aware look at one woman’s internal monologue amidst society’s messages about how “stupid” girls are? Or merely a condemnation of girls for being stupid wherein the speaker attempts to distance herself from a dumb, misguided girl who fucked up her whole life? Also, omg you guys, who hasn’t pretended they’re high and/or bored, just to be adored?!

 

2) “Stupid Girls” – Pink

This song presents the classic sexist binary of “stupid” girls who carry around tiny dogs and wear tinier t-shirts and go tanning (oh so 00s) and “not-stupid” girls who wear suits and run for president. It’s kind of weirdly an anthem of second wave feminist ethos. This song contains the cutting and very apropos to our current historical moment lines: “What happened to the dream of a girl president?/ She’s dancin’ in the video next to 50 Cent,” and “I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in/ That will never be me/ Outcasts and girls with ambition/ That’s what I wanna see.” This song is confusing, ‘cause Pink herself wears tight clothes and dances and parties—but for some reason (ahem. Internalized misogyny) chooses to reinforce a tired, sexist binary that girls who do these things can’t also be smart and ambitious.

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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R.I.P. Chantal Akerman, “pioneer of modern feminist cinema.” You can find some of her films here.

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup

 

If you were to argue that the only things to look at on the internet this week are pics of dogs in Santa hats, entire families in matching jammies, and your couple friends posing for ironic holiday card portraits, you’d be wrong, but you wouldn’t be that wrong. But fear not: WEIRD SISTER is dedicated to pleasing all you feminist news junkies home for the holidays, feeling your weird sister (or weird brother) roles afresh, experiencing that particular ennui known as “No one in my family is interested in debating the nuances of Beyoncé’s feminism,” and desperately scrolling your phone for something to remind you of your core values. Your hardcore pop literary feminist values.

Well, you’ve found it! Here’s this week’s links roundup:

90s nostalgia now has its own TV show, called Hindsight, debuting soon on VH1. (And if I didn’t feel called-out enough by the “What if you had been less Angela and more Rayanne?” ad I saw in the subway the other day, it turns out the protagonist’s name is Becca. :/ ) You can watch the trailer for the show here.

Speaking of subways, the NYC MTA about to launch its campaign against man spreading, and Gothamist recently interviewed men on the train about whether they were familiar with the term. My favorite response is from the guy who says, “If you notice, every man on the train has their legs wide open, am I correct? But you have to.” But you have to! Such simple, straightforward, elegant illogic.

 

In year-end music news, Ann Powers writes about how “Beyoncé set the bar for the several other women who scaled pop commerce’s heights with her in 2014, to present selves and songs defined by a feminist concept of abundance” and Jezebel rounded up a bunch of smart cultural critics to talk about “Nicki Minaj’s Ass and Feminism.” I also loved this little piece at The Toast called “Requests Made By Blondie During ‘Call Me,’ In Order Of Reasonableness,” wherein “Call me any day or night” is slotted in the “High-Maintenance But Nothing Unusual” category.

It only took 91 years, but this year Disney finally realized that audiences love female protagonists interested in more than just getting married. Marvel’s got some catching up to do, but plans to release Captain Marvel, its first movie with a female lead, in 2017. Manohla Dargis tells us how bleak the situation is for women directors trying to get hired by the six major Hollywood studios, which only released three movies directed by women this year. That’s right, T-H-R-E-E. Dargis reminds us that this probably isn’t a conscious act of discrimination, but the product of ye olde subtle, insidious sexism, which “often works like a virus that spreads through ideas, gossip, and stories about women, their aesthetic visions and personal choices, and doubts about whether they can hack it in that male-dominated world. Of course, the end result is that female directors don’t get hired.”

I loved this interview with Taja Lindley or Colored Girls Hustle on Feministing, which reminds us of the ways fashion and ornament have been historically devalued because they’re aligned with femininity:

Anytime we choose to enjoy and celebrate our bodies, it is a big middle-finger-up to all of the systems and people who would like us to hate ourselves instead, that would like us to be dead instead. Honoring and affirming our bodies by ornamenting them with adornment is a pleasure ritual. It is a freedom ritual to discover and express pleasure in a body that is under constant, severe, calculated, and systematic policing, surveillance, hypersexualization, demonization, marginalization and other forms of attack.

“If I was the fountain, she was the crank”: Dawn Lundy Martin’s essay on moving to San Francisco at 22 at learning from Angela Davis is worth it for the gorgeous prose alone, and is also very wise and very timely.

Last but not least, Ms. has a list of the top ten feminist hashtags of 2014. For me, it was the year of the affirmative hashtags #YesAllWomen and #BlackLivesMatter: yes and yes.

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