A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

miscellaneous news
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND #19 (article first published : 2006-08-1)

I was absolutely fascinated by a discussion on OPRAH recently when she had as her guest modern-day musician PINK. It seems PINK’s latest music video, Stupid Girls, has sparked one of immense proportions, attacking as it does modern-day role models such as Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, with words and images that mock what she believes is their obsession with beauty, shopping and acting dumb. She’s evidently put several expensively sculpted noses out of joint with this particular track from her latest album, I’m Not Dead. Asked why the title for this CD she responded that having recently turned 25 she began paying attention to the world around her and came to the realisation that one has to occupy one’s life responsibly, writing this piece … as a vehicle to raise awareness about social issues.

Her definition of stupid is, she says, wasting the opportunity to be yourself She says that striving to imitate the hottest celebrities squanders a young woman’s own individuality and potential. In her view, everyone has a uniqueness and is good at something, admitting that nevertheless she herself gets star-struck around really random people, quoting Oprah as a role model just because she IS so smart.

She tells interviewers she loves having a good laugh – first at herself and then at others - but that this particular topic is a conversation she’s had with people over a long time, this epidemic of the image that’s being force-fed down people’s throats about what a woman should be, and how females have to dumb themselves down for men. She says she loves that some people are angered by her video, others relieved, and yet others getting a good laugh from it. She’s quoted as saying, It’s not about ME but about getting a conversation going, and about breaking this awful chain.

PINK’s controversial music video boils down to encouraging women to cast off stereotypes of being dumb, but pretty, sexual objects in favour of intelligence and personal ambition. In it she focuses on Those who travel in packs of two or three, with their itsy-bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees. But there’s no doubt that Stupid Girls is making a serious point, its light pop-reggae beat fitting neatly into current play-lists. She manages to hit the nail on the head successfully in this parody number, attacking the airhead glitterati as she soulfully demands What happened to the dream of a girl to become a president? Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?

Oprah commented that some have said the video is hypocritical (referring to some of the singer’s previous videos where she’s skimpily clad and so forth) but the response from PINK was that she wrote it to spark discussion and not to win a popularity contest. When she met her husband-to-be he told her that all his previous girlfriends had looked the same way and what attracted him to HER was how different, unique and intelligent she was.

Oprah’s resident psychologist, the always right on the nail Dr Robin Smith, made the point that there is a huge industry that is engineering modern-day trends towards women getting smaller (i.e. having fewer choices) which in turn makes men feel more powerful, saying women have been socialised by men to stroke not just their body parts but also their egos.

The point was made that there’s an entire industry (including the tabloids) making a living from stalking these young female celebrities. One ordinary young lady in the audience admitted that her peer group did indeed dumb themselves down but insisted they were not stupid girls. Oprah’s point was that buying into this kind of female celebrity worship causes young girls to lose the true essence of who they really ARE.

Mention was made of an excellent book written by Arial Levy titled Female Chauvinist Pigs where she had interviewed several young women who said it was just a reflex to do things like flash their breasts and so forth – that it’s just a case of following the culture they see around them all the time, in other words, imitating imitations. One of the interviewers named Debbie, a former recruiter for racy videos, told how she’d worked on a feature called Girls Gone Wild, seeking out young girls who’d not only flash but also simulate masturbation and even sex positions, as well as enter Thong Contests, and though some of them had seemed a little regretful afterwards the majority said they had loved it! Asked how she herself felt about the recruiting in retrospect her response was that It was the girls’ choice.

Dr Robin Smith made the point that contemporary young women are abusing other women by acting in this way and that consequently there is a hole in their soul. This comment tied in perfectly with the title for this particular Oprah show, The Marginalisation of Women, and what role America is projecting to the rest of the world with this constant obsession with celebrity. PINK referred to it as A mindlessness among the teens of today and that Young Hollywood is to blame for the obsessions that these people invoke in young people – everything from plastic surgery to eating disorders – and that Nothing is off limits.

Another guest on the show was the author of a book called Confessions of a Video Vixen. This young lady told of how she’d been treated during her first experience as a dancer on a video shoot, and how such girls are hired as objects, surrounded by people at work who are high on booze and drugs, meaning not only the celebrity artists but also the lowest of employees. She stated that the women who perform in these videos have no rights on the set; they are objectified and end up later on feeling ashamed of their earlier work. She referred to it as A jaded industry which preys on young women who possibly already have low self-esteem.

Strangely enough, the morning after viewing this particular television programme I came upon a comment in a novel I’m currently reading that put it in a bit of a nutshell… The point was made that The fact that men are so physically strong is at the root of the problem, and that’s where all the injustices begin. Equal pay, better jobs, equal rights: everything women are fighting for That what the female sex is really fighting against is sheer masculine strength.

If only young girls would realise that EVERY woman spends time in front of a mirror wishing either that her hair was straight when it’s curly or vice versa; possibly that her thighs were slimmer, her breasts bigger, her buttocks firmer, her nose longer or thinner… The list could go on and on. To quote actress Susan Sarandan, Develop the INSIDE, for the OUTSIDE is a losing battle.

I have to say that I salute PINK for sparking such an interesting debate. I think I may just pay closer attention to the lyrics of the younger generation’s music from now on! - Bev Pulé.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart