Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Note to Stupid Girls: Vestire Benefactum!

Pop musician Pink is currently #8 on the iTunes list of top 100 downloads with her song Stupid Girls. Here are the lyrics to Pink's hit rant about the pressure on girls to become nothing more than mindless sex symbols:
Stupid girl, stupid girls, stupid girls
Baby if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

Go to Fred Segal, you'll find them there
Laughing loud so all the little people stare
Looking for a daddy to pay for the champagne (Drop a name)
What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?

Baby if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl
Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

(Break it down now)
Diseases growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
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
Disasters all around
World despaired
Their only concern
Will they **** up my hair
...
Sigh. I thought my generation had demolished that pressure in the last century, but I guess not. The music video reveals the battle for a girl's soul with some interesting symbolism (warning: the sexualized content, while satirical, is pervasive, and there's a graphic depiction of bulimia). A small Barbie-holding girl is watching television when two supernatural beings appear at her side, one a fiery female demon and the other a white-clad angel. The demon tries to tempt the girl to flaunt her sexuality and package herself as an object. The angel tries to show the stupidity of living like that and challenges her to become an "ambitious outcast." Then, in a disappointing finish to the intense battle over her identity, the little girl picks up a football.

Don't get me wrong. Sports are definitely a way to resist the culture's pressure to become an object of lust, but these days, they're not enough. Now you have to be a star athletes and a hottie at the same time. (Remember the names of the Olympian swimmers who posed for the covers of Playboy and Maxim? You don't? Hmmm...) Besides, the symbol of the football seems to imply that a girl needs to become masculine to be smart, instead of championing the unique freedom and strength of true femininity.

Pink herself hints at the antidote to stupidity when she mentions disease, despair, and disaster in her song. In his first letter to Timothy, St. Paul lists "bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, (and) helping those in trouble" before adding that a godly woman devotes herself to "all kinds of good deeds." Pouring out life-giving, nourishing, healing grace — that's what smart women do. But is there an acceptable artifact in pop culture that symbolizes a woman's call to vestire benefactum (to clothe in good deeds)? My peers and I couldn't come up with anything better than an angry fist and a football, which might explain why we're raising a generation of sad and stupid girls. (Exceptions, please submit applications to become my future daughter-in-law.)

4 comments:

T. Suzanne Eller said...

Wow.

Spatula said...

Hmm. Just how old is your son? ;) Seriously, I see it all around me, especially here at college, and it's rather depressing. What is our generation coming to? I can't see a good outcome, I'm afraid, unless we, as young adults and future parents, look around and realize WE hold the future in our hands. And we need parents to guide us to see the flaws of this world. Parents who don't let us live the haphazard lives of wayward teens. It's the same principle of "Parents: the anti-drug." We need to learn how to be the parents this world needs us to be. Easier said than done, huh? Our forefathers built this country and our families on hard work and perseverance. It's far past time we put those ideals back to work in our daily lives, and, consequently, back in our nation, as well. Thank you for noticing the obvious lack of any substantial "role model" in the pop culture world.

Anonymous said...

This blog rocks! Thanks so much for getting this out here; sometimes I can feel so alone in my stand for Christ. Pink has the right idea, but is just contorting it. However, it is the first song that actually says girls are flaunting their beauty and wearing shameful clothes that are NOT honoring to Christ. The key to popularity it NOT compromising or throwing your morals away. If being a Christian means throwing popularity out the window and standing up for what you believe in, I am totally for it.

Mitali Perkins said...

You're so right. That's why I like the song, despite the profanities. It's the editor in me that wanted to change the ending of the video to make it even better, more true, more excellent. I'm so glad there are girls like you around.