There’s a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” done by Imagine Dragons on Spotify. It’s from a live session, and it starts off with someone in the band chatting a bit, telling the audience that they’re about to perform a song by Swift and, he adds, “I really love the melodies in this song, I think that they’re absolutely brilliant”. At this, the audience laughs and the guy insists that he is serious.
Icelandic wonder Ásgeir was asked to perform a cover of a hit-list song when he visited a Dutch radio show around 3 years ago. He claims to have randomly picked a song based on the title (presumably he, like I, “don’t listen to radio”?), and ended up with Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” which he then performed with his band. When introducing them, the hosts of the shows were audibly giggling at the song choice, as does the artist and his band.
When Justin Bieber is made fun of, it’s rarely about his music, but either about his fangirls or weird behavior. When it’s Taylor Swift however, it’s almost always about who she’s dating, how many people she’s dated, and how it “never” seems to last.
It’s time to realize that this is not “guy talk”. These are not funny jokes that you’ll understand if you just have some sense of humor. This is how everyday sexism and diminishing of a whole gender looks like. I’ve seen some advice for dealing with this, which I plan to try out – instead of laughing or starting a discussion, pretend you don’t get it, and let them explain why their sexist shit is funny.
Let’s celebrate that it’s Friday with some singing ladies that’s been on repeat on my phone/Spotify!
Starting off with Alva, who I’d never heard of until Spotify’s Discover Weekly added her to this week’s list. That voice!
Since my knowledge of contemporary radio music is not great, I’d never heard the original of this one, but the cover is great! (And it was also in my weekly Spotify list…)
And, another one from Spotify (really, how do people who don’t get along with Discover Weekly find new music?). Skott:
Let’s finish this little list off with ass-kicking Maxida Märak.
She’s also done this one, about the mine in Kiruna (Sweden), and how capitalist interests go before the rights of our native people:
I listened to this podcast, and it made me angry. I mean, not the podcast itself, but now I’ve been thinking about what they said for over a week and they’re right and it pisses me off.
For non-Scandinavian speakers, it’s about the question most (all?) feminists get at some point – “do you hate men?”. The two women say that yes, they do, and proceed by explaining why. And they’re right. And I’m angry. It comes down how men are taught all their lives that they have the right to be center of attention, to be heard. How women are raised to pay attention and take others into consideration.
First I was all “yeah yeah, I’ve heard it before”. I’ve always thought of it as a more serious problem, like something I didn’t take part in and that people in my surroundings are mostly respectful to me.
But this time it stuck with me. How my male colleagues systematically “don’t hear” (don’t listen) when women are talking. How they don’t remember things we say, but remarkably do remember things other men say. How it annoys me when people are loud or noisy, because “they should think of others!”, while my partner “didn’t even think about it”, because to him it’s natural to take up space and be noisy, no matter who’s around.
I feel stupid that it took me until now to see this as a system. And it makes me think of this song where they sing:
Can’t change the world by hating men
Can’t change the world by blaming men
Are you sure?
While watching ukulele teacher’s videos, I came across Grace VanderWaal (regarding the spelling; really? Here it’d be van der Waal, and in Belgium pretty much any spelling… – Van Der Waal, Vanderwaal etc). And her voice is just crazy!
And then I listened to Anna Faris’ is Unqualified with Zach Levi as guest, and although I almost stopped the podcast when he was eating and talking (yes, seriously), I’m happy I didn’t, cause it was a good one. You can listen to it here.
Since I’m trying to mainly read books written by women this year, I’ve started paying attention to the gender of the author when buying books. And it may NOT come as a surprise, it’s quite appalling how disproportionate it is.
So, for today’s FF I thought I’d do gender check at my local bookstore. I pass Leiden train station every work day, and the AKO store there has a table with English books, so this was my sample group:
And how did they fare? Out of 63 books, 40 are written by men and 23 by women. This is not something I’ve paid much attention before, but it seems fair (?) to assume that this is not abnormal. Hopefully this’ll be a recurring check here, which might allow me to draw some conclusions.
How does it look in your local bookstore?
Working on getting into reading news again (it’s just so depressing), I signed up to a 50% off offer for the New York Times (€ 5 a month, I can live with that), and immediately read things like this opinion page article where Gloria Steinem argues for starting to use “prick flick” as a descriptive label for certain movies. Fantastic!
As you can see, this one simple label could guide men like the guy on the plane through the diversity of features, as well as the TV series we binge-watch. It could also help women, and empathetic men, to know what to avoid.
And as expected, the men commenting are really quite upset about it. Hilarious.
A couple of times I’ve considered writing about men in this segment, instead of women. I’ve always changed my mind, reasoning that while feminism is equality, men aren’t underexposed in political/social debate.
But this post will make an exception. Two weeks ago I managed to stay awake to watch the Graham Norton Show on BBC (it starts at 23:35 on a Friday evening…). Whether I decide to take this struggle on or not depends on who the guests are; Sir Patrick and Sir Ian were worth it (we’re re-watching Star Trek Next Generation, so Sir Pat is always relevant in our house). And I was not disappointed.
This video will probably disappear from Youtube, but I’m talking about season 20, episode 20:
I honestly and sincerely think that if all men had this kind of friendships in their lives, the world would be a much nicer place. Just look at them and their interactions with Hugh!
It also lead to this meme, so that’s pretty great: