Most of us would probably agree that shouting down a woman who may be less educated than you with regards to feminism, but is trying to do something positive for the cause, is a bad idea. However, we do this all of the time when it comes to other women. Lily Allen is no exception.
Yes, she uses the word ‘Whore’ in her song and other women ‘twerking’ in the background (which I assumed was a parody, but whatever), but is tearing her down a good use of time which could have been spent, I don’t know, tweeting about Robin Thicke instead or making a makeshift ‘we can do it’ badge? The song is an answer back to all of the people who have called her fat, who have attempted to change her image and her message and have sexualized and laughed at her because she is a woman. The song is a defiant ‘no’ to the industry and it is showing other women that they don’t have to use their bodies or be size six in order to be famous.
I personally don’t think that she was slut-shaming. There is a difference between saying ‘being sexual is wrong’ and ‘you don’t have to be sexual in order to be successful’. She wasn’t using the women twerking aspa cheap titillation in order to sell records, she has admitted herself that it is a parody, and it is obviously so. She’s putting herself in the men’s shoes, and showing how ridiculous it is to use other women’s bodies as a catalyst for fame by switching the roles. Regardless of this, most of us would find it difficult not to concede that she means well.
She is trying to spread the feminist message, and is being subjected to the same vitriol that many of us complain about being subjected to by men when we dare to lift our heads above the parapet and try to improve our own situation. Is calling a fellow feminist a “hypocritical bitch” or saying that she “should be ashamed of herself” really progress?
It’s funny that the language that Lily is satirizing, the patriarchal language that we as women are subjected to all the time, is being used against her by feminists who don’t agree with small facets of the wider message. In addition, complaining that she is using cultural appropriation and sexuality to combat a message about cultural appropriation and sexuality completely misses the point of satire. Yeah, writing a song isn’t going to knock down the patriarchy in one fell swoop. It’s not going to stop rape culture in it’s tracks or close the pay gap. However, it’s setting an example for all of the young women who want to go into music. It’s giving women a positive role model; a woman who doesn’t match up to patriarchal beauty standards, who isn’t afraid to make fun of herself and her situation and stand in front of a load of balloons saying that she has a baggy fanny.
A woman who is famous for her voice and her wit rather than her tits (and there is nothing wrong with being famous for your tits, but so many woman in the spotlight are, and it’s nice to have a change, isn’t it?). It’s certainly much nicer to have a positive song about feminism and the changes we still need to make in the spotlight than it is to have a load of women tearing down a woman who is trying her best to make a difference, whether she has browsed the Tumblr intersectionality tag as avidly as you or not. And the Thicke-mocking balloons were fucking fabulous.
Nice one, Lily!