Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Surprisingly Feminist Media

Erika here! Since Will and I have been spending a lot of time battling a malevolent being (which lives outside the realm of space and time just beyond our mortal understanding that wants to consume consciousness--you can understand why this is a difficult and time consuming task) we're going to try something a little different with the updating. 50 Shades was weakening me in the previously mentioned battle, but we're pretty sure that between the two of us we can get out a weekly post (still Wednesday) as well as save the world so long as I don't lock myself into only 50 Shades. So, without further ado, let me introduce a new feature to the blog:

Surprisingly Feminist Media!

I will take a piece of media that is not trying to be feminist or "empowering" and point out some that are unexpectedly kind of feminist. I've got a short list of things to work on for future posts, but suggestions on songs/books/movies (ideally things that are stand alone) would be wonderful.

And our first entry is...!

Boyz II Men - I'll Make Love to You

Content warning - Aggressively 90s croony boyband ballad, extensive use of soft focus, and a questionable amount of silk pajamas.

Lyrics can be found here.

And no, this isn't a joke. I wish it were. I had initially picked a different song, one that's actually good, but when I double checked the lyrics I realized the line that had initially gotten it qualified is in fact not what I thought it was, and it got disqualified. Also if this doesn't prompt you to send in suggestions, I don't know what will. I had to watch that music video before posting it. I also made Will watch it. Well, I tried to. He gave up halfway through and just giggled at my suffering because he's a good friend like that.

Why this song?

This song is about fucking. Going by the music video it's about courting someone when both parties are openly into it so you can get to slow tender candle- and fire-lit (this is actually just sounding like a fire hazard with all those rose petals scattered around) all-about-her genital mashing. Although it does just talk about being all-about-her sex, so, I mean, if she wanted to get to some pegging there may be no fire or flower petals, I guess that's a your mileage may vary scenario? The singer(s) don't seem to be expecting pegging, but I trust that when they say "anything she wants" they mean it. Meatloaf made it very clear, he would do anything, but he won't do that (I've always suspected that was anal, thoughts?) so who knows where their night took them. Let's be clear, there are a lot of songs about touching junk. So many. Like, at least seven. Maybe even eight or nine. So why this one? Two reasons:

Firstly, it is a song about female pleasure. A lot of songs about boning talk about female pleasure, but often through the lens of male pleasure. The singers are not in this for their bits, they are in this for their partners pleasure. If they, to reference the blog favorite 50 Shades, get to "shatter" as well, hey, awesome, but that's secondary.

Secondly, if you look at the lyrics (and I don't blame you if you don't want to) they often come back to consent and communication.

I'll do anything, girl you need only ask - Pegging or egg beaters? Readers, place your bets.

I'll make love to you
Like you want me to
- The singer is again coming back to communication.  This couple (by the song, not the video) presumably have been together awhile, so he knows what his partner is into, but again, there is an open invite of "tell me what you want".

I'll make love to you
When you want me to
- WHEN you want me to. He isn't just turning up all turgid claiming it's about her LETS GO. He's here, his rocket is ready for lift off, but this is about her, on her terms, and when she wants it. Just because he's ready to pressure wash the quiver bone doesn't mean he expects or demands to right now. If she doesn't want to and just wants to snuggle and instead of dominating him in the bedroom do so at Mario Kart? Hey, her night, her call.

There are depressing few love/banging songs that consider and concentrate on consent or communication. When I googled around many got counted simply because the actual proposition was in the song. I saw Lady Marmalade counted, and while I like that song, it's about trying to get a John, not making sure your partner is safe and comfortable. Also "I would do anything for love" which is kind of about trying to pressure this woman into agreeing to have sex with Meatloaf, so, awk. But they do exist! There is now another entry for that "Not Rapey sexy time" playlist I know you're all secretly working on. May I also suggest the Power Rangers' theme because it's hilarious?

So chime in on things you'd like to see featured here in the future, otherwise I might be forced to do "Do ya think I'm sexy?" by Rod Stewart, so please. Don't force us through that. Make some suggestions.


  1. I was recently really surprised when I watched Sleepy Hollow again (the Johnny Depp movie, not the TV show) and realized that it's fundamentally a feminist movie. Minor spoilers ahoy: Women are good and bad in interesting ways; there's a plot-relevant family of minor characters in which the wife is the obvious breadwinner; men are fundamentally unable to cope with the ramifications of female emotional/financial investment in family property, except of course for the one man whose personal character was shaped entirely by his mother. Everything that is accomplished in the movie is accomplished via the transmission of women's knowledge.

    Admittedly, the death of the villain is kinda rapey, but what she was doing to make the plot happen is kinda rapey too, so I find it a standard variety of creepy rather than gender-violent.

  2. I want you to know that that song has now been stuck in my head for days.

    I knew better than to even listen to it, and yet...

    I don't even know all the lyrics so it's two lines. Not constantly, thanks brain, but occasionally and seemingly at random.

  3. There was a recent anime, Yuri Kuma Arashi that... Well, I don't know if the original intent was to be feminist but it turned out to be so, according to a couple of reviewers/deconstructors I've read. Not bad for an anime about bears eating schoolgirls.

  4. It was from the creator of Revolutionary Girl Utena, so I would lean toward that being somewhat intended.