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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Non-Judgmentalism, Miley Cyrus and Springbreakers

Recently, one of my readers expressed concern that they found several of my posts in 2013 a bit 'judgmental'. Specifically, those were posts on Miley Cyrus and the movie Springbreakers. Let me provide my answer to that accusation here.

My criticism of Miley was not about judging anyone, or their actions. It was about a 'clash of values'. I'm more than happy to respect a friend choosing to dress and act like Miley did. But Miley was not just doing those things in 2013, she was doing interviews, expressing ideas and viewpoints. In other words, she was not just having fun, she was promoting a particular cultural worldview, a culture that was against my own values. Therefore, I had to say something about it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have values at all, right? It's the same as taking a stance against someone promoting racism or homophobia to me, and just as important. In fact, recently I wrote an opinion piece on the difference between judging someone and standing up for your values, you can read it here if you are interested.

Regarding my criticism of Springbreakers, it was some of Selena Gomez's comments regarding the filming that made me think about the possibility of popular culture making women do things they are not entirely comfortable with, something I think would be important to address. Or maybe I was overly sensitive. But either way, it wasn't meant to be a critique of the way people dressed in the film at all.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Am I A Feminist?

After some of my recent posts, some people have asked me this question: are you a feminist?

I usually don't like labels. However, to answer this question, I think I'll have to use some. You see, there are two main types of feminism: liberal feminism and radical feminism. As with all things liberal vs radical, I support all of liberal feminism but none of radical feminism.

Liberal feminism, as with all things liberal, is about removing inequalities that are clearly identified in the system, for example unequal education opportunities for women or unequal pay for women for the same job. These inequalities are objective, and are clearly unfair. Fortunately, the work of liberal feminism is over in the West, but we always have to keep the cause up for the sake of women living outside the West.

Radical feminism, on the other hand, is all about a perceived structure to society that disfavours women and must be changed, even when there are no clearly identified inequalities. In radical feminism, people and society are analysed by looking at who has more 'privilege'. Trouble is, this is highly subjective. Thus radical feminism is a subjective ideology. I personally have a particular problem with subjective ideologies - that thing called 'conservatism' that I ran away from was just such an ideology. Conservatism is always able to justify itself, even without looking at objective results, which is often the misery of other people. Radical feminism, for me, carries the same worries. Therefore, it is something I just cannot support.

I'm sure radical feminists are well intentioned. But so are conservatives. And it doesn't mean they aren't wrong. Social engineering, especially when working with anything other than objective evidence, is dangerous.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Defending 'All About That Bass' from the Negativity Crowd

In my last post I explained why I strongly dislike 'All About That Bass'. However, no matter how much I dislike something, I still take pleasure from defending it against people who, in my view, think so negatively about life that they can see something wrong with even things that are just natural. And no, you can't hide that negative attitude behind the 'feminist' label.

Apparently the criticism from a significant number of people this time is about lines like 'I got that boom boom that all the boys chase' and 'boys like a little more booty to hold at night' because they are about meeting the beauty standard of men.

But isn't it just natural, just biologically natural, that straight girls generally want to attract men? Isn't it just reflecting nature? There are a lot of things wrong with 'All About That Bass', but this is clearly not one of them.

American popular culture isn't subtle or deep, but it clearly is not anti-woman. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to just relax a little. Living life finding fault even in perfectly normal things must be such a sad existence.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

All About That Bass: Is That What Empowerment Has Become?

Meghan Trainor’s 'All About That Bass' has been coming out of radios around the world for a few weeks now, and right now it is at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Therefore, it may seriously become the new chart topper. Which I think is scary, personally. Here's why:

I know that people like it because of the 'body acceptance' thing. But it feels so fake to me, really, almost like the song was designed to elicit this response so it can sell. Sorry, but I won't be buying this one. The issue of body acceptance is a really complex issue, and empowerment can only come with real contemplation and belief, not something a three minute song can do. Reducing body acceptance to a three minute commercial product is cheap, in my opinion.

It also pits 'fuller figure' people against 'stick thin' people, in my opinion. Which is not what we want to see, no matter which camp we are in.

Plus have a look at the music video: it looks hideous! I don't think anyone can argue with that. No self respecting woman would dress the way Meghan dresses in the video, for example. How 'empowered' can you feel about your body after looking at THAT video? On the other hand, a woman dressed in weird clothes making awkward moves - it's designed to get sympathy, I suspect? Sorry, still not buying it.

Let's put it this way: 'All About That Bass' is to real body acceptance just like paying lip service to marriage equality is to actually doing your part to make it happen. With so many people paying lip service to marriage equality but not helping it happen (see the Australian and German elections in 2013 for example), no wonder 'All About That Bass' is seen as 'body empowerment'.

Anyway, people, I think we need to support Taylor Swift's Shake It Off in any way we possibly can, to prevent this one from topping the charts. It simply doesn't deserve it, in my opinion.

By the way, here's the video, so you can judge for yourself:

Hilary Duff: Best Comeback Ever?

Music comebacks make us excited, but some comebacks are better than others, right?



Anyway, I think you would agree that it is a great comeback.

TaraElla's Latest Single Not That Kind of Retro

This song is now available at the TaraElla Google Play shop.