Turn on the radio and tune into some kind of Top 40 station. Now, listen to the first lyrics you hear. Did one of the following themes appear:
- Going to the club
- Getting this party started
- Undressing/staying the night
Probably, right? Pretty much every song these days is about one of those themes, save a few artists who think there’s actually merit in singing about other things (looking at you, Queen Adele).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who is easily offended by music. I can get down to some “my momma don’t like you, and she likes everyone” rhetoric all day every day. But, there are some popular songs that anger me, and a few of them completely frustrate me beyond my breaking point. Two of those songs are Selena Gomez’ “Good for You” and Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home.”
If you’re not familiar with either of those, here are some highlights:
“Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh”
Selena Gomez, “Good for You”
“You don’t gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work
But you gotta put in work, work, work, work, work, work, work
You don’t gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work
Let my body do the work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work
We can work from home, oh, oh, oh oh
We can work from home, oh, oh, oh oh
Let’s put it into motion
I’mma give you a promotion
I’ll make it feel like a vacay, turn the bed into an ocean
We don’t need nobody, I just need your body
Nothin’ but sheets in between us, ain’t no getting off early”
Fifth Harmony, “Work from Home”
I know I’ll get negative feedback for hating on these songs, but I’m tired of being quiet.
Prepare for a rant
There’s so much to say about the Fifth Harmony abomination that I honestly can’t even wrap my head around it. Why in the world do you need to repeat the same word 600 times? Girls, do you need a thesaurus? Do you honestly have such little self-worth that you think it’s your actual JOB to be your man’s toy? Or, do you really think that making “it feel like vacay” and turning “the bed into an ocean” are your strongest skillsets? Do you fully understand what you’ve done to the millions of corporate professionals who now have to blush and leave the room when their boss says they’re going to “work from home” tomorrow?
Let’s shift to Selena’s sweet little ditty. Here’s why I hate this song so much – it’s not that she feels pretty or is proud to be in a relationship… it’s the idea that she wants to look good for him.
Selena, girlfriend, you do look good. The entire world knows that. But, you should want to look good for yourself. And only for yourself. If you want to be “doing it up like Midas” (whatever that even means), that’s fine. You do you. But, for you.
Maybe you should consider adjusting the words just a little bit. Some suggestions:
- “I want to get an education for you”
- “I want to be smart for you”
- “I want to run a marathon for you”
- “I want to be a good mom for you”
- “I want to work hard for you”
- “I want to be strong for you”
I’m mad because…
When we start encouraging impressionable young girls to find satisfaction in how others see them, we’re fueling a very dangerous fire that leads to body issues, disease, and sometimes even death. Nothing can go well when we teach girls (and boys) that going to the gym, eating healthy, or taking care of your body should be done only to impress men.
Ladies, we’ve come such a long way since the days when a woman’s worth really was determined by the satisfaction of her husband. Female movers and shakers have done great things for our generation, and anthems like this can only hurt the advancements we still need to make.
I want equal pay for women. But, if I’m an employer, am I going to take seriously a job candidate who is gonna “send pic after pic, gonna get you fired”? No. I’m just not.
I want the body shaming to stop. But, if I’m a young girl, am I going to feel beautiful if I can’t “make it clap, no hands for me”? Probably not.
I want to raise a boy who respects women. But, if he turns on the radio and hears that other guys “ain’t worried bout no press and ain’t worried bout the next chick,” will he feel like an outcast for listening to his mom?
Where do we go from here?
It’s a difficult tango. See, I don’t want women to resort to the ideology of the 50s. I don’t want them to think they must receive an allowance from their husbands or stay out of the workforce. At the same time, however, wouldn’t it be kind of nice to have some of those old ways of thinking back?
If we turned on an episode of “I Love Lucy,” and Lucille Ball was telling Ricky, “I just want to look good for you,” it wouldn’t be too unusual. She did often try to impress her husband. But, her version of what looks good would’ve been a collared dress, pearls, and modesty. And for Ricky, that would have been enough.
I believe we can get there, but we may have to turn off the radio first.