For a series of guest blogs I’ve persuaded the four members of Toten Herzen to take time out from their recording schedule (and singing lessons) to put a few thoughts down on paper. Now we have motormouth and international short person Dee Vincent on 21st century feminism…
I don’t normally read the Guardian. I’m not the sort of person who would stand on a picket line drinking Merlot and eating stilton cheese, so this champagne socialist rag doesn’t appeal to me. But when someone brought my attention to an article about Miley Cyrus my sense of morbid curiosity shoved me in the back.
Without any evidence of irony, the Guardian commentator Zoe Williams had written a revisionist piece of fluff about the ex-Disney starlet being in the vanguard of 21st century feminism and female empowerment. I say revisionist because the last time I looked, Miley Cyrus was a shameless exhibitionist outraging the general public in order to sell records (or whatever the fuck they’re called these days).
I suppose in a world where the everyday experience of most women is latent sexism and misogyny, the desperate coronation of a half dressed pop star is about as close as it gets to finding a modern day role model for girls. But there they were, outside the arena, the Cyrus fans exclaiming their admiration and why her new raunchy image (after escaping the frumpish confines of Disney’s neo-**** values) turned them on, brought out their panting admiration.
And of course it never occured to these halfwits how many men in the background it takes to undress a pop star and get her in the pages of the world’s media. If Cyrus really was a crack business strategist she’d be the CEO of Google, not shagging a large metal demolition ball.
But haven’t we been here before? When Roxy Nobody sucks the neck of a wine bottle she’s an exploited slapper, but when Madonna does it she’s up there with Emily Pankhurst. It seems empowerment is dependent on your target audience: bloke with credit card=trollop, Rolling Stone magazine (Guardian newspaper)=liberated woman. The admiration is a curious form of contrariness, the middle class female writer’s equivalent of the pub bore who swears black is white, Monday is Tuesday, and whose opinion is constantly swimming upstream against the current.
Some would say we live in confusing times. In the old days sex discrimination was obvious, it was an easy target. Women literally belonged to men, their fathers, their husbands. Women didn’t have the vote. Women were paraded in their knickers and voted on to become Miss Thisthatandtheother. The feminists had a clear cause to lob their flour bombs at, but not anymore. The likes of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez can strut like cart horses and shake their continental sized booties, but they’re not being pushed and shoved by paternal market forces they’re in charge of their image, controlling the brand, forcing the agenda. Hence the squealers in one corner shouting disgraceful, and the humus-munching intelligentsia in the other corner shouting right on sister.
Me, I think these musical superwomen are all nuts. Very rich, but nuts. And probably in a permanent state of aching ribs from the guffawing at all the media parasites trying to swim in the wake of their success. Success achieved by a music busines machine that sells female artists on the image of their semi-naked bodies and male artists on the virulence of their libido. In short, sex sells, it always has; it’s so obvious the media intelligentsia don’t want to acknowledge it because any old thicko can see it for what it is. Exploitation.
If a woman chooses to hump a wrecking ball for a director with suspiciously large thumbs she isn’t doing it because she’s a feminist, she’s doing it to put a few bob in the bank for a rainy day, the rainy day she becomes a sagging old frump (at the age of thirty) and no one wants to look at her in her jollies. She knows the grotesque truth will eventually come home: people weren’t interested in the size of your intellect and business acumen. But then she could always become a newspaper columnist. People take you seriously there.
(Currently appearing in the West End production of the Adrenal Gland Monologues.)
And just for Zoe Williams, here’s a video celebrating a world of empowered feminists by those cheeky young sprites Motley Crue.
The mind boggles!