Categories
disgusting women evil women hate hypocrisy irony alert life before feminism misogyny MRA music oppressed men paul elam princesses YouTube

American Women and Stupid Girls: Misogynistic Lyrics as Faux Social Critique

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards: Spokesmen for Clean Living
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards: Spokesmen for Clean Living

 

Listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper” the other day, I was struck by how much the lyrics resembled a misogynistic MRA rant. Ostensibly a song pointing out the hypocrisy of suburban squares attacking the drug culture whilst themselves popping prescription pills, the song extends its “critique” to cover such subjects as the evil of women making cakes from mixes instead of from scratch.  (See below for videos of all the songs mentioned in this post.)

So you go from this bit of, ahem, social criticism:

“Things are different today,”

I hear ev’ry mother say

Mother needs something today to calm her down

And though she’s not really ill

There’s a little yellow pill

She goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper

And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.

To this:

“Things are different today,”

I hear ev’ry mother say

Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag

So she buys an instant cake and she buys a frozen steak

And goes running for the shelter etc etc

Yep, that’s right. Mick’s as bothered by the frozen steak as he is by the dangers of tranquilizer abuse. By the end of the song, the hypothetical freezer-and-cake-mix-using mother has died of an overdose. Told you so!

Misogynistic rock songs aren’t exactly a rarity – hell, “Mother’s Little Helper” isn’t even the worst offender in the Rolling Stones’ disography.

But unlike more straightforward outbursts of misogynistic nastiness like, say, “Under My Thumb,” “Mother’s Little Helper” pretends to be something nobler: a social critique.

The blogger behind the wonderfully arch I Hate the New York Times blog pointed out to me in a tweet that a surprising number of old rock lyrics play this little trick. Taking the form of a “critique of today’s inauthentic & hedonistic society” they are in fact “directed at [a] specific shallow hussy.”

Along with Mother’s Little Helper, IHateNYT suggested I take another look at the lyrics to Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Kicks.” And, yep, it’s basically the same thing: a critique of drug use in the form of a patronizing lecture to a young woman in search of “kicks,” starting out with this little bit of I-told-you-so, delivered with a sneer:

Girl, you thought you found the answer on that magic carpet ride last night

But when you wake up in the mornin’ the world still gets you uptight

It turns out that the song, written by the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was inspired by the drug use of a male friend of theirs – though somehow in the song this specific man became a hypothetical “girl.”

And then of course there is the Guess Who’s American Woman, a sort-of critique of America’s “war machines” and “ghetto scenes” in the form of a long, sneering diatribe against a hypothetical woman:

Now woman, I said stay away

American woman, listen what I say

 

American woman, get away from me

American woman, mama let me be

Don’t come knockin’ around my door

Don’t wanna see your shadow no more

And on and on and on for a very long five minutes and nine seconds.

One of the reasons these songs sound so much like MRA rants is that MRAs like to play the same little game, dressing up their misogynistic sentiments in the form of “social critique.” Thus Paul Elam’s faux-environmentalist attack on female consumers, and all that talk about how single mothers and/or “picky women”  are going to bring about the end of civilization. Heck, some manosphere fat-gal-bashers even pretend they fat-bash out of concern for the well-being of the women they’re ridiculing.

It might be entertaining to transform some of these old woman-hating songs into critiques of woman-haters. “Stupid Girl” by the Rolling Stones might be a good place to start. I mean, seriously?

Like a lady in waiting to a virgin queen

Look at that stupid girl

She bitches ’bout things that she’s never seen

Look at that stupid girl

Those are real Rolling Stone lyrics, not a comment from NWOslave. Have at it.

Here are videos of all the songs I mention above:

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

417 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

She never wrote a song called “You’re So Trite.”

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

What’s Mr Kitteh’s instrument there?

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

@lowquaks, LOL! I’d never seen that parody. I’m glad to have struck on a band and artist who almost everyone seems to hate.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

@lowquacks – I think it’s a lute, though it’s small enough it could be a mandolin. I raided the original of the pic from the net and didn’t look up what the instrument was.

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

@kittehhelp

Well, arguably mandolins are lutes. “Lute” is more a family than a particular instrument, but lute could refer to a particular instrument in some scenes I’m not familiar with, maybe? Renaissance/Late Medieval is the kitteh thing, right? I have a friend who plays wonderful recorder pieces from that era.

The important question is whether it sounded good and the performance was an experience, of course!

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

It’s certainly not a modern mandolin.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Good points! I know zip about musical instruments, so I’m going from the general look. Yup, medieval through to early baroque is definitely the kitteh thing. Mr K learned lute back in his earthly days: it was the king of instruments for court music then. He’s always been keen on stringed instruments in general. You ain’t heard Born in the USA till you’ve heard it performed on lute and sung by a foot-stamping Frenchman! 🙂

Polliwog
8 years ago

It’s a Renaissance-style lute, or certainly looks like it in that picture.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

The couple whose pic I pinched to make this are early music performers, so yes, it would be a recreation of something of that era, whatever its proper name is.

Polliwog
8 years ago

Heh, its proper name is “Renaissance-style lute.” (Just “lute” for short works fine, too – “lute” typically means “Renaissance-era lute” by default.) Sorry for the lack of clarity – I’m actually an early music performer myself, so I figured I could help out a little with the lute questions. 🙂

Jessay
Jessay
8 years ago

Twitter won’t let me log in :/

Anyway, I think I learned most of my internalized misogyny from the pop punk/emo/hardcore music I enjoyed as a teen. And when I was hanging out with bands, wow, so much sexism. I have no idea why there’s so much of it in that scene, it’s baffling. But I watched a lot of women get treated like shit and personally got treated so badly by quite a few bands.

Why do I still like the music?!?!

Examples (trigger warning, some violent lyrics)

Some girls are crazy
Just listen to what I have to say about it
You’ve gotta watch out for the beautiful ones
They’ll twist your head right off your neck
And laugh about it with their friends
That’s just one night for them
They target you with their eyes
And move with their lips
And it pulls you in
She shuts you down with her voice again
And now are you listening?
This song goes out to girls
That we haven’t met just yet
This song is for stupid girls
Who think that every boy is all about them
These girls are crazy…
Just listen to what I have to say about it
You’ve gotta watch out for the younger ones
They’ll tightly wrap you around their fingers
And brag to all their friends
It’s nothing but a game to them
Then target you with their eyes
And move with their lips
And it pulls you in
She shuts you down with her voice again
And now are you listening?
This song goes out to girls
That we haven’t met yet
This song is for stupid girls
Who think that every boy is all about them
You think you’re on top of the world
When all the eyes are on you
Just wait until your heart breaks
And you’ll know how I felt when I wrote….

She’s finally seen she’s a beautiful girl with a smile so grand she could stop the world
Stolen her skin he sews her mouth shut, means nothing to him, her screams just die out
As she cries out her voice dies out
As she cries out her voice dies out
Love once inside her heart, lay in my hands
Was it asked for?
Was it implied?
What could have been done?
Inside her mind dies.

It’s still hilarious to me though that this band used quotes from Dawson’s Creek in multiple songs hahahaha.

Let me take this awkward saw
And run it against your thighs
Cut some flesh away
I’ll carry this piece of you with me
Because all I can say tonight
is that I hate you
But it would be all right
If we could see each other sometime
If I could somehow make you mine
And if not I’ll take my rusty spoons
And dig out your blue eyes
I’ll swallow them down to my colon
They’re gonna burn like hell tonight
Because you’re beautiful
Just not on the inside
Light comes from within
And your beaming eyes don’t seem so bright
My heart is on the floor
Why don’t you step on it?
When I think of all the things you’ve done
Boardwalks and breaking waves
Made our Saturdays
I’d buy you lemonade right now
if you were here
But then I’d throw it in your face
And I’d listen to you cry
And I’d remember how I miss
our nights under ocean skies
You and I are like when fire
and the ocean floor collide.

To be fair he also talks about mutilating a man in another song, but sigh. I can’t help but love Saves the Day despite the violent lyrics against women.

There are a lot more but my finals brain is not really allowing me to think very well right now.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

@Polliwog – that is so cool! Do you have a favourite/favourites among the various periods or types of music? Have you recorded?

katz
8 years ago

So I have a problem with the whole Nickelback hate thing.

Yes, they’re a pretty stupid band, but really it’s inappropriate the amount of hate they get. It’s just an exaggeration of the whole “bully people and cast yourself as superior to them by disliking bands” thing.

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

@kittehhelp

whose pic I pinched

You mean luted and pillaged!

@Jessay

At least all those bands are relatively young or were when they recorded those…

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

@lowquacks – Argh! LOL!

Okay, I can’t resist. This is a clip of Joan Kirner, who was Premier of Victoria (Australia’s first woman premier) 1990 – 1992. She *coughsangcough* I Love Rock’n’Roll on The Late Show in 1993. The other guitarist is David White, who was one of her government’s ministers.

The clip was hugely popular, so much that JK joked that if she’d done it before the election, she might have won. I used to hear it a lot during an exhibition on women’s suffrage in Victoria, back when I worked at Museum Victoria. That was years later and just about everyone who came into the exhibition played it at least once. It’s one of those so bad it’s good moments. 🙂

http://youtu.be/TxJg9zYXuW0

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

PS that’s the other guitarist in the suit, not the guy with long hair!

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

How does one start working in a museum? I love those places.

There was an awful bipartisan UK group of MP’s called MP3 and later MP4 at one point, famous for butchering “Teenage Kicks”…

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

I was in customer service when they started it (as distinct from secuirity) in the 90s. I enjoyed my time there, but it was a dead-end job if you didn’t have some sort of studies in an appropriate field. They leaned heavily toward casual positions toward the end of my time there. I’m glad I worked in the old Swanston St building, not the new one that opened about 2000.

The coolest job I had there was when customer service was being wound up for the big move in ’97. I spent a few months working in the Preparators’ department, doing skeletons for the research collections. I think they asked me cos I was a Goth … 😛

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

TV time for me – niters all!

thenatfantastic
thenatfantastic
8 years ago

If I had a pound for every time some creepy dimwit tried to chat me up by opening with the line “wow, you look like you could be a Suicide Girl”, I would have enough to buy a flamethrower to use on the next dude to try it.

Also, my rant about Suicide Girls, let me give it to you: There’s nothing edgy or ‘alternative’ about a bunch of white, thin, able-bodied, conventionally attractive young women getting their boobs out to be fwapped to. Even if they have tattoos. My mum has a fucking tattoo. Having a tattoo or a couple of piercings does not legitimise objectification or make it ‘better’ than rubbing one out to your average glamour model.

Sorry, just seen too many dudes who look down on the kind of people who ‘read’ FHM/Nuts/Zoo, but put pictures up of SGs like it’s any different.

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

But… but.. they have piercings too! And asymmetrical dyed hair!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

There’s also the fact that Suicide Girls underpay their models, and instead of compensating them properly lure them in with the prospect of emotional validation via internet popularity. It’s kind of halfway between Hot or Not for alterna folks and an actual porn company. In my opinion this actually makes it far worse than porn companies that pay their models the going rate and don’t exploit their need to be liked.

thenatfantastic
thenatfantastic
8 years ago

I didn’t think it was possible to hate them more, and now I do. Cheers CassandraSays 😛

Juu
Juu
8 years ago

Re: Suicide Girls

(Might be a bit too off-topic)

I don’t know much about Suicide Girls but I think we have something similar in Germany called Kinkats. It’s basically a community for amateur pin-ups and models with a somewhat “alternative” style (punk, goth, rockabilly, steampunk, cyberpunk, etc.). They also used to publish a magazine but I think it’s only an online community now.
If I recall right, they don’t pay their models or at least not much. They get a free subscription for the community and get to take professional photoshootings, that’s all. And if other people want to look at their photos they have to subscribe to a monthly payment. So basically they are being sold to other people while they don’t get much except popularity, which sounds a lot like what CassandraSays said about SG.
Well, at least there are also male models and several people with a non-standard thin body type. And the photos don’t look as cheap to me as most of the SG photos (at least those taken by professional photographers).

Anyone outside of Germany heard of it? And is SG about the same?

palmedfire
8 years ago

Oh, did I miss the ‘list our musical tastes’ bit of the conversation? I’ll be so sad!

Wait! I shall be an attention hogging misandrist and talk about mine anyway 😉

My main CD buying days were late high school/early college when I was deep in my “Angry Rocker Girl” phase, so a lot of Tori Amos, Ani DeFranco, and the like. But I was also just discovering I actually liked (some) pop music, so if it was popular in say the ’98-’02 years, I was probably listening to it.

Now I’m back to listening almost exclusively to musical theatre songs, preferably in foreign languages. My iTunes library is a fun mix of German, Hungarian, French and (a whole lot of) Japanese.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

If I recall right, they don’t pay their models or at least not much. They get a free subscription for the community and get to take professional photoshootings, that’s all.

Modelling in trade for photos is pretty standard for starting models. It’s a way for photographers to get started too. The bit where they sell the photos for loads of cash is dodgey though.

Juu
Juu
8 years ago

@Kim

Okay i checked the site again and they charge at most 10€/month for a “premium membership” which isn’t loads of cash for only a few more functions and pictures to look at. I think it’s more like a community/online magazine than a porn subscription.

So my first gut feeling was correct as Kinkats isn’t as exploitive as SG seems to be.

pecunium
8 years ago

The mp3s in my phone

About 1,100 songs

Adam Ant
Aengus Finan
Al Stewart
The Alan Parsons Project
Alla Pugacheva (Russian, Modern)
Amadou Et Mariam (Jamaican, French)
Amanda Marshall
Ancient BeatBox
Andy Prieboy
Annie Lennox
Arlo Guthrie
Arrogant Worms

Band of the Grenadier Guards
The Bangles
Barenaked Ladies
Battlefield Band
Beach Boys
Big Country
Billy Bragg
Billy Joel
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Springsteen

Capercaille
The Carpenters
Cat Stevens
The Cheiftains
Chris De Burgh
Chumbawumba
The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem
Clandestine
Colm Mac Con Iomaire
Concrete Blonde
Cowboy Junkies
Crash Test Dummies
Cry Cry Cry
The Cure
Cyndi Lauper

That’s just through the Cs.

🙂

pecunium
8 years ago

That instrument looks more like an oud to me. I don’t see any of the drone strings I’m used to seeing on lutes (I don’t play lutes, but I know several people who do).

re TfP (Trade for Photographs). It’s a common way for models and photographers to exchange an item of value.

The SG model is foul. It’s not an honest TfP: not because the model’s image is being used (which can happen in TfP), but because it’s being used for profit from the get-go. And it’s being used for profit in a big way.

Kinkats is absolutely just as bad (from a structural standpoint: I can’t say if the internal culture is as toxic). No, 10 euro doesn’t seem like much, but if they have 1,000 subscribers it’s 10,000 euro. I doubt their costs are anything like that high. I’ll also wager they have far more subscribers than that. They are using the apparently low return, to convince models to work for free, when they ought to be getting paid.

teratomatastic
8 years ago

@Khitty Hawk

Oh, I know. I just didn’t want to spam the thread.

Seconding the comment that each of Emilie Autumn’s eras are completely different from each other – I’d recommend “What if” from Enchant and “Opheliac” from the album of the same name to see exactly how different two of the eras are. I haven’t listened to much of her newer stuff.

I was lucky enough to see her live a few years back. It was so much fun – I loved the Bloody Crumpets.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who loathes the SG business model. But sad to see it spread to other countries.

Juu
Juu
8 years ago

Actually it reminds me of one of those dating sites that are for free women but men have to pay to message them (KK premium includes sending messages to other members and, well, there are mainly female models). I really hate such websites. It’s not really for free; you are actually being sold.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Plus there’s the whole “oh it’s not really porn” thing that they did when they started, which both made it easier to lure in models who might have normally balked at the idea of doing porn and also made it easier to get away with not paying them properly. From a business point of view the people who came up with it were certainly clever, in an evil sort of way, to be able to get women to compete for the “honor” of having their images sold, and to figure out a business model that allows consumers to pat themselves on the back too.

And I hate having conversations with a lot of alterna-dudes about this because they attempt to shut down criticism by calling anyone who makes it a prude. Which is bullshit – it’s not that I find porn shocking and offensive, it’s that “porn model” is a job and people should be paid for it, with actual money, and at normal market rates.

Falconer
8 years ago

@CassandraSays — it’s like Harlan Ellison says: Pay the damn writer model.

Steele
Steele
8 years ago

To return to an earlier source of conversation – I do not find “Goodybe, Earl!” to be particularly misandric; that is an obvious place to turn but it does us a disservice by ignoring the far more insidious and dangerous subtle misandry. “Break-up” songs, and such, filled with rank misandry, top the Billboard on a regular basis. Songs that employ the “Female Gaze”, and such; which has become “not only socially acceptable, but socially encouraged” (to quote another astute MRA: I believe Fidelbogen).

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

What songs are those, Steele?

LOL @ “subtle misandry.” Get bent.

Steele
Steele
8 years ago

Excuse me? I’m not going to provide evidence that the sky is blue, HellKell; this is a widely recognized social phenomenon. Shaenon earlier provided a semi-cogent list, although of course it was tainted with his or her misandrist-feminist bias.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I personally am very alarmed, as it were, by the subtle and, indeed, vile misandry in the following anti-male “anthem”

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Excuse me? I’m not going to provide evidence that the sky is blue, HellKell; this is a widely recognized social phenomenon.

Then you should have no problem naming songs if it’s so easy and you’re so smart, right? Otherwise I’ll just have to think you’re full of shit as usual.

inu
inu
8 years ago

Steele, your MRA websites do not constitute ‘widely-recognized’.

inurashii
inurashii
8 years ago

4 rill doe, put up or shut up. Literally dozens of examples of misogyny in song lyrics have been stated here in this thread alone. Your sole, weak-ass example was slapped down immediately.

5 troy ounces of gold says that every example of weak sauce ‘misandry’ you manage to list is due to patriarchal gender roles, anyway.

thenatfantastic
thenatfantastic
8 years ago

There was a schism in my local punk scene about 18 months ago after a band got pulled from a weekender when it was found out they intended to play a song they’d wittily titled ‘The Rape Song’. Although almost no one will book the band for gigs here any more, there’s still a lot of people who think this is ‘unfair’, because a song that’s essentially three minutes of rape threats is just hilarious.

Your turn now Steeley. Tell me about how awful misandry in modern music is.

Steele
Steele
8 years ago

almost no one will book the band for gigs

Unsurprising; and yet somehow, this is indicative of “misogyny”? I’m actually chortling out loud.

This is standard misandrist-feminist-logic.

reginaldgriswold
reginaldgriswold
8 years ago

Maybe you should read the post again, Steele. I don’t think you followed the narrative.

pecunium
8 years ago

Steele, My Dear Boy: (to quote another astute MRA: I believe Fidelbogen).

This is why your writing sucks; it may also explain the gross failures of logic you so often express.

Now that I’ve dispensed my avuncular advice, and so performed my good deed for the day:

it does us a disservice by ignoring the far more insidious and dangerous subtle misandry.

Please share these with us; we are obviously so blinkered by the feminist ideology of hate that we can’t see it. Please use your potent man-brain and explain it to our stunted selves; so lacking in comprehension of the terrible burden Real Men™ labor under in the hell that feminism has made the pop-cultural scene.

Or, to put it in terms more common in the manosphere: EGTFO (Evidence, or Get The Fuck Out).

Oh wait… I see…

Excuse me? I’m not going to provide evidence that the sky is blue, HellKell; this is a widely recognized social phenomenon.

This is so widely recognised you won’t include so much as one link? That’s some lazy shit there.

It’s stupid too. It makes you look more petty and childish that the whining about how mean we were to believe Dave, when he was telling the truth, than you; when you were lying.

It’s more pathetic than your rants on anti-manboobz.

It’s piss-poor activism.

1: Assume, for sake of argument, you are right.
2: Assume, for sake of argument, we are not suadable.

If those are both true it therefore follows you are not writing to persuade us which leads to:

3: You are writing to amuse yourself (i.e. masturbating in public).
4: You are writing to persuade the people who are suadable and following along at home.

It is reasonable to assume these, “fence-sitters” are probably pre-disposed to being deluded by feminists, which means you need to be simple and clear in your writing†. You also need to actually change their minds. Since you have no gift for rhetoric that means you aren’t going to dazzle them with flights of inspirational prose that will make it easier to believe things contrary to their experience.

You need facts, examples, data. What those in the reality based community refer to as, “evidence”. I realise this is contrary to the way the manosphere works, but you are deep in enemy territory here, the rules are different. You have to fight fire with fire, resort to the same sort of dirty tricks your enemy uses to defeat.

-stick the high road of slogans and jargon. You are going to have to get your hands dirty if you want to win.

Or… you can keep on -stick the high road of slogans and jargon. You could, of course refuse to stoop to our level, not get your hands dirty; i.e. continue to lose. That is of course if you are trying to actually convince anyone.

It’s up to you.

Me, I think it’s really just that you like to wank in public.

&dagger Fidelbogen isn’t really the role model here… I’d say HellKell, or ithiliana, or Nobinayamu. Hellkell is probably the place for you to start. I’m good, but tend to digression, silly wordplay [often resorting to locutionary tricks in the vein of Swinbourne; and far too prone to assuming my audience is as well read as I, it’s a failing].

pecunium
8 years ago

Steele: almost no one will book the band for gigs

Unsurprising; and yet somehow, this is indicative of “misogyny”? I’m actually chortling out loud.

Where did I leave my cluex4?

1: They wrote a song which offends the audience.
2: In a very capitalist way they were sanctioned.
3: Misandry?

Dude… this is what you say the Manosphere will be doing: boycotting those institutions which are misandrist. You may not like the justification here, but you have no moral high-ground to complain about it.

thenatfantastic
thenatfantastic
8 years ago

Pecunium, I think what Steele’s trying to say is that not wanting to listen to people be horribly misogynist in public is ‘misandry’. How telling.

inurashii
inurashii
8 years ago

Also I was gonna say this earlier but I actually find Beyoncé’s music to be really insidiously misogynistic. By themselves, the messages aren’t that toxic, but the fact that they’re dressed up as female empowerment bugs the shit out of me.

Nearly all of her songs that feature a woman excoriating a man for some reason — ‘Irreplaceable’, ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Ring the Alarm’, ‘Beautiful Liar’, to name a few — all ultimately feature a woman who derives her worth throughout the song based on her attachment to a man. Unsurprisingly, all songs feature more male writers than female.

inurashii
inurashii
8 years ago

The conclusions that Steele draws from the words he reads are almost never connected to any kind of reality.

Debate classes in Varpoland must be very weird.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Varpoland seems to be a strange and fascinating place. Someone should really write a book about it.

(Not Steele, obviously.)