Selena Gomez, singer, songwriter, Justin Bieber’s love of his life, and actress, whom I adored since Wizards of Waverly Place, yes, you guys–I dare say, a feminist or at least I think so.
Now, I’m not going to quote anything from The Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism which is the right thing to do actually. I’m just going to assume you know what feminism is all about and summarizing it to: the equality for both genders by empowering first the woman who has been oppressed for centuries and even until now in some cases (this explanation is for people who keeps on asking ‘why call it feminism if it’s about equality?’). Now, we have female presidents, CEOs, and security guards, thank God. Not only does this patriarchal society oppresses women but it also pressures men to resort to stereotypical machismo (abs, jaws, and H&M) that they themselves helped stigmatized.
I know it may seem like it but I’m not perfect so please feel free to shoot me some counterarguments in here and offer more perspectives here. More importantly, my subject-position is male so I’m vulnerable to inaccuracy but I hope I am offering a rich perspective on this. I’m not only trying to defend Selena Gomez in this blog entry but I’m also letting everyone know my strong feelings on feminism and gender-power relations. (I’m going to take a class on Gender and Media next semester, I’m stoked)
A bit of background: People had argued that Selena Gomez is an anti-feminist icon because of her songs that usually deal with being submissive to the man that she loves. In Come and Get It, it’s the lyric I’ll be sitting right here real patient… (a clear demonstration of a damsel in distress, an archetype made) with the chorus chanting When you’re ready, come and get it (na-na-na-na na-na-na-na). Lorde, member of Taylor Swift’s squad who had also had a small Twitter feud with Nicki Minaj about feminism as well, bashed Gomez in an interview regarding about this and the latter backlashed with non-verbatim “that’s not girl-power, you should support women.”
I have a problem with this feminism as a trope to support all women. Because not all women are good people. That’s it. There’s a bad fruit in every basket. So, maybe I neither sided with Gomez and Lorde.
With the release of her new album Revival and my growing consciousness and concern to gender-relations, thanks to my professors and friends and no thanks to my family (who keeps on forcing the concept that colors have genders: blue is for boys and pink is for girls), I’ve realized something in her lyrics I want to look good for you, good for you, [moans/squeaks I’m not sure what sound she made] in her lead single Good For You. It’s a pretty sexy rad song about a girl who wants to look good for her boyfriend.
Also, Selena Gomez naked in her album cover doesn’t help in portraying a strong woman. Some argued it was for the look of vulnerability–an honest portrayal of a woman without bullshit, natural and all, loving her skin and being comfortable with it. Some said it was because she’s trying create some shock factor because well that’s what men wants and, what can I say, sex sells (and I deeply believe in this, more with Freud and this later). But who knows what it really means?
If you do not know, there are different waves or kinds of feminism. And I’m not sure how my counterarguments fall into a specific one.
First of all, regardless of gender, you actually submit yourself to the love of your life fully IF he or she is the love of your life so there’s really nothing wrong with being submissive. (Because, let’s face it, no two people can be equal–that’s why communism sucks–but we have to offer equal opportunities either way).
If your argument is that she should be submissive because she is female, please go back to the Middle Ages where you belong. That is incredibly sexist because you’re basing your opinion because of the sex (gender, not the intercourse). Note this: if any opinion is based on the fact that it is because of he’s male or she’s female like say: he needs to learn construction because it’s masculine or I let her sit on the train because she’s female, that’s called sexism. How about use this other perspectives: he needs to learn construction because we need help in the house and I’ve got a lot in my plate right now to handle one more task or I let her sit on the train because she looks tired and I’m not.
Good For You is a song for her boyfriend–not necessarily for all men. A person wants to look good for the other person so they could get really horny and have intense sex. People do not realize this as much but the word ‘sexy’ refers to something that could make you want to have sex or something viable for sex.
Second point, feminism is all about the awareness of power. If Selena Gomez says Come and Get It, she’s not saying I’m a damsel in distress I need your help, she could be saying come and get it I’m horny I’m trying to seduce you – to manipulate you into sex – that’s feminism (though a little blunt). Again, this is all about awareness. She’s saying I know that you want to be with me so you have to earn it by coming to get me.
If a woman does not know that she is in fact being objectified say a sexy actress biting a cheeseburger in a sexy lingerie outfit and agrees doing the thing for money, she’s a victim of a patriarchal society taking advantage of her femininity, diminishing her femininity whose only purpose is sex. Now if a woman knows about her being objectified and yet projects herself as a sexy burger-eating half-naked-in-commericials girl, she’s using her femininity as a weapon whose purpose is to use her sex to manipulate men.
This leads us to the conclusion that we are not really that qualified to call if someone is being objectified if we do not contextualize anything, if we do not consider the tiny little details, based everything on what we see on the cover. We cannot really know if Selena Gomez is a feminist or I’m just assuming that she is. I guess, how we conjure this assumptions is a reflection of how we really are. Maybe interpretations are always personal.
I have defended Lana del Rey against some claims that she is anti-feminist because of her lyrics: it’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you. Everything I do it’s all for you. And just apply the concepts I’ve shared with you to that.
Also, Same Old Love by Selena Gomez is in my top 5 song of the year. It’s uber-catchy.
Bye, guys. X
P.S. I will now take a shower.