Chris Brown is the Elephant in my Room

Humour me for just a moment…

We are all quite comfortable in life, generally, but agree that we also have hardships and crosses to bear. That for the most part (in a modern, developed-world) we are doing ok, and only have a few creases to iron out in terms of equality to each other.

True as this is, there is something about the inequality of gender in our modern age which irks me. I know I’m a lucky one, which is so obvious when looking at developing countries. Yet the subtlety of it here, in cosmopolitan Europe, has knock-on consequences. I can’t help seeing it all around me, and I’m consistently shocked that so few share my point of view. These grips are nothing compared to the fact that women are still the poorest, least educated, most persecuted gender. But they still matter. They do! It all adds up!

Examples I noticed throughout the pop-culture stratosphere over the last week or two really stood out. So I wanted to make a note of them and hope that they are food for thought…or at least help me to exorcise my inferiority and insecurity demons…

1. Beyonce, a very cool and talented woman, wearing red underwear at the MTV European Video Music Awards last week. Why, oh why, does a woman who sings like that need to wear this? Incidentally the host, Katie Perry, also wore very little all night and was constantly being ‘sexy’ and mimicking positions and clothes traditionally associated with sex workers or exotic dancers (nothing wrong with being a sex worker or dancer, but Ms. Perry is a singer, no?)
2. That the David Guetta (feat. Akon) song called ‘Sexy Chick’ is a huge single. The chorus is actually ‘I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrepectful’…my god, are we at the stage where we can’t describe women we like (our girlfriends or wives or friends) without using the words ‘sexy’ or ‘booty’. Is there really nothing else about this girl that he can say without turning her into a piece of meat?? I’m finding it hard to describe that song without being insulted.
3. The fact that, in his new video, Chris Brown, who was recently sentenced for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna, is looking pretty aggressive, playing with ninja-style weapons and singing about transforming good girls (Rihanna’s last album was called Good Girl Gone Bad). Not only this, but he was interviewed by Larry King about the whole situation for the first time, he didn’t say he was sorry, he just shrugged and looked sheepish, saying it was all ‘crazy’. Fellow rappers Lil Wayne and Bow Wow have since supported HIM saying things like ‘he’s only human’. What the fuck? So if you’re human and male it’s acceptable to beat up women?? It’s just a wee character flaw we all need to get over? How is his new single doing well (top 15 in US and top 20 in UK/ Ireland)? How does he not have his little shriveled-up tail planted firmly between his legs, while watching his career trickle down the sewers with all the other little shits….???

You may be thinking I’m a femi-nazi gone wild. And that these things don’t add up to a world where women can’t enjoy the social or economic status of men. But I can’t help thinking that even here in the developed (apparently equal) world, these small instances result in a mindset which treats women as things to be looked at, to be kept, to titillate us.

Maybe their cumulative effect has some kind of influence. Helping to cause things like these recent news stories:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8352711.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/oct/30/gender-pay-gap-still-high
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8365808.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8366197.stm

An amazing antidote to this stuff comes in the form of this PJ Harvey video (‘The Piano’). There is just something about this (the juxtaposition of such images with the tune) which really makes me stop and think:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpNxP7FcywY

So, keep your eyes open. Talk about this stuff to people. Don’t be scared to stand up for each other and explore the notion of equality…g’won, I dare ya…

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