Feminism? I don't know about all that...

I had a most brilliant plan to do a post on feminism, because I woke up feeling very intellectual this morning (don't think I can't see you laughing), but after the day I've had I can’t summon the energy to do the research entailed.  See, you can't just write about women's 'issues' willy nilly, you must have arguments, and charts, FIDA approved charts.  God forbid you forget to mention the plight of the African woman, or the girl child, or marital equality.  My day has been long and disappointing, and I refuse to make it harder by subjecting myself to arguments about my breasts and their role in the 21st century.  I'm a woman, but I'm human first, and the last time I checked human rights were all encompassing, right?  Food, water, shelter, health, education, security, and yes, the right to slap and get slapped, in the name of self defence that is.  Wait, don't lynch me yet, let me explain, in song.

I'm going to play you some music.  I figure, if people can do photoing posts (really Kimani?), and others can string together a couple of random sentences and call it a poem, then why can't I put up a playlist, and call it clever?  What's that?  This is not a real post?  Tough titty!  I'm allowed to be lazy on Monday, no?  Probably not, I expect I shall receive hate mail for this, but what the hell...

First up, The Mary Jane Girls' 'All Night Long'.  This song has been sampled so many times its become ubiquitous, but the rarely played original remains a classic.  The reason the song has a message, however, has less to do with the melody and more to do with the story of the group.  See, Rick James put this group together, as evidenced by the lead vocalist's hair (woi...), but he only did so after the recording company offered him a contract for a girl group rather than one for a solo singer, his original plan.  He quickly threw in 3 random girls to add to the one lady who could sing and voilĂ !  Mary Jane Girls was born.
The video is the source of much humour.  Those three bonus women not only couldn’t sing, they couldn’t dance, but that didn’t stop them from cashing in when they saw a gap.  If that's not women being empowered, I don’t know what is.

From there it's a quick hop to Rick himself.  Ah Rick...  This man was made to be on TV.  Have you seen the video with him in a very small speedo in a hot tub?  What!!!  Younglings probably have no idea who I'm talking about, and telling them that 'Superfreak' is the song MC Hammer sampled in 'U Can't Touch This' (and by sampled I mean used pretty much in its entirety, save for lyrics) doesn’t help much either.  It's an old song, but it's a bloody funky song by a man who not only wrote and sang his own his music, he played most of the instruments as well, and then he went ahead and slapped on some glitter and sequins for the video, just because.
See, back then, it wasn’t just the girls who were scantily clad, the men wore next to nothing too, and they had matching hair, and they were both pretty sexualised.  Equality, yes?

Which takes me to The Temptations, they who sang the background vocals on 'Superfreak'.  'Treat her like a lady' should be mandatory listening for all boys immediately their balls drop...

Now I like openin' doors, pickin' up her hanky off the floor,
Treat her like a lady,
Light her cigarette if she smokes, even (Help her with her coat) help her out,
Treat her like a lady,

In this world of liberation, it's so easy to forget, 
That it's so nice to have a man around to lend a helping hand, you can bet, bet you can, baby,
When I was young, my mama used to say, Boy,
A woman's like a flower, with love on her you shower,
Ever since that day, her words never went away,
I always will remember to treat my baby tender...

This is my one fight with the more radical feminists in our midst.  They've made it a crime for a woman to want a man who's a man.  Not a knuckle dragging MP of a man, just a regular man, like I'm a regular woman.  I'm all for equal access to opportunities and equal pay for equal work, but I still want a man who'll open my bottle of wine for me, instead of watching me struggle with the damn cork for five minutes, breaking it in the process.  Chivalry is not sexist, is all I'm saying.
Useless fact, I once dated a guy who looked like the lead singer, thankfully minus the curly kit, a guy who will forever be associated, in my mind, with the next fellow…

…Alexander O'Neal.  This man…  I spent the better part of my childhood wanting nothing more than to be the handkerchief to his sweaty brow.  Stop laughing.  'Alex, Alex baby...'  Walalalala!  The song I always default to, however, is 'If You Were Here Tonight', much beloved by EasyFM (their only saving grace in my book, but that's a story for another day).  Now because I was in primary school when this song came out, I didn’t get to hear it anywhere other than at home until I was well into my 20's.  It's one thing to listen to this song, its another to hear this song in a club, in surround sound streaming out of quality speakers at relatively high decibels, when you're mellow on a couple couples and the DJ is playing 'kushikashika time' tunes.  The room melted away and I was all alone, wrapped, nay, ensconced in the oh so smooth voice of Alex, my Alex.  Hang on, why was I listening to kushikashika music instead of being shikashikwad?  Hmmm...

Can't you understand it,
Girl, you know how much I care,
It's not the way I planned it, no,
If you could only know my feelings,
You would know how much I do believe...
The reason this song is on my feminist playlist?  I love to hear a man beg.  I think it's a very modern attitude, even if he's only begging for a shag, such as they do, these lovely buggers.  The fact that he's begging in such silky tones is a bonus.  Really, she says, looking away sheepishly, having snuck in the song on the sly and all, knowing it has only a tenuous link with feminist agendas, if at all...

And then we have Prince.  This little man is a genius, and freakishly so, freaky too come to think of it, but in a good way.  If I ever have a child (remote ever) and if said child ever shows the slightest hint of musical ability (also remote ever, given the mother's lack of the same), he/she will be renamed Prince, Prince Rogers Kamau for good measure.  But only if the child has talent.  Can you imagine the agony of being named after a most brilliant musician and you can't hold a note?  I may be delusional, but I'm not cruel.  Moving right along.  He that was once a symbol has been a great love of mine for years, said love only tempered by the allegation that he kicked my Alex out of The Time for 'looking too black', and this after he allegedly stole, umm, borrowed, stage performance gimmicks from Rick James.  That's right folks, the great purple one is the glue that binds my playlist together, so its only fair that he should round it off.

Women, not girls, rule my world, I said they rule my world,
Act your age, mama, not your shoe size, maybe we could do the twirl,
You don't have to watch Dynasty to have an attitude,
You just leave it all up to me, my love will be your food,
You don't have to be rich to be my girl,
You don't have to be cool to rule my world,
Ain't no particular sign I'm compatible with,
I just want your extra time and your kiss...
Come on, is that not the most feminist song you've heard in ages?  For crying out loud, the man in wearing a tumbo-cut in the video, and skinny pants, and heels, how much more feminine can he get?  Now that I think about it, the fact that the man sold many records dressed kinda like a woman should be a testament to the power and influence of the woman.  Just saying.

I'll leave you with the words of a woman smarter than me, just so I'm not accused of being frivolous about 'women's issues'.

“Excuse me while I throw this down, I’m old and cranky and tired of hearing the idiocy repeated by people who ought to know better.

Real women do not have curves. Real women do not look like just one thing.  Real women have curves, and not. They are tall, and not. They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not. They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever.

Real women start their lives as baby girls. And as baby boys. And as babies of indeterminate biological sex whose bodies terrify their doctors and families into making all kinds of very sudden decisions.

Real women have big hands and small hands and long elegant fingers and short stubby fingers and manicures and broken nails with dirt under them.

Real women have armpit hair and leg hair and pubic hair and facial hair and chest hair and sexy moustaches and full, luxuriant beards. Real women have none of these things, spontaneously or as the result of intentional change. Real women are bald as eggs, by chance and by choice and by chemo. Real women have hair so long they can sit on it. Real women wear wigs and weaves and extensions and kufi and do-rags and hairnets and hijab and headscarves and hats and yarmulkes and textured rubber swim caps with the plastic flowers on the sides.

Real women wear high heels and skirts. Or not.

Real women are feminine and smell good and they are masculine and smell good and they are androgynous and smell good, except when they don’t smell so good, but that can be changed if desired because real women change stuff when they want to.

Real women have ovaries. Unless they don’t, and sometimes they don’t because they were born that way and sometimes they don’t because they had to have their ovaries removed. Real women have uteruses, unless they don’t, see above. Real women have vaginas and clitorises and XX sex chromosomes and high estrogen levels, they ovulate and menstruate and can get pregnant and have babies. Except sometimes not, for a rather spectacular array of reasons both spontaneous and induced.

Real women are fat. And thin. And both, and neither, and otherwise. Doesn’t make them any less real.

There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla: There is no wrong way to have a body.

I’m going to say it again because it’s important: There is no wrong way to have a body.

And if your moral compass points in any way, shape, or form to equality, you need to get this through your thick skull and stop with the “real women are like such-and-so” crap.

You are not the authority on what “real” human beings are, and who qualifies as “real” and on what basis. All human beings are real.

Yes, I know you’re tired of feeling disenfranchised. It is a tiresome and loathsome thing to be and to feel. But the tit-for-tat disenfranchisement of others is not going to solve that problem. Solidarity has to start somewhere and it might as well be with you and me”