katstevens: (enriquenoez)
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Oh dear, La Roux gets feminism wrong AGAIN

First it was 'girls look a bit stupid playing guitars', now this:

What's your stance on the way that female musicians either choose to or are forced to use a sexuality that's essentially just designed to appeal to men?

"It's really patronising to women. I know that there's far more ways to be sexy than to dress in a miniskirt and a tank top. If you're a real woman you can turn someone on in a plastic bag just by looking at them. That's what a real woman is, when you've got the sex eyes. I think you attract a certain kind of man by dressing like that. Women wonder why they get beaten up, or having relationships with arsehole men. Because you attracted one, you tw4t. It's a funny culture, it's definitely a funny culture. Those women are just insecure, but they'll turn round to me and say 'you're just jealous 'cos you want a tan and you want big boobs, stupid boy-looking girl'. You can't win, they wouldn't believe me for a second."

Jebus, is she *actually* saying that by dressing in a certain way, women are inviting men to abuse them? I think she is. Sigh.
There are 28 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] pippaalice.livejournal.com at 03:57pm on 23/06/2009
That's what a real woman is, when you've got the sex eyes.

I've mentioned this before, but I am so glad she cleared this up, I mean before I thought being a real woman meant, you know, just being yourself, now I realise my role in life is to make men fancy me with my sex eyes.
posted by [identity profile] sbp.livejournal.com at 04:18pm on 23/06/2009
Cor, look at the sex eyes on that!
posted by [identity profile] chezghost.livejournal.com at 04:01pm on 23/06/2009
i'm sure she'd deny that she means 'inviting abuse' and rather just 'increases chances of being sexually objectified, attention from the wrong men' or whatever. i really don't believe it was intentionally a 'women are asking for it' type point although i guess some cultural resentment/bitterness issues are coming thru.
posted by [identity profile] catsgomiaow.livejournal.com at 04:08pm on 23/06/2009
She is EXPLICITLY saying that women are inviting abuse by dressing in a certain way ("Women wonder why they get beaten up... because you attracted one, you tw4t"). There is no ambiguity about this statement. I hope she's fucking proud of herself for being such a COMPETE AND TOTAL WANKER.
posted by [identity profile] shermarama.livejournal.com at 04:26pm on 23/06/2009
I think she's said something ambiguous and not very well thought out, but, if you were looking for ways to get her out of it, I think the bit in the ellipsis is important. It could be taken to mean that there are certain sorts of men, i.e. arseholes, who think that women are sex objects and abusable, and that these men are attracted to their sex-object ideal, to yer tarted-up tan-and-big-boobs girls, who have also embraced this aesthetic without considering the implications of possible validation of the distorted world-view of aforementioned arseholes, leading to potential problems. But then again maybe she's just a lass who's sang this song that people like, not a professor of sociology.
posted by [identity profile] catsgomiaow.livejournal.com at 05:23pm on 23/06/2009
I take the mentioning-in-the-same-breath coupling of getting beaten up and having relationships with arsehole men to mean that she sees them as related. And no, she might not be a professor of sociology, but she's clearly either totally stupid (thoughtless at best), or doing this for the controversy and the publicity which will arise from it. I could almost forgive her the former (I mean, at least if people tell her she's wrong she'll learn something and hopefully retract it) but the latter? Scumbag, lowest of the low behaviour.
posted by [identity profile] alexmacpherson.livejournal.com at 05:48pm on 23/06/2009
Did you also notice her extraordinarily poor grasp of what it means to be a lesbian?

"She had short hair, I don't think she was a lesbian, she wasn't some big butch woman coming over and going [adopts big butch voice] 'yeah wicked, you make lesbians alright'"


I mean...she has history here (cf "girls shouldn't play guitar/drums because they look butch"). And as I said below she's being sold, not least by herself, as a strong female figure and role model in pop, a smart woman whose opinions matter. And because she's got a "kooky" image and doesn't dress like a Pussycat Doll, people unthinkingly buy into this even when she comes up with this bullshit.
posted by [identity profile] katstevens.livejournal.com at 05:54pm on 23/06/2009
I think this is what annoys me most - if this is most intelligent female role model we can come up with then we are in big trouble.
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 08:49pm on 23/06/2009
To go all meta for a second: that annoys me too, somewhat, but what bothers me more is the idea that any women in her position must needs be assessed for Role Model potential, even if all she wants to do is perform some tunes!
posted by [identity profile] alexmacpherson.livejournal.com at 09:23am on 24/06/2009
Agree - am v wary of castigating people for being Bad Role Models b/c it's dumb to think of pop stars, athletes or whoever as being people whose behaviour/opinions/conduct should be copied. But La Roux is explicitly setting herself up as a role model/feminist inspiration and trailblazer so GNNNGGHH let her have it with both barrels, really.
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 10:15am on 24/06/2009
La Roux is explicitly setting herself up as a role model/feminist inspiration

Well, yes, I think if you do try and claim or imply you are such, then you deserve to be picked apart for this. Of course, I do think it's worth analysing whether some people/performers may, to a certain degree, feel a sense of compulsion to present as such - because if a large proportion of analysis of performers is centred around whether or not they're a good role model, people may feel required to have that conversation. A bit like the conversation about the attractiveness of female pop stars; even if LR sets herself up as opposing the "status quo", she's still operating within that narrow framework and appears to believe in it, so no real change there.

I'm wondering if the role model thing may be more of the same, although there seem to be far more people who want to give the impression that they *are* opting out - "I'm not a role model for anyone" is surely as much of a cliche now as "we make music for ourselves, we don't really expect anyone else to like it but it's a bonus if they do"?

I'm meandering. What I mean is, I think this is perhaps further evidence of the, shall we say, limited thought processes LR may have engaged in before chiming in on this subject. Unfortunately, she seems to think she's being profound. Tcch, young people today, etc.
posted by [identity profile] tansu.livejournal.com at 06:09pm on 23/06/2009
If I can diagnose someone's Fucking Problem from a reported interview (and I rather think I can!), her Fucking Problem appears to be that she sees the central, defining role of women as being attractive to men.

Therefore the problem with marketing female musicians as glamourous and available to the male gaze is, to her, not that it bolsters the assumption that this is the defining role of women, but that the (shall we say "hegemonic"? I think we shall) hegemonic definition of sex object is too narrow for her.

And a woman who is abused by an arsehole man must have been doing the whole central role of woman thing wrong.

So lesbians are not even playing the game, and any suggestion of lesbianism is really tantamount to coming at the whole damn applecart with a boathook, and should therefore be vigorously defended against.

Her Other Fucking Problem is that she seems to have internalised some teasing from mean! pretty! girlswithtits! far more than is good for her or anyone else. Her first Fucking Problem takes precedence, so she acts out "I am valid despite what mean girlswithtits say" as "I can and do fulfil my defining role of attracting men"

It's bloody fucking annoying that someone who seems to hold to this bag of shite view is held up as some kind of smart role model.
posted by [identity profile] alexmacpherson.livejournal.com at 06:17pm on 23/06/2009
Therefore the problem with marketing female musicians as glamourous and available to the male gaze is, to her, not that it bolsters the assumption that this is the defining role of women, but that the (shall we say "hegemonic"? I think we shall) hegemonic definition of sex object is too narrow for her.

Yeah - and that broadening the hegemonic defn to include, eg, HER, is somehow subverting it. AARGH.
posted by [identity profile] katstevens.livejournal.com at 07:06pm on 23/06/2009
Her Other Fucking Problem is that she seems to have internalised some teasing from mean! pretty! girlswithtits! far more than is good for her or anyone else.

Totally. I can easily picture myself saying something very similar when I was a miserable 14 year old indie snob who hated girls in make-up and short skirts (and they hated me, because I was a miserable 14 year old indie snob).
posted by [identity profile] tansu.livejournal.com at 04:16pm on 23/06/2009
She explicitly lays out the argument from wear miniskirt to attract arsehole man to get beaten up. She might well deny she meant it, but she said it, clear as day.
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 04:37pm on 23/06/2009
Oh well, she's being a knob again. I was wondering how long that would take.

Is this completely unprocessed stupid, or is she trying to be provocative (like with the cunt t-shirt stuff)? This sounds like a grudgewank against the girls who picked on her at school.

Agreed with [livejournal.com profile] pippaalice; I'd better start covering my sex eyes up with sunglasses or something, or I might accidentally turn some bloke on while we're riding the bus, and then who knows? He might be a violent arsehole or something.
posted by [identity profile] alexmacpherson.livejournal.com at 05:29pm on 23/06/2009
Yeah, I can't work out whether it's a ham-fisted attempt to be ~controversial~ or if she genuinely is this thick.

Also: what irks even more is that she's sold as a 'meaningful' artist, someone who says smart things and makes smart music not like that meaningless pop pap. And she's certainly sold as a strong female figure. And she definitely THINKS she's smart, and that her opinions matter. And yet she comes up with bullshit like this, and it's Nicole Scherzinger who's setting feminism back 100 years? GNNNNGGHHHH.
posted by [identity profile] katstevens.livejournal.com at 05:52pm on 23/06/2009
Also, Luke Turner says she is 'surprisingly smart' at the beginning of the article - I'd have thought he'd been doing this long enough by now (or perhaps he just doesn't interview that many female role models?)
posted by [identity profile] alexmacpherson.livejournal.com at 05:58pm on 23/06/2009
If I see him soon I'll have words with him about that.

Good(ish) news: I immediately fired off a pitch to the Grau blog calling La Roux out on this, but apparently they've got one coming already, so it's been noticed elsewhere too. (ish) only b/c they got there before I did, though I did get a separate pitch accepted this morning so oh well.
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 08:47pm on 23/06/2009
Well, he's certainly gone down in my estimation!
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 08:36pm on 23/06/2009
if she genuinely is this thick

I'm kind of leaning towards that interpretation, myself.

While I do actually quite like bits of her stuff, I must be honest (the remixes, yes!), I really don't get the idea of her as being a "serious" artist or saying anything "meaningful". I find the idea of her being sold as such....weird, tbh. If she thinks she's smart, it's possibly a delusion common to a lot of reasonably privileged girls with a performance background - I've known a few.

For some reason, she's now become a sort of 21st century Louise Wener in my head (cos I can definitely see the similarities, IYKWIM). Daft views on feminism, overly strong investment in own cleverness, fairly fluffy pop songs which weren't quite as good as they should have been, yet still sold as Proper Music, Not Manufactured Rubbish.

I expect to see a series of lite novels by Elly within 5 years! Something like this, maybe. Or, more likely (and less fortunately), something like...this.

posted by [identity profile] cis.livejournal.com at 06:13pm on 23/06/2009
What I don't understand is-- why didn't the journalist call her out on that at all? ask her to clarify, at the very least?
posted by [identity profile] martinskidmore.livejournal.com at 06:47pm on 23/06/2009
I think we are forced to assume that the journalist is an idiot too, or was too bedazzled by her sex eyes to think straight.

There are reasonably useful things to say about various things tactically attracting the wrong kind of attention, but it is always VITAL to strongly distinguish between "these things may be a bad move and make bad things more likely" and "it's your own fault if you do this" or "you are asking for it if you do this." I mean, if I walk around a very rough area late at night flashing a wad of cash, it does make it more likely that I would get mugged (well, anyone sane would scent a set-up, but you know what I mean) and you could well say I was stupid, but that doesn't mean I morally deserve to be attacked. (This is hopelessly crude, I realise, but there is a real distinction to make.)
posted by [identity profile] cis.livejournal.com at 09:21pm on 23/06/2009
Is an idiot or incapable of thinking beyond the questions he had written down or-- somehow doesn't think it's his place to make her develop or refine her statements?

Like-- her statement could have been reformulated into something that didn't make her sound like an idiot, about the entire concept of "a sexuality that's essentially just designed to appeal to men" and the danger of believing that that limited definition is the only possible sexuality (incl. that there's only one sexual appeal that men recognise), that if women think that the one thing they've got going for them is their conventional male-focused sexual appeal then they can be forced into terrible positions to maintain the role of being sexually-appealing sexually-available. It's totally possible that she wasn't planning to play blame the victim! She could be trying to say something about a culture that privileges a certain image of male desire and therefore isn't capable of criticising abusive male behaviour that bears some superficial resemblance to that conventional image of male desire. But we can't know, cos dude never bothered to get it out of her.
posted by [identity profile] martinskidmore.livejournal.com at 09:44pm on 23/06/2009
I don't think so. She isn't protesting about the fact of a conventionalised sexuality designed to appeal to men, she's complaining that we have the wrong one - and, I would be prepared to bet, she thinks the right one would be a better fit for what she likes about herself. Saying "you twat" to the women who get beaten up is far from what you're saying, surely? I'm sure she'd have backed off from that position had someone pushed at her pointing out that she was blaming the victim (at least giving them a substantial share in it - nothing she says actually excuses the men involved), but she has expressed her own views there. I can't remotely imagine ever saying anything like that. I get particularly angry at things like this, because claiming that the women brought it on themselves is THE classic abuser's tactic, and it's the mental damage that that kind of thing does that is hardest to undo for survivors of abuse.

There is some value in suggesting that there is a problem in a society that assigns value to women based on their appeal to men. There is value in attacking the idea that the fact that many women end up basing a lot of their sense of worth on that. There is value in suggesting that we should encourage other measures of self-worth. There is no value in attacking the worth of people who do not resist socially encouraged norms that are not in themselves at all harmful or immoral, and that is what she was doing.

Incidentally, this ties in to the common idea that abused women seek out other men to abuse them. This is nonsense - there is plenty of evidence that it is abusive men who recognise women who have had their sense of self-worth beaten out of them.

Sorry - I can get ranty on this. I dare say I have mentioned before that my ex was a nationally-recognised expert on domestic violence against women, and I learned a lot from her, including huge anger about it.
posted by [identity profile] cis.livejournal.com at 10:18pm on 23/06/2009
i think what she's saying is more: my sexuality is the kind of sexuality that attracts the right kind of men, I am happy not having a tan and big tits and other such sex-appeal markers because that attracts the kind of men who turn into arseholes and abusers. Which really makes no sense but I can see how she's fallen into it. It's a media cliche that sexy romcom women go "oh why do i always go out with arseholes" and then go out with more arseholes, and that this is a problem with women and their judgement. I think she's internalised it, and assumed there's a connection between that sort of sex-appeal and becoming a victim of abuse (as if it's only glamorous sex-appeal type women who get abused!). And that there's a sort of gradated line from "arsehole in a relationship" to "wifebeater", which in itself is highly suspect. I also don't think she was thinking super hard when she said "you twat", and might have meant it only to apply to women who go out with arseholes?

Frankly, you know, I don't care what she really thinks: I just want the interviewer to be capable of making her modulate her ideas into something that's not so flatly wrong and dangerously worded.
posted by [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com at 08:59pm on 23/06/2009

Argh, I missed this bit first time round, but I just re-read it, in the context of the not-a-lesbian bit, and I had to think twice about this maprt;

She was just a girl like the kind of girl I've been when I've been growing up, and she was saying 'we think it's really cool that there's someone out there who's a role model for people like us, because there's no one for us to look up to any more since David Bowie'.

Now, is that an actual quote of what the girl said to her, or is that her paraphrase of it? Cos if it's an actual quote, that's raaaaather convenient. But "she was saying" suggests that this is Elly's interpretation/reconstruction of what the girl was saying, and, WHOA! Bowie's replacement? That's some ego there. I'm surprised she could get her head in through the pub door.
posted by [identity profile] andthatisthat.livejournal.com at 11:24pm on 23/06/2009
I think it would be best for all concerned if she remained silent. In interviews, when recording pop songs, the whole time.


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