Pop Tarts

Recently, my wasband (yes, you can get along with someone you used to be married to, but that’s another post entirely) posted this video to my facebook page:

It’s been a rough couple of weeks recently and I’d been down on myself. The negative messages that we all hear, day in and day out, were beginning to loop in my head. As much as I’ve attempted to avoid succumbing to them, I was beginning to toilet bowl into negativity. That infectious pop song snapped me out of it. The message that we’re all good enough, that we all have enough and therefore, we all deserve to be accepted for who we are, is a hammer encased bubble wrap.

This is a message that has come up in several pop songs lately. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”

and Katy Perry’s “Firework”

The Onion’s AV Club has already covered the differences between Gaga and Perry, better than I could. What they do share is a wide audience and two songs that, to varying artistic development, state that it’s perfectly acceptable to be who you are. That those aspects of ourselves that we’ll self-deride are the very points that make us powerful creatures. That our power comes from stopping the internal cycle of derision and owning our power, even when it hurts. Perhaps especially when it hurts.

The power of a pop song is much like the tension between negative self talk and personal power: they are pervasive, insidious even. When you look beyond the fluff, the message of acceptance, of oneself and others, is hard to ignore. Because these songs are in wide circulation, they are reaching audiences that are more limited in their personal outlooks. Bigots, homophobes, and sexists are part of the milieu that listens to pop music and they might not like it; however when you can not avoid something, it will eventually change you. Just a little bit, perhaps. Perhaps that’s enough.

I am heartened to see this trend. When a air bubble like Katy Perry, who sells an idea of female sexuality to heterosexual males that I find, at best, obnoxious; also sells a message of personal tolerance, I am hopeful that the very people she sells to will gain a measure of insight. When Lady Gaga, who may be the single most notorious and popular artist, at the moment, says that being gay is not a choice, I can hope that someone will hear that and be swayed enough to rethink their position. Pink states that you can be spiraling downwards and still be lovable … well, that was a message I needed to hear today.

 

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4 Responses to Pop Tarts

  1. Mr. Wasband says:

    You’re welcome. The CD player in my truck has been broken for half of forever, I haven’t put in an aux jack for an MP3 player yet, and I don’t have XM or HD or anything like that, so I listen to the regular old-fashioned FM wireless radio. Lately I find I enjoy the top 40 stations as much as anything else. I’d half-listened to that song a few times, but the other night driving home I actually HEARD more of the lyrics and I thought of you.

    Ironically, 2 years ago (tomorrow, if I’m not mistaken, to be precise), when you and I were very much not getting along, and I was celebrating our divorce, P!nk’s “So What” was a favorite anthem. She has a song for every occasion!

  2. Kit OConnell says:

    It’s true that pop songs sometimes become popular simply because some marketing juggernaut forces them into our psychic landscape through sheer over-exposure… but I think we sometimes forget that the other reason they become popular is because they speak to something inside the popular culture, inside ourselves.

    BTW, there are some other ways to work with Youtube and WordPress, here’s a few tips:
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/videos/youtube/
    Kit OConnell recently posted..Burning Flipside 2011 & After

  3. gyesika says:

    Thanks Kit for the info on the videos. I ended up just going into the html field and using the embed code from youtube. I think it’s fixed now.

    I think that pop songs can be a force for change, so this latest trend has really blown me away for the very reasons you mention.

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