Remember when Chris Moyles called himself the Saviour of Radio 1 despite churning out the same old crap every day for god knows how many years? Well, those of us who have despaired at the degeneration of pop into mind-numbing sexualisation where everyone seems to be IN THE CLUB have got an actual real saviour. Her name is Lorde.
I am late to the party on this, and that’s because I’m old. Not old enough to be outside childbearing age but old enough to be the bracket of listeners that a certain radio station has openly stated they do not want. My only tenuous link to the pop world is a partner who constantly flicks through MTV, never staying on any one channel long enough to find out if he actually likes the song. As such, I have heard of Lorde through her words and deeds rather than through her music, although having tried that now, I can confirm is great.
At the moment we are in the midst of what is being termed as fourth wave feminism. There are big issues facing feminists at the moment including maternity leave and the gender pay gap, but the real biggie at the moment seems to be the depiction of women in the media. This might seem incidental in comparison to such tangible issues as the pay gap. Does it really affect anything?
I would argue that the way that the media portrays women is one of the most important issues when it comes to feminism, particularly in regards to girls. They will be the women of the future, and they spend most of their time consuming media, be it films, music or magazines. Their idols are actresses, models and singers, and unfortunately the majority of these ladies are happy to use sexuality to try and sell records. All this teaches the girls is that being sexy and good looking is the most important thing they can achieve, and at the very least is necessary to be successful.
On the one hand I really don’t want to say that this reflects badly on women. One woman selling records should be not an ambassador for 50% of the planet. On the other hand, when all the ladies are doing this, it doesn’t give a very rounded impression of what is expected of women. Caitlin Moran wrote a super article about trying to explain MTV to her children incidentally which is well worth a read. Anyway, when a female singer comes along who is not only happy to say she is a feminist, but writes and sings songs that aren’t solely about sex and love and doesn’t dress in an overtly sexy way, it is very refreshing.
Music has been moving in this direction for a while, but not at the pace I would have hoped. We’ve had Lady Gaga, who is amazing and manages to be naked most of the time without being sexy, but she’s got a smidge pretentious over the last few years. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think it makes her harder to relate to and as teenagers, we tend to want to relate to people. Taylor Swift is an excellent role model – no tits out here – and her music is very approachable, but she is very savvy. I am of course referring to the fact that she refuses to call herself a feminist, presumably because she is concerned the people won’t like it rather than because she believes men and women aren’t equal. Lorde, however, doesn’t see why she wouldn’t be a feminist. This is the perfect attitude!
I think that what I really like about Lorde is that she is clearly intelligent and has opinions and doesn’t see why she shouldn’t express them. She appears to be someone that isn’t fussed about conforming, and that doesn’t mean being rebellious, it just means trusting her own judgment. Thinking back to my own musical childhood, the main ladies were Britney and Christina, neither of whom seemed to have any mind of their own. I don’t know if that affected me at all, but surely it cannot hurt to have something a bit eclectic out there. If only to help the girls that like wearing clothes.