Punk rock vs. R&B
No, it’s actually not going to be a big debate.
As I’ve mentioned before, I work mostly with people of color, colleagues and clients. Being in this environment has exposed me to a great deal of music, especially popular music, that I had previously been able to avoid. This exposure has led to a lot of thinking, and the second installment in the punk rock portion of this blog.
While driving to a basketball game, a song came on the radio called “Ghetto” by August Alsina. Listening to it, I was struck by the enormous emphasis on the female body (a.k.a. objectification) and the confusion about money. Is it desirable to have money, but date someone poor? Is this because it puts the poor partner in your debt, afraid to leave, without resources to escape? Sounds an awful lot like definitions of abuse.
This morning I was trying to think of some well known punk songs that have some of the same confusion, the same issues. Punk as an art form is inherently limited, as artists and fans reject monetary success as “selling out” (see: Rise Against, Against Me!) vs (Leftover Crack, Against All Authority. Hell, even Frank Turner (“we can never sell out, because we never bought in”)
(Side note: I love this website www.angryyoungandpoor.com where things are too expensive for actual poor kids to buy. Awesome).
We expect people to learn a certain way in punk..even though we say we don’t. I remember lots of hype about Beth Ditto (who sang for Gossip which was a fairly mediocre indie band) being fat, going against the mainstream. If we’re going against all that crap, where are the fatties? Even most of the Riot Grrrrrl bands were young, white and thin, in makeup.
Bodies in punk rock (as in most music forms) are primarily male bodies. Do a google search for “punk.” Here, I’ll even do it for you. Some ladies, not traditionally attractive, right? Mostly white, skinny, young. Hair funny colors. For some reason Miley Cyrus? Quick, name a punk band with all girls. Not even the Distillers! Not even Star Fucking Hipsters! Not the Horrorpops! And notice how these women look. Young, white, thin, makeup.
R&B and Punk objectify different people, different looks, different ideals. But we’re still objectifying.
More to come next week!