Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Can You Listen to Pop Music and Still Be a Feminist?”

Tuesday’s Brown Bag presentation, “Can You Listen to Pop Music and Still Be a Feminist?” was led by Professor Mary Simonson , Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and Women's Studies. I found the format to be really engaging. The lecture included a lot of question and answer as well as the audience’s participation in dissecting music snippets, lyrics, and promotional images. The most interesting part of the lecture for me was learning about the story of abuse being told in the song “We Are Young” by F.U.N. It essentially is very easy to overlook these lyrics because of the genre, the chorus, and the beat of the song. Analyzing music in this manner was something that I had never really paid much attention to before this presentation. Unless a song or band is blatantly sexist, it is very easy for me to miss sexist language and I think this is true for many people. Professor Simonson also examined the career trajectories of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga and asked us to think about how they might be doing feminist work through their art. We also talked about how to better support music and artists that whose art align with our values and how to listen to music that is not so feminist while not supporting the artists who create it. I really enjoyed this Brown Bag because I think it’s a pretty unique topic and as a consumer of music, I don’t often think of how to use my buying power. I agree with professor Simonson that we can listen to pop music that we love and still identify and act as feminists as long as we are aware and are able to analyze its contents.

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