I was ranting about Sk8r Boi on Twitter (I never had a social group until now that I could vent and I realized how much hate for that song I've been storing up) and how it's basically a Nice Guy™ anthem.
this pretty and popular girl, she ignores this guy who likes her, he
ends up rich and famous and with a hot girlfriend, the girl ends up
pregnant and alone.
There's a lot of issues w/ this, of course,
there's single mother shaming, there's misogyny, there's the implication
that a good reason to date guys you don't like is that they may become
rich one day, and there's the usual social encouragement of women to
hate each other and view each other as competition and enemies. >:\
But I was also ranting about Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and it's spiritual follow up song "Better Than Revenge".
those that don't know, the first song is about Swift singing about a
guy she likes that is only friends with her and is dating the popular
cheerleader. The virgin/whore and geek/jock dynamic is strong here:
Swift's narrator is said to wear pants and sneakers while popular evil
girl wears skirts and heels. She's a band geek, the popular girl is a
cheerleader. She gets his humour, popular girl yells at him... etc...
second one is about Swift's narrator's boyfriend cheating on her with a
popular girl (who she slut shames specifically by saying "she's more
famous for what she does on the mattress") and Swift talking about
getting revenge on her for "stealing" him.
I find it interesting
that even in the Nice Girl™ narrative, the villain is the woman. Think
of it, the Nice Guy™ narrative also has the ignorant love interest, also
has that love interest's partner be abusive and uncaring, but in THAT
one, the girl is blamed for CHOOSING the "bad boy" over the nice guy.
She's blamed for making poor choices (in Sk8r Boi, there's no abusive
husband, but it's implied that her single motherhood is her fault and
she's lonely now).
In the Nice Girl™ narrative, a woman is STILL
at fault. You'd think the narrative would be reversed, that the boy
would be blamed for making poor choices, for dating a "bad girl", but
it's the bad girl that's at fault. She's a slut. She's a bad,
manipulative person. She abuses him. It's not his fault.
for a girl, it IS her fault, the Nice Guys™ don't blame the boyfriend,
even when they rant about the abusive boyfriend, the rant is WHY SHE IS
STAYING WITH HIM, not THAT HE IS ABUSING HER.
In the 2nd song,
the guy CHEATS on her, and she still blames the woman. And both of
these narratives aren't unique to Taylor Swift, they're all over our
media, and even influences the way we see things in our own lives.
narrative of the bad woman, the slut, the innocent guy deceived by the
conniving jezebel are deeply entrenched in our society. It also plays
into the idea that when it comes to attraction and sex: men know not
what they do. That it's up to women to be pure, and not tempt them with
sex. He's not at fault for cheating on her, the other woman's at fault
for breaking the female contract and seducing him. ALL women must
watch out for the uncontrollable lust of men, and if they cheat, it's
Men's sexuality is treated "as is." Male sexuality is pure and innocent, it can't be controlled, merely handed off to a woman to be responsible for. When it comes to sexuality (and things we see as sexuality, like exotification, abuse, rape, etc) men are neither pure, nor unpure, they're a force of nature, they just are. Even when men are "evil" and they rape or abuse, we still have a lot of attitudes that suggest they're more of a storm than a person making choices. We ask abused wives what they did to provoke their husbands, wives call the woman their husband chooses to cheat on a "whore" and a "slut", we ask female rape survivors what they were wearing, what they were doing, if they led the guy on. For the longest time, we didn't consider marital rape a crime, because the wife has taken responsibility for her husband's sexuality, she's the one who chose to be responsible for the tiger, she's the one who couldn't live up to her end of the bargain.
Women earn our purity, or lose it, by how we act, speak, think, etc, that we don't act in ways that turn loose the hurricane that society views as male sexuality. And of course this also leads into rape culture, and how male rapists and female survivors are seen.
Yes, we do hate male abusers and rapists (on the occasions we believe they exist, and a lot of that is because of feminism changing the narrative), but in the undercurrent of it all, there's a sort of sad understanding. We have storm unprepared for, the animal misled. The rapist that we all forgive, because she led him on, she put raw meat in front of the wolf, she chose to go outside when the storm hit. And we have the animal unchecked, the raging storm. The rapist we hate, hate hate hate hate, but in a way understand. His desires can't fit in our society, and we can never trust him again, but it's not for his actions, it's for his desires. He can't help himself.
This also explains why the narrative in society around rape is about men raping women, because society doesn't get things that go against this narrative. A woman raping a man seems as bizarre in this context as a human biting a wolf. Humans don't bite wolves, humans don't injure storms. Misogyny fucks everything up because it divides up men and women as if we're different species, but it also doesn't place us on the same level playing field.
Because on some level, women are to blame, we're the temptation, we're the ones who made the choices that "attracted" men. We didn't go inside when the storm hit, we didn't put in the raw meat when the animal came. Even if men committed the act, we committed the sin that brought on the act. Just as Eve handed the apple to Adam, we're seen as being complicit in our own abuse, and our own rape.