The Curse of Curves- the slut shamming songs of the pop-punk culture.

Remember 2006-2009 when you were in middle school, went through that emo-punk-hardcore (whatever you want to call it) phase, and things were easier? I was  12-15 during those years and loved bands like Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, Cute is What We Aim For, The Maine… the list can go on. You know which bands I mean.

I used to burn playlists on CDs and listen to them in my room. All of these bands just mentioned are held dearly to my heart, because I grew up with them. I also grew out of it, but let me tell you that a couple of weeks ago I found these burned playlists in my room and now I listen to them in my car. Suddenly I felt 13 again and excited as the first (and only) time I went to the Warped Tour.

As I sang in my car, ’cause of course I still remember the lyrics, I did something I never did 10 years ago; I listened to them. I wasn’t shocked about the content but more on how I never notice how misogynist they were and filled with slut shame.

Since middle school I’ve been someone that reads lyrics carefully. This makes me think that I didn’t miss the sexual connotations. I had a very different opinion on female sexuality and a low opinion on “whores”, back then. (In my defense I was 13.)

In 2006 Cute is What We Aim For came out with their debut album The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch. By the time I was a freshmen in middle school the album was already a must hear. These are the lyrics to their most recognizable song “The Curse of Curves”:

I’ve got the gift of one liners
And you’ve got the curse of curves
And with this gift I compose words
And the question that comes forward
Are you perspiring from the irony
Or are you sweating to these lyrics
And this just in
You’re a dead fit
But my wit won’t allow it

The song is about a kid that has a crush on the school’s slut, but he is too good for her. He’s actually smart and good with words; I mean he has the gift of one liners and she’s extremely attractive she’s a dead fit. The speaker is trying to stay good and not surrender to shallow things like looks, but this girl GOT CURVES. As the speaker says on the chorus he is looking for something with more substance:

I want someone provocative and talkative,
but it’s so hard when you’re shallow as a shower.
From what I’ve heard with skin you win.

So, is a song about a guy who thinks “easy girls” are not worthy of him, yet he writes a song about one. Actually a whole album. This is the cover of the album; a provocative figure of a woman pulling down her skirt and the lost boys stranded behind.

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Here are the lyrics for another song “Newport Living”,

Everyone’s a let down
It just depends on how far down they can go
In every circle of friends there’s a whore
The one who flirts and does a little more
But who’s to say?
This is a social scene anyway
And everybody wants to explore the new girl
Caught up in her own hard liquor world
But liquor doesn’t exist in my world
But liquor doesn’t exist in my world

[Chorus]
You are a sell out
But you couldn’t even do that right
So your price tag has been slashed
And now you’re chillin’ on the half price clearance rack

I’ll say it. His lyrics are actually clever. Another recurring theme in his lyrics is alcoholism, or in his case the lack of drinking. In those years being “straight edge” was hip. This is a subculture in which alcohol, smoking, and drugs are avoided; a response to the excesses of punk culture. Apparently shamming on those ones who drank and smoked was also hip and cool.

This song was the first in which I notice the slut shamming, and surprised me because it was so cleverly hidden in plain view.

Medically speaking you’re adorable
And from what I hear you’re quite affordable
But I like them pricey
So exaggerate and t-t-t-t-t-trick me
Pretty please, just trick me
Pretty please.

So he admits it. He likes them when they’re harder to get and more “pure”. For someone who’s not into sluts he sure spent too much time writing about easy girls. In 2016 the band’s vocalist, Shaant Hacikyan, said that rape culture “wasn’t a thing”. Could we expect more from the writer of those verses?

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The Maine is one of those bands that I still listen to today. They’re my babies. I saw them one time live when they opened for Taking Back Sunday. I could have made excuses for my favs, but they do have a slut shamming song… “The Way We Talk”.

She’s fresh to death
She’ll be the death of you
Seduction leads to destruction
She’s fresh to death
She’ll be the death of me
She’s fresh, she’s but not so clean

“She’s fresh, but not so clean” can refer to a girl who doesn’t play fair and by that I mean a cheater or a girl that takes advantage of boys. In that case I would say, “Yes John O’Callaghan, call her on it”. But later in the song it says “Sex sells, and your sex cells make all the lost boys drool”. With that in mind I believe the “not so clean” refers to an STD.

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Remember Paramore? Remember their iconic music video of “that” girl that wears too much makeup, that breaks up a couple by kissing the guy, and cuts a girl’s blond hair? First, with the school dress code policies she would’ve never made it past the front door wearing what she was wearing. Second, remember how Hayley Williams wipes the makeup off the “sluts” face? She wears as much makeup as her, like what the fuck Hayley? I’m just going to wipe all that heavy black eyeliner, orange eyeshadow and pull on you orange extensions. Third, check the lyrics:

Second chances, they don’t ever matter, people never change
Once a whore you’re nothing more
I’m sorry, that’ll never change
And about forgiveness, we’re both supposed to have exchanged
I’m sorry honey, but I passed it up, now look this way

Well, there’s a million other girls who do it just like you
Looking as innocent as possible to get to who
They want and what they like
It’s easy if you do it right
Well I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!

You refuse to what Hayley? Take advantage of others to benefit your own image? What would Josh and Zac Farro, ex band members say about that?

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Fact: I had the deluxe edition of this album…

Perhaps out of all the bands only Forever the Sickest Kids asked the right question, why is purity so important? These are the lyrics for “The Party Song”

You’re such a flirt
To every guy that you meet
And why is purity so beautiful to me?
A filthy rag, a dirty whore
I have been captivated as the prisoner of my sin

Then here’s this one by Mayday Parade. “When I Get Home You’re So Dead” is a song about a cheating girlfriend, but still do you have to put her under a table to… you know what they mean…

So say hello to all the boys at the top
Of this table that you’re under
Lipstick lullabies
This is sorry for the last time
And baby I understand that you’re making new friends
This is how you get by
The moral this time is:
Girls make boys cry, and I…

Also “baby I understand that you’re making new friends, this is how you get by” sounds like a Drake song…

The recurring theme on this songs is that boys are placed as victims of a girl’s sexuality and don’t take responsibility for their own horniness. I’m not saying is wrong if they desire these girls, just own it boys.

Finally here’s a last song by Cute is What We Aim For from that same album in which Hacikyan is obsessed with the school’s “slut”.

So what made you think
That he couldn’t find a door in the morning?
When he found that bed so easily
In the dark

“The Fourth Drink Instinct” is about a girl that goes to a bar, gets drunk, and goes home with a guy. Girls will always be accounted for their sexuality, but the guy is never to blame.

Now I’m mentioning the famous song by Metro Station “Shake It” not because it was misogynist; just because it’s hilarious. Is this song about sex? It begins with “I’ll take you home if you don’t leave me at the front door”, then the chorus…

 Now if she does it like this, will you do it like that?
Now if she touches like this, will you touch her right back?
Now if she moves like this, will you move her like that? C’mon
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it.

Shake WHAT? You don’t shake it like that. It’s not about dancing… they’re already at the front door, and as he said “your body is cold but, girl we’re getting so warm.”

So yeah, things were easier in the early 2000’s. Good thing that slut shamming stayed there. Right?

Melania Trump. Not the first immigrant First Lady.

Since Inauguration Day a lot has been heard about Melania Trump, current First Lady of the United States. From headlines raising concern after a series of “sad pictures” to California Senator calling for her immigration records to be released. Which ever are your feelings about the current FLOTUS it is inevitable not to catch her in the spotlight.

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The hashtag #FreeMelania became trending. Some felt sympathy while others couldn’t ignore her privilege nor felt sorry for her. Many thought that the hashtag was condescending and patronizing by seeing her as another victim of Donal Trump’s bullying and not an adult woman who is in a very privileged position.

Last year her immigration records were requested, but were never released under the claim  that it was “not adequate” and harassing. The demands for the records has grown after Trump’s executive orders of the Travel Ban.

For me, Melania is more than a woman that married multimillionaire Trump in 2005. She is a symbol of migration in the United States; the “approved” migration.

Born in former Yugoslavia, she became a permanent resident in 2001 when she came to the United States to work as a model. She is not the first foreign-born First Lady. Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams was born in London and became the First Lady in 1825. However Melania is the firs non-native English speaker.

There are other First Ladies that have European descent including:

  • Laura Bush with English, French and Swiss roots.
  • Hilary Clinton whose father was of English and Welsh descent, while her mother had Dutch, English, French Canadian, Scottish, and Welsh roots.
  • Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan was the grand-daughter of Alla Nazimova, a Russian actress who came to the United States in 1905.
  • Pat Nixon was the daughter of a sailor with Irish roots and her mother was a German immigrant.
  • Lady Bird Johnson was a descendant of Rowland Taylor, an English Protestant martyr during the Marian Persecutions.
  • Jackie Kennedy’s mother was of Irish descent and her father had French, Scottish, and English ancestry.
  • Mamie Eisenhower was a grand-daughter of Swedish immigrants.

In 2008 the US had its first black president and in 2016 it was close to have the first female president. Michelle Obama already took the heat for being the first black First Lady. Melania Trump’s approval ratings have been the lowest since Barbara Bush’s in 1988, but still they surpass Donald Trump’s ratings. It may seem weightless but the fact that she is an immigrant FLOTUS matters. The US got a Slovenian First Lady which raises the question if it will ever approve a Latina or Muslim descent.

The First Lady is the most non-partisan element politics can offer. They have been seen as Queens, but also commoners. George Bush had an average approval of 49% while Laura had a 73%. Many of them were very involved in politics and truly committed to their campaign issues. First Ladies are more than politicians’ wives. They carry the image of their husbands. They’re a vessel of approval for the US citizens, and that approval has a race.

“A National Case of Nostalgia”. Songs that sound like they were produced in the 1970’s and their actual precedents

This 2016 I thank God for Justice who showed us that we’re back in the 70’s. I mean the french electronic duo. Do not mistake with the U.S. justice system that showed us (again!) that you can get away with rape by being an athlete.

Trends are born, they die, make a comeback and then… die again? This year there was a nostalgia that flooded us more willfully this year. Gnarly 80’s with hit Netflix shows like Stranger Things and even the futuristic fever of Black Mirror’s last season. In fashion 90’s were back with chokers, the slip dress over the t-shirt, but it didn’t came out of no where. We had it coming from past years with 2015’s high peak of the knee socks and  pleated skirts. Clueless and Winona Ryder were back.

The 70’s fashion was no exception with a comeback of the flare jeans, bell sleeves, boom platforms, and floral patches. Ask Gucci and Marc Jacobs Spring lines

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Marc Jacobs Spring 2017

(I can’t believe Marc Jacobs invented dreadlocks!)

The dense 70’s vibes hit not only in fashion but also in music and T.V. Musicals like Grease and Rocky Horror Picture Show, which film adaptations came out in 1978 and 1975 respectively, have had remakes released this year. In music there was a heavy influence of disco, soul, and psychedelic rock.

Of course these trends developed from past years. In 2013 Daft Punk released Random Access Memories with the 70’s sound to it, which isn’t that hard when you collaborate with Giorgio Moroder. Foxygen has been doing this since 2012, Breakbot assures that disco is still alive, and Tame Impala DID NOT invent psychedelic rock, but here’s a Spotify playlist to give you a taste of the 70’s vibes I’ve been talking about.

Songs that sound like they were produced in the 1970’s and their actual precedents.

Grease- Flo Morrisey and Matthew E. White

A cover of the song composed by Barry Gibb, from the Bee Gees, specifically for the film adaptation of the musical. Should I mentioned 2016 Grease: Live again?

You Can’t Outrun ‘Em- Jenny Lewis

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The Voyager is an album released in 2014, but it sounds like it was directly imported from the 1970’s. I think this was Lewis effortless try to do americana.
Precedent: You Can Do Magic- America. It also reminds me of “Magic Man” by Heart.

How Can You Really- Foxygen

What the guys from Foxygen have been doing since 2012 with their debut album is a nostalgic slap after another, but …And Star Power takes it to another level. When I hear this song it takes me back home when my mom used to play her Gilbert O’Sullivan tape.
Precedent: I will say a combination of “Woman” by John Lennon and “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. It even reminds me to “Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart.

She’s Not Me- Jenny Lewis

Precedent: This Jenny Lewis sounds more like Fleetwood Mac. Something like “Rhiannon”.

Safe and Sound- Justice

In the words of Josh Neff in Last Days of Disco: “Oh, for a few years – maybe many years – it’ll be considered passé and ridiculous. It will be misrepresented and caricatured and sneered at, or, worse, completely ignored. People will laugh about John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, white polyester suits and platform shoes… But we had nothing to do with those things and still loved disco… Disco was too great, and too much fun, to be gone for ever! It’s got to come back someday. I just hope it will be in our own lifetimes.
Precedent: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)- ABBA

Treasure- Bruno Mars

Song inspired by Baby I’m Yours of Breakbot, French producer and DJ labeled as being nu-disco. Also, just watch the music video.
Precedent: ’cause Bruno Mars always gave those Michael Jackson Vibes with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. 

Walking on a Dream- Empire of the Sun

“Glam Rock is still relevant, ok?”, said Luke Steele as he applied white eyeshadow.
Precedent: Yeah, but this song has heavy You Should be Dancing- Bee Gees vibes.

Redbone- Childish Gambino

#soul #funk #psychedelicfunk Also the song was inspired by Bootsy Collins’ “I’d Rather Be With You”.

Fire- Justice

I call this one “The One With Stevie Wonderish keyboards”
Precedent: Superstition- Stevie Wonder

A Lost Machine- Grandaddy

The 1970’s wasn’t just funk and disco, and I know that David Bowie’s album Space Oddity came out in 1969 but it was still relevant in the beginning of the next decade. This song by Grandaddy gives that experimental sound of folk psychedelia.
Precedent: Memory Of A Free Festival- David Bowie

Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)- Chicano Batman

A bunch of chicanos playing psychedelic-tropicalia-soul. And I’m not mentioning Santana only ’cause he is Mexican, but yeah latino rock fusion can be used to describe their sound.
Precedent: Black Magic Woman- Santana

Night Ride- The Growlers

The Growler have always given that The Doors kind of sound, and especially with their latest album City Club. I’m directly comparing this song to The Doors’ “Riders On the Storm”.

I’ll Be Around- The Growlers

Just watch their Stephen King title font. Just watch the music video. I can’t believe Julian Casablancas invented groove.

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The Sound of Ever-Present Adulthood

I really expected something else from adulthood. I thought it was like waking up every two hours the day before graduation knowing it was going to hit me once the alarm went off. I did expect it fearfully, but one day I woke up and found out I had been adulting for a while.

14498981_1817229758549521_3272242420686782464_nThe day before my graduation on December 9 The Sounds came to El Paso. This was one of the first “indie” bands that I heard and through them was introduced to the music I listen to today. 12 year old me could had only dream of seeing The Sounds live, even less imagine that one day I would have been at their “Dying to Say This To You” Celebration Tour. Ten years since that album came out and moved me forward from the emo-punk stuff I liked when I was in middle school, skinny jeans, and checkered vans. Maybe not the skinny jeans–and the vans. Even more years have passed since I saw that video of baby doll face Maja Ivarsson singing “Living in America”.

12 year old me had a vision of the future adult she wanted to be. She wanted me to be the kind of adult that spends her money going to concerts without having to be accompanied by her mother to the venues. Wearing all black and leather jackets and walking into clubs the same way Maja did in “Tony the Beat” video. 12 year old me started to love music so much that she even envisioned herself being involved in the scene–somehow through friends, a boyfriend, a job? I imagined myself as a successful adult with a successful smokey eye. 12 year old me was optimistic of the future, so here’s a list of things adult me has done that would make 12 year old me proud, but also the cons of these achievements.

1.Went to see The Sounds live.

Went to see them the day before my college graduation. I had to get home early ’cause the next day I had to be at check in at 7:00 AM. I only slept five hours. I was even considering not going because I was tired. 12 year old me didn’t considered that adult me actually would have a job.

2. Actually go to a lot of concerts.
Too much concerts to be honest. My bank account is always on the two digits. Yet they’re never enough concerts. I need to see more shows.

3. I know some musicians.

They’re pretty normal people. Some of them are great people, some of them are dicks. Some of them are my friends and I don’t have the heart to tell them I don’t like their music. I won’t say names.

4. Wear leather jackets and all black.

Leather jackets are very expensive, so I have the fake leather ones. They’re not even appropriate for the weather of El Paso; it’s either too hot or too cold. Wearing all black is not as badass as 12 year old me wanted to believe. None of my black items match. I hate un-matching blacks. I hate doing laundry. Adult me has to do laundry. Adult me wears the same bra three days in a row so I won’t run out clothes because I can only do laundry 2-3 times a month. Adult me never has enough white clothes to fill a washing cycle since adult me buys way too many black clothes. Adult me calls her mom to ask if I can machine dry a wool sweater.

5. Walk into bars by myself.

It took me like five years of practice, and I don’t even look like Maja Ivarsson. That’s the only contra. I actually hate when people are unable to walk into a bar/place by themselves; as if they were poor baby deers stepping into the freeway and being blinded by a car’s headlights.

6. Master makeup.

12 year old me doesn’t know that eyebrows have become very important and thinks that adult me only owns black eyeshadow, a red lipstick, and eyeliner. Girl… I don’t know if Sephora was a thing in 2006, but start saving.

7. First festival: Warped Tour

Only once. I went to British Summertime in London and saw Blur. 12 year old me is only a couple of years away from falling in love with their music and realizing Gorillaz is more than just cartoon music videos. Never been to Coachella, but girl there are better ones.

8. Graduate

12 year old me never envisioned what would happen after graduation. It was a good surprise thou.

The History of Cupcake Eating Rights

Let’s talk about a very uncontroversial topic. Lets talk about cupcakes. Everybody loves cupcakes, well not everyone. Also lets talk about two girls. Because of a lack of a bolder imagination, and since these are the names of my cats, they will be called Lucy and Conny. Also we will say that they live in a neighborhood with 50 houses, and coincidentally in the same one.

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Look, here’s one.

Both of this individuals have their own mindsets and opinions on cupcakes. Lucy has a set of principles and believes that tell her that she shouldn’t eat cupcakes. She actually gathers with other people that have the same sets of believes and that’s totally fine.

However Conny doesn’t follow the same set of principles or believes. If she wants to, she can have that cupcake, and as a matter of fact she is hungry, she needs it, and she wants to have it. We agree that she is not under any obligation to follow Lucy’s believes, right? The thing is that Lucy doesn’t want her to have that cupcake, she thinks that, following her mindset, no one should have cupcakes.

That’s not a problem because there’s a group of people that make the rules in the neighborhood. Let’s call them The Supremes, because I really like this band. The Supremes stated since 1973 that any girl in the neighborhood is free to have cupcakes, but only if she eats it three months after it was baked. You know, for her own safety and that one of the cupcake. (We’re not going to discuss the rights of the cupcake, that’s another conversation that would make this explanation less simple, and we don’t want that.) Let me also tell you that from 1873 to 1983 it was illegal for anyone in the neighborhood to promote or distribute any information about cupcake eating, even less actually eat them.

So yeah, now Conny can freely have a cupcake! Hooray. Still The Supremes allow every head of each household to decide the rules and regulations on how to eat cupcakes. In the case of Lucy and Conny, the head of their household is a man, lets call him Greg. Greg is a cool name. Greg has the same set of believes as Lucy, actually most people in this household follow the same believes, even those ones who help Greg administrate the household. Again that’s cool, but again we have to remember that Conny is under no obligation to follow the same mindset.

Greg decides to stick to the rules of the household that have been active for a long time and he says, “Ok, cool Conny. You can have a cupcake, BUT you have to eat it with a silver spoon. The drawer this silver spoon is has to follow certain regulations, like the size and sterilization, and actually the silver spoon has to be 9.3 inches long. If it’s shorter you can’t have the cupcake. Sorry that’s the rule since June of 2013.”

The room where Conny is right now has no 9.3 in silver spoons. Good thing that in that same household there’s a 9.3 in silver spoon, only that it’s upstairs and Conny is downstairs. It seems silly to think that Conny can’t go upstairs and eat her cupcake there, but that’s the reality of many. I know! Some people are just able to walk up the stair and others are not. Some people were even born upstairs! Lucky ones.

There’s another option for Conny to have her cupcake. She heard that in the household next door she doesn’t have to eat her cupcake with a 9.3 in silver spoon. I think the cupcakes next door look something like this:

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It’s easier for Conny to walk out the door to her neighbors house and have her cupcake there, than actually going upstairs in her own household. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone. Some people are not allowed to cross state lines–I mean house doors. It’s also one of those weird things that happen.

So if Conny is not allowed to go out of her house what are her options? She is left with having to buy the 9.3 in silver spoon that costs around $1,200. If you have that amount of money it’s cool you can now eat your cupcake. If you don’t… well, that’s bad. Is another one of those weird things that happen like being able to walk up the stairs. Some people can have their cupcake and eat it too.

What Conny could do is call FoodAid and ask for help to pay those $1,200. The thing is that there was this guy in 1976 upset with The Supremes’ decision to make cupcakes legal. Remember that guy from “That’s 70’s Show”? Hyde? Let’s call this other guy Hyde as well. Hyde created this rule saying that FoodAid was just not going to cover cupcakes. Just don’t.

So yes. Conny is allowed to have a cupcake but the rules of her neighborhood and household make it extremely difficult for her to have one. Conny doesn’t have a silver spoon, but she does have a knife. She can try to have her cupcake with this knife, but history has showed her that there’s a possibility for her to get cut. She doesn’t want that right? Things will have been easier only of Conny and Lucy’s household offered baking classes warming them about the consequences. You know, having a cupcake in the oven that maybe later you may want to eat is not the worst scenario. You can end up with a really bad burn, but their household are are not giving boys and girls the baking classes they need. They’re just telling the that they shouldn’t bake. However studies have showed that telling people not to bake is not stopping people from baking.

So Conny couldn’t get help from FoodAid but that’s not a problem because people are seeing a high necessity to eat cupcakes so they’re gathering efforts to create a fund  for everyone to have cupcakes! There are people giving baking classes, handling oven mittens, etc. They’re trying to make baking safe! Let’s call them Baking Centers. As I said some of this efforts include offering the funds for people to buy silver spoons, or even offering spoons that are not 9.3 inches. Oh, but we forgot about those regulations that make it illegal to have a cupcake without a 9.3 in silver spoon. So now this Baking Centers had to be closed.  Again you can tell people not to bake as much as you want, but it is not stopping them and is only making them have unsafe bake. 

Luckily something happen in June 2016! There was a meeting with The Supreme and cupcake eating experts. They reached a decision and this was that you don’t need a spoon to eat cupcakes! The experts said that having this spoon in a drawer with certain regulations and all of that is not necessary. As a matter of fact there are other kinds of foods that are harder to eat, but the law doesn’t require this regulations. Like soup. Most people eat it with a spoon of course and makes it safer and better, but is actually legal to eat it without a spoon.

This allowed the Baking Centers to open again. This was a huge step for all of the Cupcake Eating supporters, because this will help other households remove these Cupcake regulations. But hold on those ones with a sweet tooth. Another thing that happen is that now Greg is requesting the burial and cremation of baking cups. This sounds ridiculous since there are other food wastes that are not required to get cremated or buried. So why do baking cups have to?

So now Conny may be able to eat her cupcake without a spoon. She was able overcome the door crossing and the trip upstairs, but the cost of the cremation/or burial will mean another cost barrier.

I know that reproductive rights and abortion access can’t be reduced and compared to cupcakes, but this narrative helped me to understand the short but complicated history of it. Not to mention as well that the pro-life and pro-choice argument, which I didn’t took the time to develop, is way deeper and harder to pin as black and white; even less cupcakes. I just wanted to find a way to explain the facts of abortion access in a simpler way. Hope it helps you as well.