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?

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.