Week 12; April 4th-18th Blog Entry #4 (Done by J).

“Stupid Girls”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR4yQFZK9YMImage

To resist or display resistance is to hold one’s ground and go against the norm. In theory, it is the perfect outlet to express one’s beliefs and break down societal boundaries. However, in reality, going against commonly held ideas on topical issues such as gender roles and representation is often paired with adverse response. For instance, music is an effective tool to tell stories, share perspectives, and voice opinions. Many music videos today focus on breaking free from perpetuating feminine stereotypes. This controversial topic brings rise to criticism, especially surrounding the fine line between whether artists are reinforcing or destroying negative stereotypes. Pink’s video “Stupid Girls” is one of many that resist common conventions on what society considers womanly by attacking superficial pop-culture role models. This approach both disrupts stereotypes through the emphasized femininity of women while highlighting women’s agency and choice.

Pink’s music video “Stupid Girls” is intended to bring rise to a problem many young women face: the pressure to waste time, money, and energy trying to fulfill society’s definition of ideal and beautiful. This comedic video begins with a young girl deciding whether to follow the devil on her should and conform to society’s expectations for women, or trust the angel and resist by being true to herself. The plot then changes to various clips of Pink making reference to Paris Hilton’s sex tape, Mary-Kate Olsen’s shopping sprees, Lindsay Lohan’s car crashes, and various other foolish Hollywood moments (Vineyard). Pink also upholds superficial women stereotypes by spray tanning herself orange, and buying a pet accessory in an attempt to “stay younger longer” as indicated on the cage. All meanwhile, Pink periodically features her true self in the video and her struggles with attempting to change herself to fit the molds society has created for her. She gives up her body to plastic surgery for unnecessary modifications and runs on the treadmill to achieve the “ideal” body. However, Pink subtly implies her disapproval of each of these typecasts through her “Die Hipster Scum” t-shirt, and more obviously at the end of the video when the young girl ultimately choses to not be a “stupid girl” by going against the norm and picking football over dolls.

Each of the previously described stereotypes fit into the term of emphasized femininity. As described by Professor Tolmie, emphasized femininity is an exaggerated form of femininity where women must conform to the needs of men. Auletter and Wittner also define it based on film, where women are displayed as young, thin, conventionally beautiful, and heterosexual (10). This term is often viewed in a negative light as it typecasts and discriminates against women. While it is valid that the stereotypes Pink presents are inappropriate and “emphasize femininity”, Pink uses them to emphasize the need to see past, eliminate, and resist conforming to conventional standards. The images illustrate her view about the utter stupidity of Hollywood trends, which mustn’t be followed. Pink also severely lacks intersectionality in her video, however I think that was the intention. She showcases the idea that society inappropriately sees the ideal as a young, white, able, upper class women.

“Stupid Girls” also particularly focuses on women’s agency and choice. Professor Tolmie and Auletter and Wittner define agency as the act of seeking change by riding existing notions and implementing new social practices (11). While it is true that women have agency and free choice, people often find themselves pressured to act and look a certain way by society. There are unwritten guidelines that many feel they must follow in order to fit in. The question is, why do women feel so inclined to modify their bodies? Who are women changing for, themselves or others? In Pink’s music video “Stupid Girls” she emphasizes the need to change the women’s stunted development of their agency that causes them to conform to societal stereotypes instead of choosing their own path. Pink exhibits this idea by showing the obvious lack of agency in the “stupid girls”, compared to the young next generation girl who successfully declines the “stupid girls”. She uses her agency by choosing football over dolls, emphasizing the idea that girls should not feel inclined to pursue any path that they don’t want merely in fear of stepping outside hegemonic norms.

It is crucial that the flaws of this song and music video are also mentioned. For instance, Pink does not present many alternatives to being a “stupid girl”. She simply shows what stupidity looks like and demands that young women stay away from it. The only alternatives she presents to being a “stupid girl”are a female president or an outcast who prefers football but remains envious of other females. This narrow scope doesn’t give women many realistic or attainable options. Being a female president or football player continues to be rare, and thus, unreasonable. Pink also places all the responsibility on women for why they are depicted as they are. She doesn’t consider external reasoning or historical past; rather she attributes female celebrities and their flaws as the instigator for female stupidity. Considering each analyzed flaw, I understand the ways this could potentially limit female agency. However, I believe Pink made his song and music video in a relatable way for young women by comparing it to current celebrities and their faulty behaviour. With this, I believe Pink’s message is that young women do not need to repeat these same mistakes to be seen as desirable in society’s eyes. Rather, young girls must create their own path, make their own mistakes, but be true to themselves.

Overall, Pink’s video “Stupid Girls” is a form for resistance as it goes against the norm and emphasizes the need to dismantle commonly held stereotypes about women as they are negatively influencing adolescents. As mentioned, this music video is not perfect; it features many controversial and questionable moments. However, I think the larger message within the song and music video highlights the importance of women’s agency in the present day society where emphasized femininity and stereotypes prevail.

 

Works Cited 

Auletter, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2012. Print.

Tolmie, Jane. “Lecture 2.” Queen’s University. Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. 21 January 2014. Lecture.

Tolmie, Jane. “Twilight & 50 Shades of Grey.” Queen’s University. Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. 4 February 2014. Lecture.

Vineyard, Jennifer. “Pink’s ‘Stupid’ New Video Features Fake Breasts, Fake 50 Cent.” MTV. Viacom International Inc. Jan. 2006. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. 

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4 Comments

  1. Week 12; April 4th-18th – Comment/Response (Done by S).

    I really applaud the honesty in your comment that Pink’s video is not perfect, recognizing that within her work lie numerous opportunities that the critical viewer can object to, debate, critique and offer feedback on utilizing theories of the social construction of gender, gender socialization and hegemonic influences. That’s what I find refreshing in all the blog postings; the fact that we haven’t found perfection. No one has stumbled on the perfect advertisement, movie, short film clip or any other form of pop-culture. Is there perfect? And if so, what does it look like? And who is it perfect for? Most people have a message that they wish to share with their world, regardless of how big or small their world is. Sometimes the purpose of that message is to rant about their experience and the effect it has on them, sometimes it’s to educate others, and sometimes it’s about empowering others in hopes that their experiences will be different; better than ours. Agency and choice is the most powerful tool that women have in their tool-belt. It’s so easy to say that women have choice; that women have authority and ownership over their bodies and minds. It seems like such a straight forward thought; an open and closed book; women have agency, women have choice, so use it, display resistance, oppose conventional norms, stand against stereotypes, grind emphasized femininity beneath our heels and bury it. But it’s not that easy is it? Society has quite a hold on ‘us’; ‘us’ being men and women. Weeks six lectures and readings by Pearson on disablity and ableism describe the intersecting nature of systems of inequality forming a matrix of domination that we all exist in. Like a spider web, all forms of oppression interconnect and cannot be isolated from each other. Celebrities like Pink use their fame and success to disseminate messages to the public generating awareness and inciting action on the part of others. Pinks music video exemplifies the risk of damage that can occur from well-meaning messages conveyed with judgment and harshness. While there is no doubt about her commitment and passion to empower girls to resist complying with conventional norms she is guilty of damage as well. Beseeching one generation of women to be their own person regardless of hegemonic norms by labeling ‘other girls’ as stupid and holding their actions up as examples of what not to do, what not to be and how not to act is harsh. Truth without grace is brutality.

    – S.

  2. I just watched this music video for the first time and I completely agree with what you said in your blog. Pink does a good job of portraying the stereotypes in which so many young girls strive for. Whether it is being skinnier, prettier, having longer hair or more tanned skin, so many girls will not give up on trying to appear more attractive and the stereotypes are impossible to achieve. I really liked when you said “Rather, young girls must create their own path, make their own mistakes, but be true to themselves.” This is so true for everyone in modern day society. So many people waste time trying to look like someone else, try to have a nicer body or nicer hair than the next girl, but in the end who really cares? Being true to yourself and who you want to be is so much more important. I think Pink did a really good job of showing that in her video, and you did an awesome job of representing that in your blog.
    -R-

  3. before reading your blog, I decided to watch Pink’s new music video, and I do agree with much of what you say. You have made it extremely apparent that young girs strive for the stereotypes in which Pink presents in this video. As the previous commenter said, whether it be physical fitness, hair length, skin tone, or general overall appearance, more often than not this type of ideal perfection is impossible to achieve.

    I especially like your analysis of the lyrics. Pink calls girls who try to conform to society’s ideal stupid essentially. However, you allude to the fact that Pink doesn’t provide an array of option other than the school council or sports. What about those people that fall outside this realm?
    Pink presents two options, the stupid girl and those that are completely opposite to this- ambitious and intelligent.
    Pink’s message seems angry. However, she is somewhat of a hypocrite in that she herself has spoken of getting stripper poles and posing half-naked. I think it’s extremely important to focus on the reason she made this video: for profit, or genuine reasons? If it’s the former, can we really take anything she’s saying seriously? I think not.

    – M

  4. The heavy emphasis of stereotypes and heightened femininity in this video is interesting to watch and makes you think about how impacted we are by it. Although Pink’s video is meant to be ironic and satirical, it still communicates a rather sad truth about how girls think now a days. The video is relatable to what we see and read about everyday watching celebrities. This helps prove its point about not conforming or becoming somebody that you aren’t in order to fit in and be represented. Your analysis was thoughtful and point proving and helped explain resistance through the example of Pink’s music video.

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