“Do you miss me in your bed? The way we talk all night, the way I give you head?
Do you think that she’s the one or do you just pretend?
And when she says it’s love
Will you think of me instead”
The Veronicas are the latest to join what at this point, honestly feels like a chorus of women who don’t believe in the sisterhood.
Ariana Grande‘s chart-climbing single ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ is essentially about enticing another woman’s man.
“I know it ain’t right
But I don’t care
Break up with your girlfriend
Yeah, yeah, ’cause I’m bored”
Stream ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ below:
Ava Max’s ‘Sweet but Psycho’ may be a misunderstood statement which tries to reclaim the oft-used term for passionate women, but with lyrics like, “Grab a cop gun kinda crazy / She’s poison but tasty”, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
These three singles are shocking releases from their feminist performers.
There’s a reason why Haley Williams retired ‘Misery Business’ from the Paramore tour setlist.
“It’s the way I tried to call her out using words that didn’t belong in the conversation,” Williams said last September about the track’s anti-feminist lyrics like “Once a whore, you’re nothing more”.
“It’s the fact that the story was setup inside the context of a competition that didn’t exist over some fantasy romance,” Williams added.
There’s a reason why ‘Don’t Cha’ by The Pussycat Dolls has been discussed in long-form pieces about pop music’s failing responsibility in the fight for equality.
In an article for The F Word,
“The lyrics suggest that women are in competition with one another over men, and over their appearances, a wholly negative representation of womanhood. Rather than promoting girl power, in Don’t Cha the Dolls are clearly anti-sisterhood.”
To me, feminism is at its strongest and most powerful when we are unified. When we are seen to be collaborative with both men and women – and certainly not using our valuable platforms to tear other women down. When our public figures don’t contradict their messages around feminism, that’s when they can create a lasting impact, and an even longer-lasting change.
Yet, when I first heard The Veronicas’ new single ‘Think Of Me’, I balked at lyrics like, “Do you miss me in your sheets” and “Will you think of me instead”. Here is a duo who are arguably one of Australia’s most proud pop exports; but here they are with a public ode to someone in a relationship who they clearly don’t even want to be with: “I don’t miss being hated, I don’t miss fighting your war”.
Stream The Veronicas’ ‘Think Of Me’ below:
I was in the bathroom listening to the track for a second time (making sure I had heard the lyrics right), when my husband popped his head in and said, “Did she just say what I thought she just said? What’s with all this hate on women lately?’
I wish ‘Think Of Me’ was an anomaly of misplaced independence, that it was really about post-breakup female empowerment and that the inclusion of the ex’s new partner was a poorly planned flaw. But ‘Think Of Me’ is the third track currently climbing the pop charts to feature girl-on-girl disrespect.
Perhaps we are to blame. On Nova radio’s most recent Fresh 40 Countdown, which reflects the chart from iTunes Australia as it goes to air, ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ came in just ahead of ‘Sweet but Psycho’. That’s right, one anti-feminist ode and one which refers to a woman as “A little bit psycho”.
In the ‘Sweet But Psycho’ video below, Ava Max plays a character who poisons a man and chases him around the house with an axe…
Listeners to one of Australia’s biggest commercial stations are essentially being served real-time consumer data, as it happens. So who is really to blame here? The songwriter, or the music fan who holds the pedestal.
Why can tracks like ‘Don’t Cha’ and ‘Misery Business’ be seen clearly as songs that just don’t hold up in the current climate, yet ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ is played on repeat, is certified Platinum in Canada, and trended on Twitter?
Could this marketed lyrical portrayal of competition and anti-feminism have a more widespread affect on the music industry as a whole? If consumer media and social media are already pitting female acts like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, and Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, against one another, then how damaging is this discourse on their fans?
A unified front for feminism is needed now more than ever. In the late 1800s, we worked to classify women as actual human beings. In the ’90s, third wave feminism saw the emergence of riot grrrl groups in music.
Now, in the current wave and post-MeToo, feminism means different things to different people – and Time’s Up for some of the world’s most powerful men.
Perhaps Ariana Grande, Ava Max and The Veronicas still believe they are staunch feminists after releasing their singles. Perhaps they approach feminism in a different way to others. But if I’m perplexed, an out and proud feminist myself, then their message isn’t empowering at all, it’s confusing and damaging.