Funny, That Doesn’t LOOK Like Truth
Yes, you read that right.
What follows here is a rebuttal to one entry on a blog entitled “Truth for Men,” specifically an entry dissecting the lyrics to Madonna’s hit song “Material Girl.” This rebuttal will not feature my normal level of vitriol and obscenity (in other words, I’m watching my language here, folks). You might wonder why. Simple, because the author of this blog seems to believe that feminists are all angry hairy-legged women who can’t get a date on a Saturday night, and take it out on men instead. Or that they just want to be men and haven’t yet had someone show them the true beauty of being a woman. I’m not sure which.
So, if the author is interested, I would like to offer up some actual truth for him. Or as Stephen Colbert would put it: a big scoop of truthiness.
The blogger insists that Material Girl is an all emcompassing argument. That it and songs like it are the “truth,” that women simply want money and status in a man, that we will take a rich man who treats us badly over a less financially secure man who treats us well.
I am offended for several reasons. The first of which is that the blogger speaks for ALL women, regardless of their individual personalities, backgrounds, and ambitions. The second is that he selected that particular Madonna song, since her catalogue is much wider. A third reason, but hardly the final one, is that this is being regarded by this blogger as “truth.”
I will not try to argue that there are not women who are “golddiggers” as it’s put in the tags for the blog. I have witnessed it in women in the past, and I’m not exactly overjoyed at the way they treat relationships. Not just because it is hurting the man they are in a relationship with (which, to be honest, if he knows he’s being used he could break up with her. To be fair) but also because it means that woman seems to have no sense of a need to be able to support herself, that she believes her most useful skill is conning men into buying her things. I think that woman is selling herself short. She might disagree, and I’m sure many of them would. But that’s me speaking from what my idea of female empowerment is.
But not all women are like that, honestly. The truth of the matter is that you cannot over generalize like that. Women have and want different things. Just like men. Amazingly, men and women are a like in many many ways. Just like not all men are staunch anti-feminists who seem to have a warped view of women, not all women are money grubbing manipulators. In fact, from my experiences, those two groups have one thing in common: they are a minority.
Do I want a man with money and ambition? Well, I want a man I don’t have to support myself. I want a man who has aspirations in life of doing something that will make him happy and will allow a place for me to be happy with him. I don’t feel like a man has to be the one supporting a woman in the relationship (in the latter parts of my parent’s marriage my mother was the one who was more financially secure, she had the bigger income). But I do feel like neither partner should “drop the ball” when it comes to income. Both of you are in this together, you have to make a decision on where you stand financially and stick to it. If it means he supports her, she supports him, or ideally they support each other (this goes for EVERYTHING, not just monetary matters), then so be it. Know what you’re getting into. Know where you start or else you might end too soon.
As for selecting “Material Girl?” That was a very purposeful song selection, I’m sure. That song was released in 1985, early in Madonna’s career. And you imply that “material girl” and “material world” are synonomous.
In the 1980’s? It WAS a material world. I’m hoping the phrase “yuppie greed” rings a few bells. Did men romance women with items? Yeah, sure, they still do it today. Did some women respond? Yep. Also, consider Madonna’s later comments on the song:
So, when the performer basically disowns the song later in her career, what does that tell you? Times have changed.
Also, you choose that specific song from Madonna. What about songs like “Express Yourself” which send the direct OPPOSITE message?
You don’t need diamond rings Or eighteen karat gold Fancy cars that go very fast You know they never last, no, no What you need is a big strong hand To lift you to your higher ground Make you feel like a queen on a throne Make him love you till you can’t come down
Seems to me the message here is that things are nice, but aren’t all emcompassing. In fact, the chorus:
Don’t go for second best baby Put your love to the test You know, you know, you’ve got to Make him express how he feels And maybe then you’ll know your love is real
argues that you shouldn’t just date someone because he’s rich. If he doesn’t respect you, he’s not worth your time. “Don’t go for second best.” Don’t settle. Flashy things do not a fantastic romance make.
I should add that “Express Yourself” was released in 1989 on the “Like A Prayer” album. Four years AFTER Material Girl and as the world was heading into the culture shift of the 1990’s.
And the choice of artists is interesting as Madonna, while still releasing albums and performing, is hardly the voice of today’s young woman. What about artists such as Destiny’s Child who put out songs such as “Independent Women: Part 1?”
The shoes on my feet I’ve bought it The clothes I’m wearing I’ve bought it The rock I’m rockin’ ‘Cause I depend on me If I wanted the watch you’re wearin’ I’ll buy it The house I live in I’ve bought it The car I’m driving I’ve bought it I depend on me (I depend on me) All the women who are independent Throw your hands up at me All the honeys who makin’ money Throw your hands up at me All the mommas who profit dollas Throw your hands up at me All the ladies who truly feel me Throw your hands up at me
Or Pink, who released the single “Most Girls?” But I’m not every girl and I don’t need that world to validate me Cuz shorty got a job, shorty got a car, shorty can pay her own rent Don’t wanna dance if it’s not in my heart!! Most girls want a man with the bling-bling Got my own thing got the ching-ching I just want real love Most girls want a man with the mean green Don’t wanna dance if he can’t be everything that I dream of a man that understands real love
Or Imani Coppola’s single “Legend of a Cowgirl?”
Pack my bags and mount my horse I’m gonna ride on into the next town Spend all my money on absolutely nothing Need no man to pay for anything Ain’t got no shame, nobody knows my name I’m gonna ride on into the next town Pecos Bill, couldn’t hang for long A female legend with a song
My point is, you can find as many song lyrics as you want about women wanting money, because I can find just as many about women being independent. Some from the same artists who you claim speak the “truth” for women. So I wonder what the real “truth” is? Maybe, sir, you don’t know the truth.
The truth is, feminism, real feminism, isn’t about women being better than men, or scamming men, or whatever sort of flat out lies society perpetuates. Lies, might I add, coming from both men and from women who rail against feminism as well as those who have taken it beyond equality and into female supremacy.
Feminism is believing that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.Feminism is believing that both men and women’s health issues should be covered by company leave plans.Feminism is believing that emotions are neither male or female, but all encompassing of humanity. Meaning that it shouldn’t be considered “unfeminine” to be angry or aggressive and that men shouldn’t be ridiculed for showing sensitivity.
As a side note, I’d like to know who decided that being gay automatically makes a man less masculine. But that’s a rant for another time. I promise.
The truth is simple. We are humans. Male, female, transgendered, what-have-you. We deserve equality. And anything claiming otherwise, my friend, is an outright lie.
To end with another set of Madonna lyrics, from “What It Feels Like For a Girl”
Girls can wear jeans And cut their hair short Wear shirts and boots ‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading ‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading But secretly you’d love to know what it’s like Wouldn’t you What it feels like for a girl