Tag Archives: #metoo

Electric Barbarella amongst the #MeToo movement

Day two from Santa Barbara. Last night we took a drive to see a couple of homes we like, and we were able to cross a couple of others off of our list of favorites. I think that if we threw caution to the wind, we’d have our answer….but I’m not quite ready to do that just yet, so today will bring more looking around. If nothing else, it’s lit a fire under me to get our current house on the market!

On to more important things, like Duran Duran. (Right?!?) Does anyone remember What Unfolds? What if I gave you the name, Steve Aoki? Terminal Five? How about champagne and cake?? Well, if you were there, tomorrow is in fact your sixth anniversary of making it out alive. I would have mentioned this tomorrow, but it is also someone’s birthday, and that needs to take precedence. So, happy early anniversary to those of you who survived the insanity at Terminal Five. (Sounds like a great book title, in my opinion!)

Today also has an anniversary of sorts. On this date in 1997, the filming for “Electric Barbarella” wrapped up, and Pop Trash was also released on this date in the UK.

I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I’ve always had misgivings about “Electric Barbarella”, in particular the video…but the song as well. Cheeky as though it may be, when I watch the video, I can’t help but cringe. An electric Barbie, bought off of a floor, to do anything and everything the men want. A problem arises only when the doll starts thinking on her own. Music video or not, it’s cringe-worthy even by 1997 standards, but certainly more so today, in the shadow of the #MeToo movement. It is hard for me to defend the merit of “Electric Barbarella”. I always felt the content was anti-female, and I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth a band who was loved by so many women would put out a song (not to mention a video) like that. Maybe I missed something somewhere.

I don’t know that the intention of music videos created back in 1997 were necessarily a call to arms to fight injustice or to make any kind of a social statement. Maybe some were, but I can’t think of them off-hand. I’m sure someone out there will have great examples.  I can’t help but think about Childish Gambino’s recent video for “This is America”. There’s nothing lighthearted or joyful going on there. It is a powerful, social statement, from song lyrics to one of the first images in the video where a man is savagely shot from behind while sitting in a chair. The scene is disturbing and stays with you, but even more so when you continue watching and notice that the point of the video is not necessarily the violence or injustice itself – it is that while all of that goes on, no one else pays any attention. As alarming and shocking as the video might seem, the portrayal of America is disgustingly accurate. I don’t know about anyone else, but it is a tough video for me to watch. Art can be like that, and yes – I do believe it is art. I had a long discussion with my oldest about the video when she insisted I watch it. Instead of being disturbed by the graphic nature, she was thrilled that in 2018, artists are being encouraged to really be so open and honest.

It is funny, and by funny I mean very strange and slightly discomforting, that back when I was her age, I felt the same way. I have to wonder what the future will bring.

In contrast to “This is America”, “Electric Barbarella” at least seems to be the epitome of the throwaway 1990s culture. Bright colors, animated graphics, shallow, plastic and pretty.  It is hard to see past the facade…and I admit that I just can’t seem to find what the real message is, if in fact there is anything going on there to be seen. My question to you is simple – what do you think the band was really trying to convey? Do you like the video or the message, and does it still have a place in 2018 amidst #MeToo?

-R

Hands out, hearts open, hand up

Last night, I went to go see the Quarteto Nuevo at Cal State Fullerton. This is a chamber jazz (!!) group, and they play everything from traditional chamber music, to traditional jazz and even a lot of world music. I loved it. There was a soprano saxophone player, an acoustic guitarist, a percussionist that played a Peruvian drum along with several other percussion instruments, and a cellist. The sax player is actually on staff at Cal State Fullerton, and the best part was that they collaborated with a dance group from Fullerton – and my oldest was one of the dancers. I’ve seen Heather dance thousands of times, but I have to say that last night’s performance was one of my favorite pieces. The name of the piece was called “Women’s Dance”, and the whole idea was about how women support one another.

When I thought about writing this post, I was going to focus on the ideas of improvisation and trust. But, that whole “women supporting women” thing seems far more timely!

I’ve written this blog for seven years and five months now. Yes, I’m counting. Amanda and I have seen the blog go from being unnoticed, to getting a lot of praise, to people openly hating it (and us), and now we’re at a point where we have a lot of readers, many of whom remain silent. Make no mistake, I accept full responsibility for the road the blog has taken. These things didn’t happen “to” me, they happened as a result of what I’ve written or the expectations that people have had of our writing. I’m not apologizing, and I’m not disappointed.

What I am though, is fascinated.

You all have to know that this fandom is weird. It’s bizarre enough to attract a few people to write about it. We’re unique because for the most part, this has always been a female-dominated fandom. Most of us have been fans since childhood. Plenty of us, myself included, can count one (or more) of the band members as our first crushes. The emotionality that goes along with those pubescent dreams tends to fuel a devotion that spans decades. That loyalty is not only crushing to outsiders, but on occasion, it pulverizes other fans that happen to be in the way. We women can be very territorial, and we’re punishing to those we believe to be trespassing.

My argument is simple: there are only five band members. Only the elite few have even the remotest chance of being accepted into that precious inner circle (this is not to be confused with having a shot at a one-nighter). Rather than giving a hand up to our fellow fan, many see this as competition, and push one another down. I see the comment “If I can’t have him, no one can” quite often. Truth be told, pretty much none of us can have any of them. We’re just hurting ourselves in the process of figuring that out. Instead of seeing fandom as an opportunity to find friendship, many times we’re looking for ways we can shove each other out of the way. That might have been fine when we were thirteen and not very wise, but now? What are we really doing to ourselves?

We’re judging. We’re openly promoting ourselves on social media. We’re flaunting our feathers, hoping for attention from males who, quite honestly – have no interest in most of us. Funny how amongst many in the animal world – it is the males doing the flaunting. Maybe, just maybe…we’ve been doing it all wrong.  The band is married to, or are dating models and people who have already figured out how to carve a unique path for themselves in this world. I’m not saying we have no chance at that, but let’s get serious…most of us don’t. Yet we judge. We mock. We take any opportunity possible to make sure that the few who might be sticking their neck out a smidge farther to be seen know that they don’t really matter. Instead of supporting one another and giving a hand up, we’re pushing one another down. When will we learn our lesson?

During a time when the #MeToo movement seems to be plowing full steam ahead, I find that our fan community is nearly the antithesis.

Last night, I watched Heather dance with her group. They twirled in circles, hand out, heart open in celebration of one another. I’d never seen anything quite like it, in many aspects. They grasped other dancers, lifting them joyously with one step, and then being lifted themselves in the next. It is a piece that will stay in my thoughts for a long time.

Once upon a time, Amanda and I had a link page on this site. We wanted to create a sense of community, and yeah – we felt like we bloggers and website owners needed to stick together. Over time, sites went down, blogs closed, and the links were stale or broken. Rather than work to fix it, I took the entire thing down. I think it’s time I work to get it back working.  Daily Duranie is a place of inclusion, and to not have a link page says something far different. If you’ve got a website and want to participate in a link exchange, let me know.

-R