As I continue to explore these artists who I so admired, I continue to be, unfortunately, surprised by the implications that follow their less prominent actions. A good example of this is probably Lily Allen. Lily Allen is an English recordings artist and actress. She’s been off the radar for a bit, taking time for herself and focusing on her family, but before, she was often praised for challenging societal norms through her lyrics. For example, in her song, “F**k You,” her lyrics attacked those who could be considered narrow minded. She sang, “So you say/ It's not okay to be gay/ Well I think you're just evil/ You're just some racist who can't tie my laces/ Your point of view is medieval.” Through her music, Lily Allen was making a statement that was reaching thousands if not millions of people. That is both the gift and the curse of being a pop icon with a following. People will undoubtedly look to the messages you put forth to guide them. It’s truly an incredible responsibility to be able to inspire generations to think for themselves by introducing ways of thinking that they may not be privy to in every day situations.
As an audience, we are left to marvel at Lily Allen for the way she shamelessly sings about issues that are sometimes taboo. This is especially true recently. Lily Allen has been incognito for some time, but recently released a new song that took me by surprise. The song is called “Hard Out Here,” and it’s accompanied by a very poignant video. Some of her most memorable lyrics are, “You'll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen. I won't be bragging 'bout my cars or talking 'bout my chains. Don't need to shake my ass for you 'cause I've got a brain,” and my personal favorite, “Inequality promises that it's here to stay. Always trust the injustice 'cause it's not going away.” The entire song challenges all of the big sexist issues right now, especially in regards to music. In 2013, a song by the name of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke was released which essentially glorified a man’s right to take advantage of a woman, even if the lines were in fact, “blurred.” Within Allen’s video, she mocks Thicke’s video, spending the rest of her time combatting the idea of objectification of women. It’s a wonderful message to put out and it resonates a lot with Lily Allen especially. Prior to her hiatus from music, Lily Allen suffered a lot of criticism over her weight, so much so that she seriously considered cosmetic surgery. So the lyrics definitely come from a place of being fed up with having to conform to any one image set forth by the patriarchy.
There’s been a lot of controversy however around Lily Allen’s video, as many believe she is throwing women of color under the bus and addressing a sexism that is apparently not racialized. Another really wonderful article that broaching this subject in a levelheaded manner is by the author I cited earlier when discussing Beyoncé as a feminist, Aphrodite Kocięda. She brings up some really solid points that make you question Lily Allen’s intentions in perpetuating the notion of women’s equality. A Tumblr user made a really good point when discussing feminism, “A transphobic woman is not a feminist. A racist woman is not a feminist. A homophobic woman is not a feminist. Exclusionary feminism is not feminism.”
So… can Lily Allen truly be considered a feminist if she excludes race from the issue? Tune in for my next blog post as we discuss the fact that Lily Allen flat out proclaimed feminism to be something we didn’t need…
As always, this is Serena, signing off.