Molly Lavender is exasperated at gender segregation in music – and the way pop songs valorise abusive relationships
Gird your loins, ladies! The X Factor has returned! And with it the unquestioned assumption that women up and down the country are looking forward to it with rabid anticipation. To not be excited about it is almost to be a traitor to our gender. It’s as if the rules of music have been carved in stone somewhere. Rock is for boys and pop is for girls. After all, are we not female? Don’t all girls go into paroxysms of delight at the thought of spending 12 weeks watching a glorified karaoke contest? My boyfriend’s mother would seem to think so. After establishing that I had absolutely no interest in this particular piece of reality TV drivel, she told me, “you want to get your head looked at”. Thanks. But, despite my rather churlish display of apparent un-feminineness, I’m pretty sure that my brain is, in fact, firing on all cylinders.
So why is my lack of interest in pop seen as an aberration? Is it reasonable to expect me to have an obsessive love of pop music just because I’m female?
Those who compile CDs would certainly have us think so. If you want proof, just take a look at the slew of gender-specific compilation albums that come out each year in time for Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and Christmas. Have a look at the first four tracks from the Christmas compilation, World’s Best Mum:
- ‘Saving All My Love For You’ – Whitney Houston
- ‘The Rose’ – Westlife
- ‘Mama’ – Il Divo
- ‘Beautiful’ – Christina Aguilera
Hmmm. All quite predictable. Now let’s examine the 2008 Father’s Day release, Dad Rocks!:
- ‘Money’ – Pink Floyd
- ‘The One I Love’ – R.E.M
- ‘Road To Nowhere’ – Talking Heads
- ‘Oliver’s Army’ – Elvis Costello