Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shameless music, guilt-free representation

Alright guys, get ready. If you like Justin-Bieber-type things, you're going to love this post. If you don't like Justin Bieber but like things that are mainstream examples of not sucking, you will also love this post. To put some things into perspective, and to get an idea of why you're going to love this post, go to the following link. Do yourself a service, watch the full three minutes...there will be toe-tapping, there will be joy, there might even be abs. Just kidding, there will totally be abs. But if you hate abs or hate the song, you can skip to 2:59 and the point at hand will take ten seconds to get.

Did you love it? I thought you might. You're welcome. If you ever need a karaoke buddy for this song, you just give me a ringy-ding and I'll be there before you can say, "THAT GIRL IS 26 YEARS OLD?!" (Both true and non-topical).

So if you didn't watch the video...shame on you. Also, you should know that the basic gist is that Carly Rae Jepsen is this pretty little (though 5 years my elder) bubble gum pop singer who is singing about her being in love with her neighbor. can I say this...if I wasn't gay before, there is absolutely no question about the fact now. The video is just a love-fest on this guy. Male-objectification to the max, and he is the centerpiece of this complete unspoken love story. Carly (we're on a first name basis) spends three minutes talking about how she wants to give him her number and then they can fall in love and star on the cover of cheesy romance novel covers and the like. When the video nears its end, she finally talks to this guy and her band plays him an impromptu song in her garage. She seems very proud of herself and decides to give him her number (so brave, Carly. Get it, girl). As she is writing her number down, however, he walks past her and gives his own number to a guy in the band.
First of all, I can't tell you how far and fast my jaw dropped when I saw the twist in this song. In one second, the video went from a guilty pleasure that I swore I would keep to myself until the end of time to an experience that I immediately decided to share with anyone who would donate three minutes to my cause. It means so much and felt so important to me that there was a gay character represented in a song that I later found out is fairly popular on the radio and that millions are seeing. It is not everyday that we get the opportunity to see a gay character in such a well-framed light. As the focus of the video, this man was glorified over and over as the object of desire, someone that straight girls and gay men want to be with, and a guy that straight guys want to be like. By taking that ideal and then flipping it on its head, the director also turns heteronormativity on its head in a way. That meant a lot.
Now, of course I have some reservations to add to the mix. What kind of a blog would this be if I didn't? First and foremost, I think that this video made an excellent representation and handled the topic and execution therein with an immense amount of maturity and care. The man never becomes villainized or the butt of a joke. That being said, he comes pretty close to both of these places. For example, because Ms. Jepson is so distraught at the end of the video, it is somewhat feeding into the idea that "all the good guys are gay." Also, we feel somewhat bad for this poor girl who has just spent three minutes getting us to love and support her...making gayness the thing to be blamed for her misfortune. However, her reaction seems more surprised that pouty...thus insinuating that it might not have been his sexuality, but her misreading that caused the problem in the end. I would be interested to see what others think about this. I am also halfway happy about the reaction of the guy in the band that is given the phone number. First and foremost, I notice that he does not meet the situation with disgust or anger, but with shock. This is just a bit negative to me because it implies that a man giving his phone number to another man is something that may be reasonably met with surprise...that it is abnormal. And finally, I am just a bit sad to be reminded that this character's homosexuality, as is often the case, ends up being his largest classifier. I understand that we still have a long way to go and I truly think that this video was both intended and done well and just also serves s a reminder of how shitty the world is right now for gay people where this small and ALMOST fair portrayal is such a success. It feels like a small victory on a road that is getting more and more tiring to tread.
I look forward to hearing more from Carly Rae. While I doubt that homosexual inclusion will be the central theme of many more of her movies I am happy to have had this experience. I hope that the video spurs many positive discussions. In any case, it seems that this girl is a friend of my community. For that...and that alone...I will listen to her music...

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