Saturday, November 24, 2007
saturday song: vol 4
When I really think about it, Pat Benatar was my introduction to feminism. (You're going to have to just hear me out on this one, and yes, I am being serious.)

Like most little girls born in the late 70s/early 80s, I took far too many of my cues on what it meant to be a woman from pop music. Aside from my own family members, women like Tiffany, Madonna and Debbie Gibson were the ones responsible for teaching me what society expects from a woman, and to the best that I could figure, those things were sweetness, a pretty face, fashion sense, being fun, sexy, and either happily in love, frustrated about love, or utterly heartbroken. Unfortunately, little attention was given to traits like intelligence, independence, nobility or general badassery.

And then I found Pat Benatar.

Benatar was everything Madonna was - sexy, pretty, talented, creative - but she was something else too. That woman was fierce. Yes, she sung about love, but when she did it it was different. Angrier.

Pat Benatar showed me that being a woman don't necessarily mean hiding some of the uglier emotions such as rage, bitterness, and dissatisfaction. Furthermore, she showed that women could and should stand up for ourselves, demanding fair and appropriate treatment because it's an unfortunate truth that some men are "heartbreaker(s), dream maker(s), love taker(s)," but if and when I stumble upon one of these sorts I need not take their abuse. Instead of being sweet, understanding and "standing by my man" I could stand up for myself.

I found the clearest representation of this point in "Love is a Battlefield", and as corny as the video looks today just try watching that moment when she reaches her breaking point and leads her gang of "had it up to here" girlfriends in a coup to breakaway from their sleazy, sweaty, male oppressor (a little over three minutes in for those who like to get directly to the point) and just try not being inspired to rebel against...something.

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Blogger TFO said...

i was thrilled to see Pat a few (x2) years ago. i have most of her early albums on vinyl. in HS i called her Pat Can't-Play-Guitar but since then developed a respect and fondness for her.

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