Wednesday, June 11, 2008

counting

21 job applications,
14 follow-up calls,
2 interviews,
and one shittastic job offer.

Say hello to Papa John's' newest delivery girl.

Hey, I'm not complaining. It's a job, yo. Though whether it'll pay enough to leave a profit after gas prices is still unknown.

~~*EDIT*~~
So, this lady from Pizza Hut called me Friday and asked if I was still looking for a job, and I said well no, not really, I got an offer at Papa John's, and then she was all like, no, please come work for us instead, we'll pay you better and give you more hours and we just lost two drivers and WE NEED YOU! Not those exact words, but, well, you get the picture.

And she wasn't lying; I'll be getting close to 40 hours a week there, as opposed to twenty-some at PJ's, and better hourly pay too. Plus, it seems like the Pizza Hut people actually know what they're doing, unlike at PJ's (seriously, the guy told me the wrong location for the orientation. Not reassuring).

So if you wanna harass me, you'll have to call Pizza Hut instead.



P.S. I'd like to point out that I applied to a lot of places, most of which were not pizza joints. They're just the only ones that called back. XD

Sunday, June 8, 2008

applications

I have filled out seventeen job applications in the past 36 hours. That's not counting the one at the temp agency on Friday. And I'll be putting in at least one more tomorrow.

I really really hope I get a job soon.

*sigh*

Monday, June 2, 2008

action project

So, I'm smack in the middle of finals, and hating every minute of it, but I've finished my two long papers, so hopefully the hard part is behind me. This evening, I also finished the report for my "action project" for Women, Culture, and Society. It's an analysis of popular song lyrics, and the report was supposed to be 1-2 pages, but mine ended up being five and change. So I trimmed it down severely, ending up with 3.5 pages to turn in, but I really liked a lot of the stuff I had to cut, so I'm posting the full version here. Enjoy.

~*~*~*~*~*~

When picking topics for our action projects early in the term, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I chose “analysis of sexist content of popular song lyrics” off the list, mostly because I like music, but I had no idea what sort of project it was going to be. I already knew popular song lyrics were sexist; that's why I don't listen to much pop music. I figured the project would be interesting, but I didn't see it leading to any major revelations.

Long story short, I was wrong. Not about popular music, that is—it displays all sorts of sexism in all its misogynistic glory. I was wrong about the “revelation” part. I knew pop music was sexist—I'd just forgotten how sexist.

Now I'm reminded.

Since my analysis was to be of “popular” music, I decided to go to the Billboard Hot 100 list and see what was topping it this week, and I examined the lyrics of each song in the Top 10. Three of them (#3, #9, and #10) contained no significant gender content. For the rest, I have listed them in order from last to first, with a brief analysis of the gender content of each.

#8: 4 minutes - Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake
I really can't figure out what the lyrics here are talking about—the refrain calls to mind some sort of action movie (“We only got four minutes to save the world”) but the rest of the song sounds like some sort of pick-up for casual sex ([sung together] “If you want it / You come and get it.”). At least it seems to be mutually consensual, non-coercive casual sex—one singer sounds just as horny as the other. The video, on the other hand, features numerous shots of Madonna dancing in what appears to be some sort of skin-tight, flesh-colored leotard-type-thing. Seriously. Justin, meanwhile, is clad in pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a leather jacket for the duration. Three cheers for objectification! Message: Madonna is hot, and it doesn't matter what Justin Timberlake looks like, ’cause he—have we mentioned Madonna is hot?

#7: Sexy Can I - Ray J & Yung Berg
Total objectification, right there in the title—the female target (there's really no better word for it) in the song is referred to throughout as simply "Sexy." The entire song is the artist's meditation on how hot the girl is and how they should go to a motel and have sex (because he's "got a girl at the crib," so they can't go there—later in the song, it is revealed that she is also not single—what a lovely message of respect). I suppose it gets half a point because he is at least superficially asking permission ("Sexy can I hit it from the front, / then I hit it from the back."). Cripes. Message: Women are valuable only so long as they are hot and can "shake it" in a manner that turns you on.

#6: Love in this Club - Usher ft. Young Jeezy
It's your classic story of boy-goes-to-club, boy-meets-drunk-girl, boy-urges-sex-in-the-bathroom tale here. “Love” in the title is part of "make love," which translates to "have drunken sex wherever the hell we can find a place in this nightclub." The lyrics sound like they're pulled straight from an orientation lecture what not to do, ever, during a night out—don't drink too much, don't let an unknown guy get you drinks, don't leave your friends and go off with a stranger, etc.—this is exactly what he's urging the girl to do. He will not take no for an answer, and it is clearly implied that this is supposed to be flattering to the female, because obviously women want any and all attention men throw at them, no matter how sleazy. Message: It's okay guys—even if she doesn't seem interested at first, she really does want you, no matter what she says. Keep talking (and get her drunk enough) and she'll eventually have sex with you. It's cool.

#5: No Air - Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown
This song is insipid, lyrically and musically speaking, but it’s remarkable in that it features a man and a woman singing a duet about love on completely equal terms. Neither is presented as more powerful or more compassionate; there’s no good/bad or cruel/kind vibe going on; in fact, they sing the exact same lyrics throughout the song, just at different times (part of what makes it so godawfully dull, actually). Of course, it’s still firmly entrenched in the heteronormative mainstream, but it seems that is to be expected from last season's American Idol winner—there seems to be little widespread success with that kind of controversiality yet. Message: Heterosexual couples can have equal status in a relationship! Yay! (Although these two seem almost creepily dependent upon one another).

#4: Take a Bow - Rihanna
The second of two songs featuring gender content that does not demean the woman. It seems in fact to be a song of empowerment for the female protagonist, who is speaking to a cheating boyfriend, telling him in a very biting, sarcastic manner that she's through with him and it's time for him to leave. You go girl. That said, the subject's been done to death. I can name half a dozen songs in the past decade about the exact same topic. Is it not possible to write a song featuring a strong female character who is not dumping a slimy boyfriend? Message: Let him go sister, he's not worth it. (But this is your only power—dumping guys. So enjoy it while it lasts.)

#2: Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
This song is sung from the point of view of a woman who has ostensibly been in love and hurt before, and who is now apparently in a relationship of which her friends do not approve (“But I don't care what they say, I'm in love with you / They try to pull me away but they don't know the truth”). The undertone here seems to be one of abuse, or at least of an unhealthy relationship, which is only reinforced by the disturbing imagery in the refrain: “You cut me open / and I keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding love.” Message: Abusive relationships are normal and romantic. (Creeptastic.)

And finally, #1: Lollipop - Lil' Wayne
This song is one more in a slew of rather disgusting candy/sex metaphors floating around in Musicland. The entire song is a thinly veiled blatantly explicit story about a woman fellating the singer in a dance club. (Guess what the title refers to!) Probably the most disturbing part is his attitude throughout—it plays like he's doing her a favor (“So I let her lick the rapper / She she lick me like a lollipop” and, later on, “She ain’t never had a love like mine.”) Also clear is that he has control over her (“I make her bring that ass back / and she bring that ass back.”). Message:....I am so disgusted right now.

Conclusion: I like to talk about music. Correction: I like to argue about music (in a friendly manner, of course). And I know some people with abhorrent taste in music. Now, when I say I don’t listen to their favorite artists, I’ll have a better reason than simply saying, “They suck.” (Even though they do.) Music tastes vary, and I mainly quit listening to Top 40 radio because of the music itself—I found it bland and boring to listen to—but some people don't care about that, or (for some inscrutable reason) actually like it, so my argument as to why it’s bad falls apart right there. But when the lyrics have blatantly, disgustingly, over-the-top sexist content (or even not so blatant), I have another (and much better) argument as to why such music is not, in fact, harmless. I know people who are compassionate, progressive-minded individuals, but who listen to (and enjoy) some of the music I looked at for this project, unthinkingly consuming it because it was on the radio, because it was popular. Now, I know people’s music tastes don't change on a dime, but hopefully if I point out the kind of messages these lyrics are imparting, I can at least get some people to think about the trash they're allowing into their heads, and make them a little more conscious of the kind of society we're living in, where such garbage is rewarded with obscene wealth and fame. I probably won’t single-handedly ban Lil’ Wayne from ever recording music again, but if I can at least make people think about what they’re doing, well, it's a step in the right direction, anyway.