The Female Time Machine – Dr Who’s TARDIS gets to have a voice.
The other day my six year old came home from school and had evidently heard a song being sung around the ridges… Tell me what you notice about it?
Here’s a few things I noticed (and discussed with a despondent six year old):
- The men are the only ones who talk and the lyrics aren’t poetic, beautiful, wise, funny, political or in any way especially interesting;
- The women (they are named: Jordan and Pippen) are apparently part of ‘the team’, but they are silent partners – they do a lot of striding, pouting and hair-flicking;
- Austin looks young enough to be the little brother of the women he is ogling; Pitbull looks old enough to be their uncle. Creepy on both counts.
- The girl Austin talks about doesn’t respond to him when he talks to her – ie: she doesn’t want to talk to him… this doesn’t stop him from persisting rambling incoherent nonsense to her. I think if some baby-faced lad did that to one of our daughters, he’d get a stern caution about harassment.
- The men are fully clothed, the women are not.
Now in case we think that Women’s Lib has happened since that time, let’s just take have a think about some of the stories contemporary western society is telling:
So what is going on with our ideas of masculine and feminine? What are we telling our sons and daughters about how to be man and how to be woman?
It’s taken fifty years for the TARDIS (Dr Who’s time machine – always referred to as female) to become incarnated as female; for her to actually have a voice and a form. At least she’s visible, and intelligent and valued. Look at charting songs and you get a whole different picture – you get “Mm Yeah” and young women like Nicky Minaj and Lady Gaga basically selling their ‘brand’, their highly contrived, highly sexualized, marketable selves. Young men and young women are being told (informally), that we are living in a consumer world and women are on the market. Sex sells = women are sold = freedom or slavery?
Beyoncé, G.R.L and Nicky Minaj are being made out to be strong, independent women who are bold enough to say what they want… but are they really? What they wear and some of the lyrics to their songs are not about strong, independent, intelligent, beautiful women – it’s about selling songs and earning money for them and their record companies.
So what now? We need to recover a different model of ourselves before God as male and female. We need to ask ourselves what values we want for ourselves and our community.
What do we want from our artistic community – to be easy marketing fodder or to actually challenge us with stuff that is imaginative and vibrant?