Feminism vs Feminism-Lana Del Ray and the Non Delicates

26 May 2020

Contrary to belief I did not come out of the womb a full-fledged feminist. In fact back in the day from 2011 to like 2015 I was a typical catholic school, pick-me-girl. If you had asked me back then if I was a feminist  I would have said "pfft Definitely not! eww, they are so annoying". Then I would look over to my 7th crush of the week, Carl, for his stupid approval.  Yes, I was anti-feminist for the boys, I was the actual worst. What was so special about Carl you may ask, erm well his biggest achievement back then was 6b in the maths in the end of year tests so... Anyway with help from a few "annoying" friends and a realisation that women DO deserve rights and also the understanding a 6b in maths doesn't mean anything really because standardized tests are a scam, I soon decided being a feminist was now my thing.

I don't want to blame anyone for thinking that women didn't deserve equality, but my image of feminism was angry women yelling about period blood and I wasn't a fan of it. Of course, I blame most of that image on Facebook dads and their misogyny. You know the type of men I am talking about...these were men who thought that feminism meant they could hit women now without any consequences,  


A big, however even, when I traversed the big world of feminism on my own I started to see the different dimensions and perspective on feminism. There is gold ol' productive "Everyday Feminism" Despite the mundane name I had the most respect for this group. After all, in the west, sexism is mundane. It is your work uniform policy or the fact Gary the intern is somehow earning more than you at your full-time office job, or it's someone assuming you can't finish a large Mcdonald's meal because you would much rather a salad, it was the little things. Then there is a branch of feminism I call "Binary Fission". This group of "Feminists " hate men with a passion, they genuinely hate men so much that they are working on being able to split in half like bacterium without the need for a man's help to reproduce. Just like the process of Binary Fisson. They believe that everything a man touches on this planet is the spawn of Satan. It does not help that Satan is, in fact, a dude. There is also what I personally call performative feminism but the internet has dubbed the branch "White Feminism". Feminism is in their own terms. For example, if a woman wants to be a housewife then shes wrong and is not a proper feminist. If a woman wants to express themselves sexually then that is also a no because she is giving herself to the man and that's wrong.  This branch will also try and demonstrate feminism in the most counterproductive way, such as someone who deliberately stained her pants with period blood. Yeah, it's natural and not something we should not be ashamed of, but period poverty is a far more pressing issue than whether your white trousers are stained with a bit of blood or not. These feminist also aren't happy fully dismantling the misogyny in society due to fact these feminist still benefit from it. After all, at the top of the misogyny ladder are mostly white men, so these women also in turn benefit from the preferential treatment as most likely they are white themselves. This often means throwing women of colour under the bus. Most of the time their feminism is too theatrical with no substance. It does nothing to change the world.

I would just like to quickly add that not all white women are like this, and we have a long way to go to normalise having a period, BUT staining your clothes with period blood does not exactly send that message and staining ANY clothes with blood is a massive infection hazard regardless of where the blood may have come from. (Unpopular opinion: Blood will always be gross).

Then there are "Women of colour unite" or alternatively "true feminism" (as white women can actively be a part of this group), this group works actively and twice as hard to be seen above the performative feminist because the other group is constantly fumbling the bag for them. They are much more chill and always come out with authentic hard-hitting topics.  Often times they are not only fighting for feminism but are also working against racism and prejudice, they are fighting for equality from every angle which can be exhausting. As a black woman I remember reading of Mice and Men in English Lit and I remember the teacher discussing the hierarchy of folks in society and I remember my teacher saying first it was white men, white women then Latino men and women and then black men and right the bottom was black women and that still seems to ring a little true till this day. On top of that woman of colour have to push back against cultural traditions that undermine women also. We are usually the most ignored and the most looked down upon. Some would say we benefit most from feminism, but also suffer the most from lack of thereof. 

So with that in mind, I wanted to talk about Lana Del Ray's most recent and highly controversial Instagram post and why the initial post and it's later clarifications of it pissed me off so so much.

So initially she wrote a post seemingly out the blue addressing the claims that people had critiqued her music, complaining that she glamourised abuse and as someone who has been abused and watched people around me endure the same I can really see how people would come to that conclusion, but that's not what we are here are to discuss. She also complains that her reviews where "bullshit" and continues to ramble about all the injustices done to her as a white woman who creates music. However, I completely lose sympathy for her in the first line. 

"Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce all have had number ones with songs about being sexy wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating etc- Can I please go back to singing about embodied, feeling beautiful by  being in love even if the relationship is not perfect"

It can not be ignored that all the women problematic or not are minorities with the exception of one who kinda claims to be and appears to be racially ambiguous.  All these women whether you like to hear it or not had to work twice as hard as Lana Del Ray not because their music is not great or whatever but more because they are people of colour they will constantly have to work against prejudice and will be overlooked in a mostly white ran industry (Although POC dominates the scene the reward shows, radio stations etc are run by white middle-aged men) What happened to women supporting women? Furthermore, I just find it so odd that she couldn't name more White American singers who sing about sex and drugs because I can guarantee there are more than just Ariana Grande who by the way seems to swear vehemently that she herself is not really white white, but whatever no shade to her. Each of the artists listed above also had a much more in-depth discography, far more than "Sexy clothes" and the"fucking" Lana rants about. Beyonce released Lemonade, an album that documents the emotions she felt when she was cheated on. That album went to no.1, then same way Bille Ellish's newest album sent out ripples. She is quite literally someone who is so similar to Lana, so the idea you can't go number 1 without any of that mentioned elements above, is in her own words "Bullshit". Lastly, women can write about whatever the hell they feel like! If you want to talk about sweet cute Wattpad love then do so! If you want to talk about hot steamy sex then let them do so! You can not blame these singers writing about their experience for preventing you from not getting a No.1 hit, that's simply unfair.

To add to the ridiculousness of this post she claims she isn't a feminist, but then goes to say:

"There has to be space for women who look and act like me..."

There has always been a space for white women like her in the media and it's so frustrating that she doesn't seem to see the privilege she has, and how careful she has to be with a big platform like hers because the statement she made was so irresponsible. To state you aren't a feminist knowing the struggles of women in the past and the present had already disgusted me, but then to basically go and explain what feminism is in the next line so laughable and bizarre to me. You can't eat your cake and have it, this goes back to what I was discussing about "White" feminism, they don't want to fully dismantle the oppressive structures, they only want to dismantle it a little bit so it suits them, but not enough that it helps everyone else. It is very clear in her statement she doesn't believe in the quality for ALL women she doesn't believe in bringing up all women, just women like her.

In short, she pissed me off because she does not want to accept that she has so much privilege considering her position in society, she also tried to blame POC artists for not reaching number one with her 2014 Tumblr aesthetic music, she should be working on her art and cultivating her fanbase instead of coming for other artists. She should be the change she wants to see, create that space she wants instead of pointing the finger at others who are working just as hard. Instead of just tearing people down she should be bringing herself up.

You would think it couldn't get any worse? You would think she would apologise... Nope! She instead started tearing into her fans and doubling down refusing to acknowledge where she actually went wrong in a second post. That's probably why she continues to get "bullshit" reviews and criticism. If you can't take the heat don't jump into the flame. She then referred to herself as delicate, which made me wonder. Doja cat or Nicki Minaj can be delicate if they choose to, people are multi-faceted. Which leads me to another point the masculinisation of black women, people of colour and particularly black women can be delicate, innocent and sweet the same way a white woman can be aggressive, but time and time again people look at us like sexual deviants or grown. In the eyes of some people including Lana Del Ray apparently, black women can just be soft delicate creatures like everyone else. Everyone just seems to have a 2D model of what we must be. She inferred with her statement that Nicki Minaj or Beyonce or anyone on that list couldn't be both which irritated me further. It also makes me wonder; another reason she doesn't see the success she craves because she isn't very versatile, she doesn't have what the kids call rang, this could be the reason she feels so stagnant. 

She also tried to further put her head in the sand say it wasn't a race war. Ma'am, you started the war and we named it for what it was and it did have quite a lot to do with race. For by lack of white alternatives in your little list you made the lesson very clear. The kicker was she called herself "sexually liberated" when she previously tried to shame women for releasing songs about having sex. So wat she said was "You can only be sexually liberated my way, if I am not the centre of the sexually liberated movement then you're wrong!" and her behaviour bore such resemblance to my explanation of white feminism l

In conclusion, she should have kept everyone out of her underdeveloped think, thought piece and perhaps double-checked with her PR team about the post. She also needs to get her pretentious little head out of her butt, her take isn't new or revolutionary, many people have said what she was trying to get at before, but the only difference was they did more about it than write posts with poor taste. It has made it impossible for me to respect her as an artist but also as a fellow woman, I hope she sincerely thinks about her influence and privilege, but that is unlikely as it is clear she has dug both of her heels in the ground and lastly summoning Beyonce has never been the smart thing to do. The first rule of social media is don't mention Beyonce or you'll get stung.

A final note-This my interpretation of events and you are free to disagree in fact disagree with my comment but keep it constructive and civil please and thank you! What do you think?

Bye for now 

Emmy xx

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