Since reading this essay a few weeks ago, I've thought about it a lot. That might be because Fiona is my soul sister (like her, I'm a nerdy feminist Hot 97 addict who feels kind of guilty about listening to misogynist lyrics for hours and hours every day), but it might be because her essay is interesting and original. Do I just identify with Fiona, or is her essay truly fascinating? Read on and decide!
"Running booty, running booty/ right there, and I ain’t goin’ nowhere/ running booty, running booty/ go for me, go for me, go for me!" starts my favorite song of the moment. The lyrics are rapidly rasped, sung, and yelled over an unrelentingly fast and bass-heavy beat that knocks like a robust and energetic mechanical heart. The song is a rarity on the internet; you’re more likely to find it in an overcrowded club in the back streets of New Orleans blaring live from the speakers than on any blog. Around the artist, you’re just as likely to find a large group of young women dancing in a manner so sexual that its legality seems dubious at best. In short, the track is the pinnacle of “lose-yourself-in-the-beat” perfection. The only problem with my choice is that I’m a middle-class female nerd living in the suburbs.
In fact, my love for this genre essentially contradicts every single ethical conviction I have. The genre is almost exclusively performed in New Orleans, a city rich in varied musical tradition, and is a call and response rap genre characterized by aggressively sexual lyrics urgently delivered over a rhythmic and rapid beat. The paradox of my love stems from the fact that I am a committed feminist (or egalitarian, as I prefer to call myself) and feel my indignant little heart cry injustice when seeing videos of girls dancing to this music. I am convinced of the fact that they would all be happier as liberated women, free from the slavery of conforming to roles prescribed by a patriarchal society. Another problem is that I am a self-professed member of the legions of pretentious “indier-than-thou” music crusaders and ordinarily select my music from a carefully curated selection of British minimalist rock, synth-heavy haze tracks, or 50’s inspired melt pop.
However, maybe my love for bounce music is a profession that I really don’t want to take myself too seriously and that my appreciation for good music transcends my concerns about my self-image. I like to think it shows that I can find beauty in any culture, no matter how odd, despite the apparent incompatibility with my lifestyle. After all, if my favorite publication, The New York Times Magazine, can document the phenomenon in an unbiased manner and allow it to enrich its already vast stores of knowledge, why can’t I? I will continue to let my life be enriched by the paradoxical relationship between Bounce music and [me]; despite the fact that if a girl with hipster-approved bangs and the Gap clothes walked through a late-night Bounce club crowd in New Orleans singing along with the lyrics, she’d never be taken seriously.
What do you think of Fiona's essay? (If you need a soundtrack while composing your feedback, try this.)
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