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Pussycat Dolls

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Lecture 6 Additional
What to make of PCD?

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Pussycat Dolls

  1. 1. What to make of the Pussycat Dolls: Girl Power? Double Standards for Men? Eric C. Thompson (SC2220: Gender Studies)
  2. 2. Traditional Themes of Feminism and Gender Studies: <ul><li>Double Standard for Women: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The “Madonna/whore” complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patriarchal culture expects women to be both chaste (Madonna – the ‘virgin Mary’) and sexually available/promiscuous (whore); creating a difficult double standard for women to follow. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objectification of Women as Sex Objects. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The “male gaze” as agent of objectification. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oppression of women by patriarchal culture. </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Third Wave” Feminism <ul><li>From 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction to “Second Wave” Feminism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Largely assumes that women do have or should have equal status. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejects the de-feminized and de-sexualized image of “bra-burning feminists” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Represented in Popular Culture by the Spice Girls as a “Girl Power” Pop Group. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example “Wanna Be” (“If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends…”; Priority of girlfriends over boyfriends.) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Pussycat Dolls <ul><li>“ Girl Power” Group, very much in the mold of Spice Girls (but taken to a greater extreme?). </li></ul><ul><li>About the PCD (according to Wikipedia): </li></ul><ul><li>Formed as a Burlesque Troupe, 1995-2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Gained notoriety after 1999 Playboy pictorial. </li></ul><ul><li>Re-cast as Musical Group, 2003-Present. </li></ul><ul><li>Debut Album (PCD): 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Second Album (Doll Domination): 2008. </li></ul>
  5. 7. “ Don’t Cha ” (PCD’s First Hit Single) <ul><li>“ I know you like me. I know you do. That’s why whenever I come around, she’s all over you… And I know you want it. It’s easy to see. And in the back of your mind, I know you should be f*** me.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me… a freak like me… fun like me” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fight the feeling. Leave it alone. ‘Cause if it ain’t love, it just ain’t enough to leave a happy home…” </li></ul>
  6. 8. “ StickWitU ” (Second Hit Single) <ul><li>Chorus: “Nobody gonna love me better. I must stick with you forever. Nobody gonna take me higher. I must stick with you.” </li></ul><ul><li>The lyrics suggest a sexually intimate (heterosexual?) couple. (“We’ll be making love endlessly. I’m with you. Baby, I’m with you.”) </li></ul><ul><li>The video portrays an intimate (but not sexual) friendship among the women in the group – especially overcoming struggles and having a long history together. </li></ul>
  7. 9. “ Beep ” (with will.i.am) <ul><li>will.i.am: “It’s funny how a man only thinks about the (beep). You got a real big heart, but I’m lookin’ at your (beep). You got a real big brain, but I’m lookin’ at your (beep)…” </li></ul><ul><li>PCD: “I don’t give a (beep). Keep lookin’ at my (beep)… Every boy’s the same, since I been in the seventh grade. They’ve been trying to get to me. Trying to hahaha, hahaha…. I keep turning them down… You’re too aggressive.” </li></ul>
  8. 10. “ Buttons ” (with Snoop Dog) <ul><li>“ I’m telling you loosen up my buttons baby. But you keep fronting. Say what you going to do to me. But I see nothing…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Typical. Hardly the type I fall for.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You say you’re a big boy but I can’t agree. ‘Cause the love you said you had ain’t been put on me.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I can see that just like most guys your game don’t please.” </li></ul>
  9. 11. “ I Don’t Need A Man ” (Self-explanatory) <ul><li>“ I see you looking at me. Like I got something for you. And the way that you stare. Don’t you dare. ‘Cause I’m not about to, just give it on up to you.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t need a man to make it happen. I get off being free. I don’t need a man to make me feel good. I get off doing my thing. I don’t need a ring around my finger to make me feel complete. So let me break it down. I can get off when you ain’t around.” </li></ul>
  10. 12. “ Wait A Minute ” (with Timbaland) <ul><li>Timbaland: “Girl, why you do me like that? You take all my money, can’t even call a player back?” </li></ul><ul><li>PCD: “Boy, why you trippin’ like that? You think cause you’re tricking you get it just like that? . . . Baby please, I’m fine, I’m not one of these hoes. Chasing dreams not diamond rings. So don’t call me no more . . .” </li></ul><ul><li>End of song… PCD: “See I don’t want your money. . . Wait a minute. Uh, yeah, you can give me that back.” (Keeps the keys to the Cadillac.) </li></ul>
  11. 13. PCD Themes <ul><li>Masculinity; Men are… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Useless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interested only in sex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too aggressive AND Not aggressive enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expected to please and provide for women </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sexuality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women can get what they want through sex/desirability. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Men should please women sexually (but women need not please men). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive portrayals of aggressive female sexuality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative portrayals of aggressive male sexuality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overcoming the “male gaze” (that objectifies women). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asserting the “female tease” (as a form of power)? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. PCD Themes (Cont.) <ul><li>“ Girl Power” Bonding (most notably in the odd disconnect between the lyrics and video for “StickWitU”) </li></ul><ul><li>Female-Female Competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Hoes” give men sexual satisfaction in exchange for material things; PCDs just take without “giving it up” (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneously deriding and empathizing with the “not hot” girlfriend (“Don’t Cha”) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Gynearchal” Double Standards for Men? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Aggressor/Loser” Complex? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Men as sexual subjects (agents; seeking what they desire) are rejected as aggressors/predators (e.g. “Beep”); men who are not aggressive enough when a woman desires it are losers (e.g. “Buttons”). </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. What to make of the Pussycat Dolls? <ul><li>So what, it’s just a pop group? (True; just like “Advertising doesn’t effect me!”) </li></ul><ul><li>Is the “Double Standard” a big deal? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some think so… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warren Farrell ( The Myth of Male Power ) has argued since the 1980s that men, not women are “oppressed”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less extreme, Susan Faludi ( Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man ) argues that post-feminist America sends confused, conflicting messages to men and provides no positive models of masculinity for them to follow. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 16. What to make of the Pussycat Dolls? <ul><li>Is the Double Standard a big deal? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On the other hand… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place PCD in a broader context of R&B/Rap/Pop and broader American/Western pop culture. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rap is dominated by masculine sexuality (having enough “bling” to get sex from “hoes”). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PCD’s assertive sexuality can be seen as one way to deal with the excessive power of the “male gaze” (by leveraging the “female tease”). </li></ul></ul>
  15. 17. What do you think? <ul><li>Post your thoughts, comments, reactions to the course Wiki (under Lecture 6): </li></ul><ul><li>http://sc2220.wetpaint.com/page/What+to+make+of+PCD%3F </li></ul>

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