5 Songs That Irritate the Activism In Me

When you spend a lot of time discussing and reading about social issues, entertainment is no longer viewed through the same lens. Sometimes overhearing the most seemingly benign pop song will irritate me, and I’m off on a rant…

Gif of Jess from "The New Girl" saying "I hope you like feminist rants 'cause that's kinda my thing."

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you
I picked you out, I shook you up
And turned you around
Turned you into someone new
Now five years later on you’ve got the world at your feet
Success has been so easy for you
But don’t forget it’s me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too.

She has ended their romantic relationship, and now he’s threatening her career and economic security? Sounds like a really Nice Guy™.

Centerfold – J. Geils Band

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

Sorry if her career as a model tarnishes your precious memories of her purity and innocence, buddy.

Vogue – Madonna

Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine
Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rogers, dance on air
They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you

Thanks, Madonna, I didn’t know that all fashionable people were white. (Does Rita Hayworth count?)

Sara Smile – Hall & Oates

Sara, smile
Oh, won’t you smile awhile for me, Sara
Sara, smile
Oh, won’t you smile awhile, Sara

Maybe Sara has had a long day. Maybe she’s in a serious mood. Maybe she’s tired. Maybe she just doesn’t want to smile! Maybe her life doesn’t revolve around what face you’d like her to have. STOP TELLING WOMEN TO SMILE.

Help – The Beatles

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

This is like an ode to codependency. Sounds like an unhealthy relationship. Why is he begging his significant other for help when he should be looking for help himself? Why is it their responsibility? Sounds like he needs a phone directory and not a partner.

What pop song lyrics irritate you?

7 replies on “5 Songs That Irritate the Activism In Me”

“Maybe Sara has had a long day. Maybe she’s in a serious mood. Maybe she’s tired. Maybe she just doesn’t want to smile! Maybe her life doesn’t revolve around what face you’d like her to have. STOP TELLING WOMEN TO SMILE.”

I literally had someone sing this song to me while I was working at the asscrack of dawn at a coffee bar. MAYBE SARA JUST WANTS YOU TO TAKE YOUR COFFEE AND GO.

There are two at the moment that I really just hate.

The first is Blurred Lines for obvious reasons, but what kills me about the song is that the beat is so goddamn catchy. The part of my brain that responds to melody will start bopping along before the rest of my brain catches up and yells, “No. NO. Bad. Switch stations. All this takes place in literally two seconds, but it’s enough to piss me off.

The second is that Hunter Hayes song, “I Want Crazy”

Yeah, I don’t want easy, I want crazy
Are you with me baby? Let’s be crazy

I read it as ableist and just so damn wrong on so many levels.

This sort of feeling happens to me ALL THE TIME.

What’s worse when it’s a song that everyone always loves to sing along with when it comes on.

Like “Come On Eileen.”

“Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear what he means
Aah, come on let’s
Take off everything
That pretty red dress
Eileen (tell him yes)
Aah, come on let’s
Aah, come on Eileen”


That just screams of sexual coercion and, probably, rape. So yeah. NO.

And don’t get me started on “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.

“You don’t know you’re beautiful (Oh),
If only you saw what I can see,
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately ([Harry:] desperately),
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe,
You don’t know,
Oh oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,
Oh oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,
Oh oh,

That’s what makes you beautiful”

So, a woman who is insecure about her looks, isn’t appearing to be trying to be beautiful, but somehow manages to perfectly fit ideals of feminine beauty? Yeah, uh. For one, buddy, you can’t be conventionally beautiful without spending a lot of time on it, even if it’s just knowing how to apply makeup and do your hair according to the conventions. And for two, I find it incredibly shitty that women are constantly told that they HAVE to be conventionally beautiful- but demeaned if they seem to “focus” too much on it- or even if they are proud of how they look.

Nope, she’s gotta be insecure and shit! THAT’S WHY SHE’S BEAUTIFUL


I know it is soooo bad. It is completely the opposite of what you want to tell teenage girls. *faceplam*

Every breath you take by the Police is also a good one. I don’t know whether to laugh or the cry when I hear it. It should have been the soundtrack of a Twilight movie. Or, you know, maybe for a Fifty Shades of Grey movie? Anyway, Sting told that it is about a stalker, so the creepyness is validated.

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