Saturday, April 29, 2006

Women and Luda (continued...)


This post may be a little outdated now, but I've heard responses (unprompted, I may add) from many progressive/feminist friends about the comments made by Ludacris at Monday's concert. I asked Nazneen (JE '06) to guest-blog for us about the issues... welcome, Naz, and thank you.
After a few lackluster years of forgettable Spring Fling performances, the Yale College Council finally succeeded in getting Yalies to cough up even more money for a new Student Activities Fee in hopes of getting real headliners to come to campus. Securing both Ben Folds and Ludacris for the event was a commendable accomplishment for the YCC, but the latter’s performance left something to be desired—namely, respect for women.

Standing in a sea of students at Spring Fling on Tuesday, we were one mass of “Yale.” Ludacris gave a shout out to us as students, specifically as Yalies, but by the third song, there was a change in our solidarity. Ludacris cleared his throat, and singled out the women in the crowd, "Excuse me for my language, ladies, because some find it explicit, you know...," before asking us, “but how many women here have their pussies clean? come on girls...” Visibly irritated, I looked around at the jocular response from the crowd, and only one of my girl friends standing nearby returned my “what the @#$?!” expression. One song later, the latent misogynistic aggression returned in the form of the question, posed again only to the “ladies,” “Ok, how many of you ladies are just waiting till the end of the night to get fucked hard and good? Fucked hard and good.” To this, his spinner responded over the microphone, “Well, how many of you think you’re making love for a little bit, before you really get fucked!?”

Some will say, “Well, if you didn’t like it, you should have left,” and, I did. The point, however, is not if I had the right to leave, or if Ludacris had the right to say what he will on stage. I would never question his first amendment right to inquire about the cleanliness of my genitalia, but to ignore his comments without reflection would be a missed opportunity to question our complicity in commercialized misogyny.

As 18-22 year old Yalies, we are taught the skills we need to critique society, but we still want to be “normal” kids who can operate in the “real” world. Misogyny is not just a part of rap music, but part of society more broadly, so some may say that I should just grow a thick skin and realize that this is part of what sells in popular culture. We may even assume that Ludacris himself opposes misogyny, and only capitalizes on it to make money and garner fame. Thus, we’d have a situation where Yalies and Ludacris understand that disrespecting women may be part of stage persona, but not reality.

The fact of the matter is that the dichotomy between woman as nurturer vs. woman as whore exists at all levels in our society. For me to step back and say, hey, he’s talking about the ‘other’ women, so this doesn’t affect me, the Ivy League graduate about to enter law school, is exactly the kind of first-world feminism that has provoked criticism of the movement, as well as created a fractionalized notion of sisterhood. Even if Ludacris thinks differently, what about the countless American teens and adolescents who do find themselves in relationships based on male domination and the idea of “separate spheres” in terms of sexual standards for men and women? Laughing at the fact that women might think they are equally consenting participants in sex (“think you’re making love”), but really they are in fact “getting fucked” by someone else, shows that Ludacris is not attempting in any way to be ironic or subvert the status quo by exposing sexism—he’s just perpetuating it.

It’s such a small act to point out misogyny at a rap concert, and perhaps futile as well, given the pervasive effects of such comments. But, at least to those who think feminism is outdated—think again.

If others have anything to add about other aspects of the performance (there was apparently objectionable racial commentary as well), please continue to discuss in the comments section.

16 comments:

Gina said...

If 'cris can't take the smell of a REAL woman's vagina, he can go Chinese padlock himself. I refuse to submit to the masculine notion that we ought to keep our vaginas in pristine fucking condition just in case we "get lucky". A REAL man should appreciate the REAL smell of a woman, not some fucking pussy perfume.

Matthew said...

That might be a subjective notion. There's also a distinction between a perfumed penis, a washed penis, and a smegma-encrusted penis. Which one would you define as the smell of a "REAL man's" penis? How often should I wash to maximize my manliness? Should I be worried? Whatever you consider to be "pristine fucking condition", those women who concern themselves with that notion might be offended by your assertion that they're less REAL than you. I don't think womanhood or manhood is in one's hygiene choices.

I think the offense you take to the specifics of Ludacris' comments takes us away from the fact that they would have been equally objectionable had he had been calling out asking how many women's vaginas smelled REAL.

Gina said...

Shocker of the century - another ignorant male. As you've made obviously clear, you're unaware that the female body is actually capable of CLEANING ITSELF without any external help (http://www.the-clitoris.com/f_html/hygiene.htm). I can't speak to the male body, but suffice to say that if you're using penis perfume, you should re-examine your comfortability with YOUR BODY. Consumer capitalism wants nothing more than to sell us products that we "need" in order to have a basic level of health, ignoring that we humans have outlived their stupid products for quite some time and have been doing just fine. Of course I don't want to dine on your smegma, but I also don't want to catch a waft of Axe that you think bestows some magical sexual prowess to you. It doesn't. Learn to be more erotic and how to please women without consumer aids.

Matthew said...

Gina, you're making a lot of assumptions about me. I don't know everything about the vagina, for obvious reasons, but yes, I know that it's capable of cleaning itself. But to recap, women who don't know that aren't less real than you, or less womanly. They're more ignorant, but then they may also be friendlier, so it may balance out, in the end. Same goes for men.

Please don't be so mean. I wouldn't expect a person who's comfortable stating that she "can't speak to the male body" to then call men ignorant for not being able to speak to the female body. I'm willing to learn, so don't push me away and call me names if I don't know as much as you.

That said, if you do want to call me more names, my email address is matthewstirlingvaughan at gmail dot com.

Also: You made up the word "comfortability". But I understood what you meant. I did a quick re-examination, but I think I'm comfortable enough that it won't prejudice me against your opinions. And I don't know anyone who uses penis perfume.

Gina said...

Hah! Ring ring, telephone for Gina, this is Matthew, calling you out! Come on - you know I'm just giving you a hard time to make up for centuries of gender oppression. Take it like a man!

Taylor Davis said...

Dearest Gina,

You sound hott. I would love to objectify you. Name the time, name the place, and I'll come. Bring your boobs.

With great sincerity,
Taylor Davis the Third, White Male.

PS: I shave my balls and I expect you to be shaved as well.

Michael said...

Taylor Lloyd Davis, for shame. First of all, hot is spelled with one t, and any other spelling is atrocious. Second, objectification is wrong. Bad Taylor, bad. Third, the use of come as a double entendre is pedantic. I don't even know what pedantic means, but I know when you're being pedantic. Finally, how could you invite Gina's boobs? Gina is obviously a vagina. Vaginas, according to my limited anatomical knowledge, do not have boobs.

PS: Who doesn't shave their balls?

Anonymous said...

luda means how many girls are "clean" of STDs. i mean that entails hygiene and such but i guess if you want to be a host for STDs then that's your own choice.

Anonymous said...

i thought luda was asking how many girls shave

Paul said...

everyone should read this - http://www.feminist.com/askamy/feminism/604_fem6.html - apparently Gina is one of those that Amy's reply talks about

As for Ginas posts - never mind that disabled people and blacks went through a lot worse than healthy women when it came to discrimination and suffering historically - unfortunately some women try to claim otherwise which is very offensive

I have cerebral palsy among other medical problems and the behaviour of people like "gina" really upsets me - maybe if these people knew what genuinely horrible discrimination and suffering was actually like - they would not be so free with their labels and sometimes moronic rhetoric

sabrina said...

i hereby proclaim this debate over. god help us.

Jeanne said...

Ludicris should have his mouth stapled and duct taped for being plain vulgar. And the others who laughed along? Receive lashings for tolerating his behavior. They're as bad as he is.

I salute the women who stood there and bristled at 'cris' insensitive remarks. Obviously, they have the breeding that 'cris lacks. The other women? Have they been victims for so long that they think being insulted is normal? Come on, guys and gals, we deserve better than that. Let's not get caught in the current. Just do what is right.

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eryka said...

WOW! this is one of the craziest conversations ive ever read. first of all, from a female perspective i have to say paul seems to be the one making the most sense. Yes women have been oppressed in the past but the fact that you could take something like a rapper asking if your pussy is clean and turning it all around into a misogynistic phrase when really all he was probably talking about was stds and it not stinking like a rotten egg (which despite its wonderful natural ability to clean itself can still happen sometimes...not to me of course) is a little absurd. Whether you want to believe it or not he is selling records and his public persona is different from the real person. think of him as a movie that is played out whenever he is in the spotlight. you dont get mad at movies for saying things that you dont necessarily agree with do you? no because it has the right to say it and all you have to do is not watch it...ever. dont discuss things like this that give him even more publicity....just pretend he doesnt exist! i love ludacris by the way and no matter what some women say! I cant help but be attracted to the bad boy (its ingrained into me like a lesbian likes girls or cats like other cats) so sue me call me a bad feminist even though i truly believe that any women has the right to choose whatever they want to listen to whether or not another woman agrees with it.

eryka said...

oh yea and also, c'mon you should have enough respect for yourself that it shouldnt even phase you what some rapper (that you guys are obviously not into) should say about women. and gina i dont know what the "REAL" smell of a woman is maybe but i dont think it should be stinky

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