S&M and Women in Music

I’m a Top 40 girl, always have been. I lived for those noon-hour sock-hops in high school, and still, I love to dance the night away.

Music played an enormous part in my emotional & social development. Despite the “no boyfriends, no makeup, no parties” rules my Tiger parents enforced, being able to discuss the deeper meanings of Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach or Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You, showed the cooler kids that there was more to me than my flute. In Grade 9, I would spend hours with my ear cocked to my favourite station (CKLG 73), index and middle fingers poised over the PLAY and RECORD buttons on my AM/FM/Cassette player, ready to launch into action should Madonna’s Borderline hit the airwaves. And if I was really in the groove, I would record it perfectly, without any of that inane DJ jabber. I would try to dress like Madonna in her Lucky Star video, carefully so not to draw my parents’ ire and argue with my sisters about which one of us would get to marry John Taylor of Duran Duran. I spent countless hours playing my tapes back and forth, meticulously deciphering the lyrics so that I could sing them gleefully while dancing. Music was my happy place.

Now that I’m much, much older, music still moves me. But there are some who would argue that my tastes haven’t matured in accordance with my age. My husband chides me for my so-called teeny-bopper taste in music. But I beg to difffer – Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Pink, Ke$ha – these ladies sing some of my favourite anthems! Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream has actually propelled me up the legendary Grouse Grind. Sometimes after a hard day of skiing, you will find me rocking out at Buffalo Bills, singing at the top of my lungs (without a microphone, thank goodness!)
You.make.me
Feel like I’m living a
Teen.age.dream
The way you turn me on
I.can’t.sleep
Let’s run away and don’t ever look back

Great music moves me and transforms me into a dancing dervish, and I love how that makes me feel. Better than Botox, anyday.

But now, there is an incredible new song that I love and frankly, I’m aghast. Rihanna’s new S&M song is great dance music. Even the lyrics, while jaw-dropping, showcase a powerful woman Betty Friedan would be proud of, but when Ri-Ri showed up at the Grammys in a sheer dress that showcased her butt crack, I had to begin to worry about the legions of not-yet women she is influencing.

Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But chains and whips excite me.

Oh, I love the feeling you bring to me
Oh, you turn me on
It’s exactly what I’ve been yearning for
Give it to me strong
And meet me in my boudoir
Give my body some AHH, AHH, AHHHH,
I like it, like it

While her 42 year old fans might be able to appreciate those powerful (and explicit!) words, I’m uncomfortable with the fact that her younger fans have Rihanna as a role model for what is womanhood. I grew up on Bananarama’s Cruel Summer and The Go-Go’s Our Lips are Sealed, and really, that wasn’t that long ago!

It could be argued that every generation has their controversial star(s), and the controversy only served to make them hotter. We had Madonna who wore a rosary while dancing in front of burning cross in Like A Virgin and my mom had Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips that were deemed too hot for television. Are the overtly sexual lyrics and outfits just part of Rihanna’s global marketing strategy? Or should we be more concerned about Rihanna’s ample assets negatively impacting girls’ self esteem as they go through their formative teenage years? And what does Rihanna and her fellow female artists teach boys about women and sexuality? Suddenly, music doesn’t seem so safe anymore.

I’ve switched to an easy-listening station while I muddle this one through. Although the Kings of Leon are probably talking about the same thing as Rihanna with Sex Is On Fire, at least they keep their pants on.
Love Lucie

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I ♥ Vancouver

Being a born and raised Vancouverite, I’d like to share my top 10 favourite things about my fair city:

1) The coffee – you really can get really good coffee on every corner in the city – Delaney’s, Artigiano’s, Bean Around the World, Mink – yum! I don’t even drink coffee, but I love all that free Wi-Fi!
2) The sunshine – people showing some shin on sunny days, even when, like today, it’s below zero outside. I know we Canucks are hardy folks, but when you grow up in a rain-forest, you take every chance for natural Vitamin D you can get.
3) The rain – don’t knock the rain, it keeps the grass greener and your lungs cleaner.
4) The hard bodies – people are really into fitness here – disc-golfers, gym buffs, boot campers, rock climbers, yogis, Grouse Grinders, long boarders, roller hockey enthusiasts – you can’t help but bump into a tight body wherever you go! Hello Vancouver’s sons, Ryan Reynolds, Joshua Jackson and Mayor Gregor Robertson!
5) The beaches – from Spanish Banks to Dundarave, Whytecliff to Wreck Beach – they’re where its at.
6) The celebration of diversity – people from all four corners of the earth have settled in this relatively new city, bringing with them their traditions and cultures. This means your mouth (and mind) can travel to another land as easily as crossing a street or two!
7) The food – Coast, Miku, Chambar, Rodney’s Oyster Bar, Japadog and my beloved Vij’s. Best.Foodie.City.Anywhere.
8) The world-class airport – if you do have to leave paradise for awhile, with the sparkly clean Canada Line and direct flights to everywhere from Auckland to Zurich, once you’re through security, you can get your shoes shined, have a massage and quaff a killer bottle of BC wine instead of listening to the drone of pre-boarding announcements. And you’ll only appreciate Vangroovy more once you get back.
9) The community – Thriving business community that raises millions of dollars annually for charitable causes says alot about the really smart and generous people that call this place home.
10) The mountains – being able to ski and golf (or sail) on the same day (not that I’ve done that yet, but its on my bucket list). And our little local mountains (Cypress, Grouse & Seymour) tower over that bump called Blue Mountain. AND then there’s Whistler/Blackcomb! Boo-yA!

Now I’m not sure if I did Vancouver proud with this post as I haven’t even mentioned my favourite shops (Wear Else, Moule), people-watching parks (Kits Beach) or all those cute crazy puppies out there! But I’ve lived in Toronto, Calgary, Chicago, and Winnipeg in my adult life and nothing, absolutely nothing compares to living in Vancouver, especially on a day like today!

Love Lucie