Monday, November 20, 2006

Pink!

Maybe it's just my headspace right now, but Pink is really rocking my world. I've always liked and respected her, but her latest album, I'm Not Dead, is truly a work worthy of note. It includes at least four or five different styles from pop to hip hop to blues to folk. She's always been incredibly versatile. Her video, "Stupid Girls," has created a little controversy over her criticism of some very visible celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, as well as a few others you're sure to recognize. Pink's been called out for this video because it's not like she doesn't pull out the sex card when it suits her, so who is she to talk? To that charge Pink answers, "I didn't write the song to win a popularity contest. I did it to spark a discussion. … My point is, sexy and smart are not oil and water—and that you don't have to dumb yourself down to be cute...I don't think any of these [young Hollywood starlets] are actually stupid. I think it's an act. It makes you less challenging as a female to act really cute." (Oprah April 10, 2006) So the point isn't the amount of skin you show or gyrating your hips, because I actually thought we got over that back when Elvis did it, but the airhead act so many of these women put on. I mean, when we have Paris Hilton saying, “I don't really think, I just walk" and Lindsay reflecting, “Sometimes being that thin doesn't look healthy. I kind of didn't realize that" and Jessica Simpson's very bright "You've done a nice job decorating the White House," upon being introduced to Interior Secretary Gale Norton while touring the White House (more gems here), you can't help but notice the flagrant flaunting of stupidity. Here's the video, if you haven't seen it (click to play):



You won't usually find me bashing women of any kind, so don't misunderstand me, nor Pink. I can't speak for her and don't want to, she clearly does that for herself. But as for me, I am strongly opposed to the idea that women need to project an image of fluffy-headed coquettishness in order to be accepted or sexy. Even the title of the song emphasizes both the dumb act as well as the infantilizing (calling grown women "girls") effect such behavior has on women. The video's message isn't so much against the idea of women being sex objects, and this is where I part ways with Pink. I think she may be working under the common "sex-positive" feminist idea that women should be free to be sex objects if it works for them, but that's not all they should be projecting. The problem with objectification is that in order for a person to be objectified the whole idea that they might be a real human being with an intelligent mind, emotions, a spirit, a soul, a future and a past kind of has to be erased, at least temporarily, while the objectification is going on. Forward thinking feminists working in the arena of female sexuality have to tiptoe a vast field of landmines, and it's no easy task to overcome the patriarchal outposts in one's own head, much less anyone else's perception of what they are trying to put out there as art. Still, we're all a bunch of contradictions, so whatever. I appreciate her willingness to be real. We're all works-in-progress. I just identify with much of what Pink is putting out there, even when I disagree with her.

Pink's life and music are very aptly represented by the 7 of Wands, the rebel of the tarot deck. At 5'3 with blue eyes, and now pink tinged hair, Pink was born on September 8th 1979 and named Alecia Moore. "I was extreme... from skateboarder to hip-hopper to rave child to lead singer of a rock band-- I did it all, and all at the same time." At the age of 13, Pink met a popular Philly club dancer named Skratch, who she started dancing with. This led to her singing backup in his rap group, Schools of Thought. By the time she was 14, Pink had penned her first song. Songwriting became a way for the future R&B/pop singer to express her feelings and thoughts on her Philly childhood and adolescent experiences, in a therapeutic way. One of her favorite pastimes, going to clubs, became part of her start in the music industry. She would frequent Club Fever every Friday night, where she eventually was given a 5-minute spot. Although Pink was sometimes boo-ed while on stage, she used the negativity as more fuel to the fire of her ambition. "I decided at 15 that I didn't want to be one of those artists that gets up and sings love songs they don't mean," Pink explained in regards to her debut album. "I decided that I was going to be me to the fullest extent, that my songs were going to reflect relationships I've had, things I've been through, and even the stuff I'm embarrassed about." It was at her regular Friday night five minute slot that a rep from MCA spotted and asked Pink to audition for Basic Instinct. Although the group didn't come to much Pink wasn't disappointed as she confessed that she didn't 'see myself as belonging to any group.'

Individualistic is the word I keep thinking as I read about her and her approach to life. While it's true that sometimes the 7 of Wands can indicate someone with a chip on their shoulder, an angry defensiveness, a kind of "it's me against the world" manner, it also indicates a winner who battles the odds and comes out on top. Seeing the figure stand on that hilltop with just his courage and one wand against six, I can just hear him say, "Bring it!" Sevens in tarot, as I mentioned in my last post, are a solitary, "dreamer" number. In the sevens, the individual is thinking, dreaming, wishing, planning, and acting alone by their own lights. Wands are the suit of fire and energy, creativity and action that furthers one's goals. The image on the right conveys this elemental symbolism nicely. It is the Seven of Wands in a deck created for the computer tarot program, Orphalese, called the Michael Whelan Tarot. The powerful dragon is the formidable opponent, but the ball of fire in his hands is the magic that protects him and allows him to see his mission through to completion.
As the card suggests victory against all odds, it's rarely a negative card. Well, except when it shows you're just being defensive and antagonistic and paranoid. You might think everyone's out to get you, but maybe that hoard just came to invite you to a party. Ok, probably not, but this attitude can get in your way if you're fighting when there's no need to fight, so look to the other cards to see if you need to adopt this strong a defensive position or not. In many decks the fighter is in a higher position than his opponents, implying that his is the higher moral position as well. Standing for something important to you, even if it means being unpopular or seen as a rebel or renegade, is something born of deep moral fiber. In the Rider Waite Smith deck the figure is wearing two different kinds of footwear: a boot and a slipper. A boot can kick ass, but a slipper? What was he thinking when he got dressed that morning? A slipper is more flexible and allows the wearer to feel the ground under his feet. The two different shoes show that the fighter is well prepared for anything his flexibility will allow him to use various means to accomplish his goal.

Likewise, Pink can sometimes come across as angry and in-your-face. However, her position, her stance, comes from some pretty strong convictions within her own sense of morality and identity. She is also very flexible, able to cross music genres with ease. If you watch her interviews, she also seems very at ease with herself, not defensive really, and very able to roll with the punches. It doesn't mean she doesn't feel the pain when she gets hit. I doubt the guy in the Seven of Wands will come out of this altercation completely unscathed either. But come out alive and still on top he will. Though we might see him next in the 9 of Wands, injured and self-protected, this is a hill he has chosen to die on, which means he likely won't face defeat.

2 comments:

Suzi said...

I'm 56 and love Pink's attitude, too! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Great article! The 7 of Wands will have gained another perspective in my use of Tarot.

Ginny said...

I love the 7 of Wands. This is the standing up for oneself card, standing alone in defense of a cause. It takes a lot of courage to do this and the stronger you feel about something, the more likely you will win the fight, even if it is six against one.

And Pink just rocks. Period. :)

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