Young women like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift provided much of 2008s pop spark
As the more significant stories of a historic election and disastrous economic collapse unfolded,the buzz in the background was often generated by undone ingenues and excitable tweens,from Lindsay Lohan and the Spears sisters to the fans behind the Jonas Brothers and Twilight. In a moribund year for pop,young women provided much of the spark.
Katy Perry released the most talked-about single,the bi-lascivious I Kissed a Girl. Jordin Sparks had the sleeper with her Chris Brown duet,No Air. Miley Cyrus transcended her Hannah Montana character with Breakaway. Taylor Swift crossed genres with Fearless.
The authority these fledgling artists claim is a great sign of feminisms ripple effects. Swift might play a princess in many of her songsthe best parts of Fearless meditate on the princess myth and how reality subverts itbut in the studio shes her own boss,writing and producing those fairy tales.
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Some women,like Britney Spears or Ashlee Simpson,have married and become mothers at an age when their grandmas were burning their bras. Others are embracing the beauty myth through breast enhancements. If young women suspect feminism itself might be a trap,theyre feeling no safer on the other side of it. Courage in the face of risk,and an overwhelming vulnerability,vie with hopefulness in the music of these teens.
Its the same blend thats made Twilight such a powerful franchise. Bella Swans erotically charged chastity recalls the sexiness Sparks embodies,pulling back from Brown in the video for No Air. Her belief in a stupidly risky love is as pitiful as the crack in Swifts voice as she mourns her own Prince Charming in White Horse.