Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Feminine mystique revisited

Posted: January 4, 2009 1:04 pm

Young women like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift provided much of 2008’s 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 feminism’s ripple effects. Swift might play a princess in many of her songs—the best parts of “Fearless” meditate on the princess myth and how reality subverts it—but in the studio she’s her own boss,writing and producing those fairy tales.

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,they’re 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.

It’s the same blend that’s made Twilight such a powerful franchise. Bella Swan’s 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 Swift’s voice as she mourns her own Prince Charming in White Horse.
ANN POWERS,LATWP

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