Home > rayne > Surprise! Lena Dunham’s Wrong. Again.

Surprise! Lena Dunham’s Wrong. Again.

September 1st, 2015

For about five seconds, I was really into Lena Dunham. I binge watched Girls like it was my job. I ate up every interview Lena gave like it was the last reading material in existence in all of the universe. I even defended Lena’s childhood experiences because all kids experiment with all the facts of life, from clothing choices, to being a dick, to sex, whether it’s with friends or siblings. It’s just a fact of life. And honestly, where would you be without the experimenting you did as a child?

Then she stuck her nose in world issues she clearly doesn’t know much about–because feminism!–and I was instantly turned off. I mean, her heart’s in the right place, and I suppose I should be considering that, but when sex workers said, “Hey, we’re not all being forced. Some of us chose this and actually enjoy it. And really, your way is problematic because it makes sex work more dangerous for those of us who are in it because we want to be,” Lena basically ignored their existence, refused to hear their truth, because she has an agenda, and their truth doesn’t jibe with her agenda. And that’s gross. You can’t protect one group’s rights by erasing another group’s truth. That’s not how ‘equality’ is supposed to work.

So now, because feminism, Lena’s got a problem with Justin Bieber’s new song.

And for a second, I was with her. All, “Fuck yeah. Why are we glorifying women feeling pressured into doing things they don’t want to do? I thought Justin Bieber was claiming that he realized what a douche he was and is trying to be better?” Then I listened to the song, because these days, I like to know what I’m outraged about before ranting about it. And I guess I’m not surprised that Lena totally missed the mark.

Here are the lyrics, for those who don’t want to torture their ears with Bieber. (I don’t blame you. I didn’t want to, either.)

What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
When you don’t want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
Said we’re running out of time
Trying to catch the beat make up your mind
What do you mean?
Better make up your mind
What do you mean?
You’re so indecisive of what I’m saying
Don’t want us to end where do I start
First you wanna go left and you want to turn right
First you up and you’re down and then between

Ohh I really want to know…

When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
What do you mean?
But you tell me to go
Said we’re running out of time
What do you mean?
Better make up your mind
What do you mean?
You’re overprotective when I’m leaving
Trying to compromise but I can’t win
You wanna make a point but you keep preaching
You had me from the start won’t let this end
First you wanna go left and you want to turn right
Wanna argue all day make love all night
First you up and you’re down and then between
Ohh I really want to know…
What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes
What do you mean?
When you don’t want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
Said we’re running out of time
What do you mean?
Better make up your mind
What do you mean?

So okay, Justin’s being a little passive aggressive. He’s telling her she’s running out of time to make up her mind, and she “better” make up her mind, but ultimately, the lyrics say, “You’re sending me mixed signals. I want to make you happy but I don’t get it. Explain.” It’s not glorifying the fact that the woman the song is about feels pressured to say yes when she wants to say no. In fact, it’s outright saying it’s problematic that she’s saying yes when she means no.

Honestly, the lyrics, in and of themselves, are a very good thing, I think, because the song is an obvious attempt to better understand the woman so that Justin doesn’t do the wrong thing. Justin is admitting he’s getting it wrong, and admitting that he doesn’t know why, and asking for her to set him straight so he can get it right. This is an obvious swerve from the typical pop/hip hop attitude of, “If she’s not sure, I’ll just talk her into it/drug her/take it.”

(And fuck you, Lena, for making me feel like I need to defend anything Justin Bieber does.)

But that’s where the good ends.

I watched the video, because they’d made a big deal of Justin releasing it at the VMAs (which I watched because Miley, and loved…even Kanye’s speech was good if you ignore the Kanye-to-Christ comparison and his presidential bid for 2020), so I figured I’d see what all the hype was about. And I just want to ask…what the fuck were they thinking? Seriously.

The opening scene (because I know some of you didn’t watch it) is Justin meeting John Leguizamo under a streetlight like they’re making a shady deal of some sort. John asks Justin if Justin has “what’s mine,” and Justin hands John a thick wad of cash.

Justin says, “Promise me the girl won’t get hurt.” and my blood ran cold. Which, of course, is the reaction they’re going for.

John responds, “You play with fire, and you might get burned,” and hands Justin a Zippo.

Justin leaves. Apparently, the prospect that the woman might get hurt isn’t a big enough issue to deter him.

Justin goes to the woman’s place, and they get into an argument, I think? While they’re engaged in foreplay, maybe? And then three dudes wearing masks break in, put a hood over Justin and his girl’s heads.

Next we see Justin lighting the trunk of a car to comfort his girl with the Zippo John gave him. Then they’re on the top floor of a warehouse or something. Justin asks if she trusts him, and they jump to the safety of…a rave, maybe? Or a skateboard party? Both? Lol. I don’t fucking know, kids are weird.

I’m sure that I’m missing all sorts of pop culture references in this video because I just don’t pay enough attention to pop culture to ‘get it’ anymore. I mean, I pay just enough attention to know who people like Justin Bieber and John Leguizamo are, and that’s it.

That’s not me saying pop culture junkies are anything people say about pop culture junkies. You like what you like, man, and that’s totally okay. I just don’t really care. I watch movies and forget the punchline five minutes after I turn them off unless I watch them a thousand times. Maybe that makes me weird. Or old. I’m okay with both.

But dude. DUDE. Fake kidnapping your girlfriend to make her trust you, or make up her mind, or whatever the fuck he was hoping to accomplish…it’s not okay. It’s just not.

I’ve heard of some weird entrances to parties; asinine attempts to keep the location secret and avoid attention from police and/or parents. But, like…if you know what’s going to happen, you fucking tell your friends or partners so they’re not convinced they’re going to die.

I mean, don’t you?

Anyway…that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  1. September 2nd, 2015 at 18:21 | #1

    I would never have given this song a second thought without this post. Thanks for the thought to chew on

  2. Heaven
    September 17th, 2015 at 20:21 | #2

    Now I am going to have to really pay attention to this video next time it comes on the TV. I was wondering what the heck he was talking about but never really watched or listened to the words like that.

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