Friday, April 25, 2008

Suzanne Vega by Aaron Ashba

Aaron Ashba
Blog #5

After reading the assignment for this blog, one song immediately came to mind. The song I chose to discuss is “Luka” by Suzanne Vega. This song was from the album Solitude Standing released in 1987. She released a video on MTV and VH1 and this song reached #3 on the US charts.

Attached is a link to her official website with the audio and video feed:

Below are the lyrics to the song:

My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you've seen me before
If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
I think it's because I'm clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it's because I'm crazy
I try not to act too proud
They only hit until you cry
And after that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
Yes I think I'm okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that's what I'll say
And it's not your business anyway
I guess I'd like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown
Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am
My name is Luka I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you've seen me before
If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
They only hit until you cry
And after that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore

This song explains to me a story of a woman that lives in an apartment building and is ashamed by the fact she is physically abused and covers it up by false claims of accidents. This song doesn’t have a positive message per se if you were to just listen to it once, but the idea here is that it shows that women do not deserve to be abused and nor should they feel any shame or guilt from this happening to them. This is a story of a woman that has experienced a horrible thing, but is used as an example for women who have experienced the same to stand up for themselves and know they are not alone. It’s a song and message for women to bond together with their sisters in pain to unite against their abusers and their internal guilt. The lyrics are brutally honest that it really shows how a woman feels in these types of situations that it acts as a wake up call to get help. I think this song can help many people, not just women and make them aware of these types of problems are real and do exist around us.

Aaron Ashba

castle blog 4

~Alisa Castle~
The tenant of the movie “Working Girl” is that the ends justify the means. It is a movie that asks what are you willing to do to get to a position that you genuinely deserve to be in.
The main characters of this film are Tess, Katherine, Cyn, Mic, Jack. Tess works for Katherine as her secretary. Jack and Katherine were formerly dating. Cyn is one of Tess’s coworkers who also shares Tess’s social-economic culture. Mic is Tess’s boyfriend. Tess is actively trying to better her self. She comes from a blue-collar background. She is taking night classes and working on her speech so that she can fit in and move up the corporate ladder. Mic is also of a working-class background, but he does not understand Tess’s drive. Unlike Tess, Cyn is perfectly happy in her little mold and is even gently trying to hold back Tess. Cyn questions why Tess is trying to break out of her mold, and even questions Tess’s ability to achieve her goals. Katherine, on the surface, is a “outwardly affable yuppie whose grinning visage hides a wicked and larcenous propensity for exploiting the ideas of her employees” (Erickson) . She offers to mentor Tess and goes so far as to say that she would be the type of person to make sure Tess will be credited for business concepts that Tess creates. So Katherine goes on a trip and is hurt causing her to be out of the office for a while. While Katherine is gone, Tess steps into Katherine’s executive position without permission. She orchestrates a large business deal, transforming herself in the process, from working-class to executive style. As she organizes this deal, she starts collaborating with Jack and they begin an intimate relationship. When Katherine comes back, she realizes that Tess has usurped her position by orchestrating a tremendously successful deal, taking her man and on some level even becoming a better “Katherine”. It all comes to a head when Katherine points out that Tess is only a secretary. Tess is fired from her job and Katherine tries to take credit for Tess’s success. It is eventually discovered that the business deal was Tess’s idea, that she does have the capability regardless of her background. This recognition allows Tess to be hired as a junior manager at Jack’s company allowing her to continue working her way up the corporate ladder, as well as allowing the couple’s relationship to grow.
This film deals with gender by showing a variety of women. First we see a woman in power who is a lying, manipulative b*tch. Next it shows a woman who is content to stay where she is: the character of Cyn shows a limited model of women’s experience as she does “not consciously view [themselves] as part of an oppressed group seeking liberation” (Christ 8). The most positive female image is Tess because she believes in herself. Yet this is really not that positive as she has to lie, cheat and steal to reach her goals. As a whole, this film shows both positive and negative representations. The positive is that if you work, you will eventually have the opportunity to prove yourself.
I really don’t consider this a feminist film. Now that I think about it, it shows women in a limited stereotypical light: the powerful b*tch, the contented peon, and the underhanded heroine. All of these women find their meaning, not necessarily in themselves, but in their comparisons to the men.
I enjoyed the movie, but it is funny as now that I am analyzing it I wonder why as it is quite negative. Other than the one aspect of the character who, by negative means, comes to the point that she can possible move forward.
This movie relates to my experience as I have seen a lot of b*tchy women in power and I have seen a lot of people who are afraid of where they think society expects them to be. In my field of IT, women are not usually thought of as executive material, therefore, like Tess, I have had to believe in myself and prove my skills repeatedly. Unlike Tess, I don’t believe in lying and cheating and stealing when proving myself!

Christ, Carol P. “Preface.” Womenspirit Rising. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Erickson, Hal. “Working Girl Synopsis”. (

“Working Girl.” Dir. Mike Nichols. Distrib. 20th Century Fox. Released December 21, 1988.

~Alisa Castle~

Castle - Blog 3

~Alisa Castle~
Sexist Ad
This is a series of photos that were taken at an IT tradeshow wherein Kodak was advertising. It is not a print-ad per say, it is more of an advertising stunt. I know that sex is supposed to sell but this exploit is certainly not going to win over this IT professional. Instead, this ad has prompted my protest in which I will not purchase Kodak products. The offensive advertisement takes advantage of every stereotype and cliché. They take a young, blonde, fit, nubile, woman and have the logo placed on her (censored) to be viewed when she “accidently” bends over to retrieve her pen.
In the male-dominated IT field Kodak might have gained some customers; however, from a feminist point of view, it is demeaning. The female is shown without any power (she cannot even seem to hold onto her pen! Does she even know how to use one?).
Another thing that is particularly offensive about this “display” is the clothing the model is wearing: she is clad in a very short school-girl skirt. This promotes a pedophile mentality: saying young girls are supposed to be used as sex objects. To add to this sickness, she is wearing stiletto shoes with straps up her legs as some sort of semi-bondage image. The very design of stilettos themselves add to the imagery as they make the wearer weak and unbalanced, thereby forcing the wearer to depend on others. To add to the sexist depiction, they have her bending down as if to say: get on the ground, get in the right position so I can use you.
The logo itself is placed on the core of femininity. I am really not sure what Kodak and the female reproductive system have in common (unless we take into account Pamela Anderson’s sex videos, providing they used Kodak equipment).
This ad is offensive because they are showing her as nothing more than a piece of meat! The ad says nothing about the product they are trying to sell. It is just eye-candy (for some). It is so blatantly offensive it is iconically anti-feminist. I am wondering if they did not use this approach for shock value in addition to drawing the attention of the stereotypical male geek that never gets any.
What is the dividing line between sexist and sexy? This ad has obviously crossed that line. Sexy is about an attitude, a confidence, a health, both emotional and physical. Sexy is a comfort with oneself. Sexist on the other hand is about power and lack of power. It’s about dominance. Sexist is about putting someone down in order to build someone else up. This ad is so sexist and antifeminist I cannot even describe…. It is the epitome of male-domination throughout the generations. The model in this ad is another example of the perpetual “woman as sex toys” mentality. Advertisers should promote healthy body images for both men and women. The ads should be about the products, not about using, demeaning, or putting anyone down.
~Alisa Castle~

Castle Blog Five

~Alisa Castle~
A feminist song? That I enjoyed? Yes, there actually are some! For this assignment, I choose India.Arie’s song entitled “Video” from 2001. It was the one of the first songs I had heard from this artist. I had actually been looking up Grammy winners for various years as a way to expand my musical palate and stumbled on a link. I absolutely fell in love with this song for its lyrics spoke to me.

The song is kind of an anthem for accepting yourself as you are. Body image is something I and many other women struggle with and this song reminds me to accept and love myself. Arie talks about doing what feels good in her soul rather than what is conventionally acceptable. She talks about her creator not making mistakes; that every part of her is exactly as it is supposed to be. I love the feeling of empowerment that I feel when reading or hearing these lyrics. When I think of all the women that think they should look like a supermodel or a girl from a video (myself included) a song like this helps remind me of reality. “My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes” is another poignant message in our materialistic society that focuses on money and looks more than kindness and humanity. Much of mainstream popular culture is about money and looks and Arie addresses that by saying you “can keep your Crystal” that she just wants to be herself with all her non-supermodel looks.

If more songs were able to address feminist issues without anger or accusations as she does, I think it would help people be more accepting of feminist ideas. If I had a chance to express my feelings to India Arie I would probably just tell her how I much I appreciate this upbeat song about self love and acceptance.

Lyrics from
Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t
Depend of how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul
I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally,
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be
When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it’s suppose to be
And I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my Lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see
Am I less of a lady if I don’t where panty hose
My momma said a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows…
But I’ve drawn the conclusion, it’s all an illusion
Confusion’s the name of the game
A misconception, a vast deception,
Something got to change
Now don’t be offended this is all my opinion
Ain’t nothing that I’m saying law
This is a true confession Of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in when you fit in
Go on and shine
Clear your mind Now’s the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself‘
Cause everything’s gonna be alright
Keep your fancy drink, and your expensive minks
I don’t need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive cars and your caviar
All’s I need is my guitar
Keep your crystal and your pistol
I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don’t need you silicone, I prefer my own
What god gave me is just fine…

~Alisa Castle~

Blog 5

Nora Hovanic
WS 200
J. Ryan
25 April 2008
Blog 5

I choose to blog about the song title Dear Mr. President, by PINK. I had heard this song before because I own her 2006 album title I’m not dead. I do listen to PINK on my own time and I do believe she is an empowering singer/songwriter for today’s women. She takes topics of abuse, sex, feminism, politics, and other social concerns and puts the frustrations of them all into words. She is an artist that I know plenty of girls will play loudly getting themselves ready to go out on a weekend night. It is music that not only gives you energy, but also makes girls ready to feel like they can empower boys.

Although not all of PINK’S material is fast paced and filled with “loud” lyrics. She has many songs with a softer tone that are still just as empowering. The song I have choosen goes as follows…

Dear Mr. PresidentCome take a walk with meLet's pretend we're just two people andYou're not better than meI'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestlyWhat do you feel when you see all the homeless on the streetWho do you pray for at night before you go to sleepWhat do you feel when you look in the mirrorAre you proudHow do you sleep while the rest of us cryHow do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbyeHow do you walk with your head held highCan you even look me in the eyeAnd tell me whyDear Mr. PresidentWere you a lonely boyAre you a lonelyHow can you sayNo child is left behindWe're not dumb and we're not blindThey're all sitting in your cellsWhile you pay the road to hellWhat kind of father would take his own daughter's rights awayAnd what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gayI can only imagine what the first lady has to sayYou've come a long way from whiskey and cocaineHow do you sleep while the rest of us cryHow do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbyeHow do you walk with your head held highCan you even look me in the eyeLet me tell you bout hard workMinimum wage with a baby on the wayLet me tell you bout hard workRebuilding your house after the bombs took them awayLet me tell you bout hard workBuilding a bed out of a cardboard boxLet me tell you bout hard workHard workHard workYou don't know nothing bout hard workHard workHard workhow do you sleep at nighthow do you walk with your head held highdear mr. president,you'd never take a walk with meHmmm,would youHow do you sleep at nightHow do you walk with your head held highDear Mr. PresidentYou'd never take a walk with me

(You can also biew this video at youtube )

When I heard this song for the first time, I remember that I wasn’t paying much attention to it. That was until I really listened to some of the lyrics. The one in particular that caught my mind was, “What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay.” I mean wow, how true is that? Once I went back and really paid attention to what the whole song said I was blown away. I couldn’t believe any singer had the audacity to address not only a male in this tone, but the President. I know that there are issues in the song that address so many people of today, and they are things that so many people want to say, but no one ever can.

I Believe PINK really touches feminine issues in this song by saying, “How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye” or “What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay,” and “Minimum wage with a baby on the way.” These are all stressing issues that women face today. Mothers deal with not having right to there sons and husbands that are soldiers, and women deal with gay and lesbian rights. There also plenty of single mothers that can hardly afford to feed their children when a man (or the father) is nowhere to be found. PINK also touches on many social issues by reciting, “How can you say No child is left behind We're not dumb and we're not blind,” or “Let me tell you bout hard work Building a bed out of a cardboard box.” Thousands of Americans have been upset by No Child Left Behind, and thousands of Americans sleep on the streets. PINK boldly asks, “What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street, Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep… How do you sleep while the rest of us cry.” She is noting mainstream issues society needs to look at. She doesn’t make a reference of how to change them, but she is trying to point them out to the person most able to change them.

I personally enjoy PINK’S messages in her songs. I am on board with the things she is saying, and the message she is sending across. I am not certain if there were more song lyrics for feminists if it would change the way feminism is viewed. Although I do not think it could hurt.

Tracy Chapman

Lyrics from New Beginning CD, 1995

Heaven’s Here On Earth

You can look to the stars in search of the answers Look for God and life on distant planets Have your faith in the ever after While each of us holds inside the map to labyrinth And heaven’s here on earth

We are the spirit The Collective conscience We create the pain and the suffering and the beauty in this world Heaven’s here on earth

In our faith in humankind In our respect for what is earthly In our unfaltering belief in peace and love and understanding

I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people leading ordinary lives Filled with love compassion forgiveness and sacrifice Heaven’s in hearts In our faith in humankind In our respect for what is earthly In our unfaltering belief in peace and love and understanding

Look around Believe in what you see The kingdom is at hand The promised land is at your feet We can and will become what we aspire to be If heaven’s here on earth If we have faith in humankind And respect for what is earthly And an unfaltering belief that truth is divinity And heaven’s here on earth

I’ve seen spirits I’ve met angels I’ve touched creations beautiful and wondrous I’ve be places where I question all I think I know But I believe I believe I believe this could be heaven

We are born inside the gates with the power to create life And to take it away The world is our temple The world is our church Heaven’s here on earth

If we have faith in humankind And respect for what is earthly And an unfaltering belief in peace and love and understanding This could be heaven here on earth


Tracy Chapman has been writing songs and playing guitar from the time she was eleven years old. Her songs are about the social injustices of the world. It is poetry set to music. Her lyrics are designed to make you think about the inequalities in our culture. The words inspire us to truly look around at what is going on with humankind. To believe that peace, love, and understanding of one another, is (and should be) possible.

I have been familiar with Chapman’s music for a number of years. I have always appreciated her ability to continue to enlighten others through her music. She continues to stand up, through words, for all man/woman kind; to empower us all to respect one another. If more artist where as thought provoking as her, we could have "Heaven Here on Earth", for it would be from our hearts. This song is just one example of her poetry.

Annette Parson

Additional Resources:

Blog #5 - Feminism and Popular Music

Stevie R. Bowling
WS 200 - Online
Blog #5


I chose the song “Can’t Hold Us Down” by Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim. The song was released on August 26, 2003 from the album Stripped. The song hit the #12 spot on the Billboard Hot 100’s and was also a top five hit in other music countdowns around the world. The song was written by Aguilera herself, with the help of Scott Storch and Matt Morris. Storch also produced the 2003 hit single.

When I first read the prompt for this blog, I began to brainstorm about songs that I knew had powerful messages about women and feminist issues. I knew of plenty, but just couldn’t pull one off the top of my head. So, I googled “feminist songs” and I was directed to a Wikipedia page that listed songs with feminist themes in alphabetical order by the song title. I have always been a fan of Aguilera and when I noticed that “Can’t Hold Us Down” was one of the songs with a feminist theme, I remembered that this song really did address women’s issues and portrayed how women are treated in a sexual way at in the music video.

The song starts out with a bang asking the public “So what am I not supposed to have an opinion? should I be quiet just because I'm a woman?”, a typical feminist issue and stereotype that is still placed on women today. So many people still believe that women should not have a voice about issues and just take things how they are. The song goes on to address the fact that women are often called inappropriate names like a “bitch” or a “whore” just because some speak about what is on their mind or how a woman is called nasty names if she is seen hanging out with a group of her male friends, but a man is looked as a “pimp” if he is seen with three or so ladies. These issues that Aguilera goes on to sing about address a lot of the gender differences that are stereotyped when it comes to the things women and men do. What I mean by this, is that still today, women are criticized if they express their opinion because according to some men, we are not suppose to have one, or the fact that when Aguilera quotes “If you look back in historyit's a common double standard of society, the guy gets all the glory the more he can score.” It is absolutely disgusting to me that some people think they have the right to call women names for standing up for what they believe in and hanging out with their friends.

Mainstream popular culture often ignores the fact that situations like these are still going on. For example, you have artists like Lil’ Kim and Aguilera that address these issues and try to make some awareness about these issues that women are faced with everyday. In their music they give advice to women about they shouldn’t let anyone hold them down and to “shout out loud and stand their ground.” Then, on the other hand, you have artists, mostly male, who are bringing women down sexually, left and right, by portraying them in their videos as sluts and whores and singing about how women are so vulnerable to men and that a man with many women is desirable. Do they not get the point? Do they not understand the fact that there is a battle over stereotypes that are placed on women and that women do not want to be portrayed that way?! I believe that although women’s rights and the stereotypes that have been placed on them have improved over the years, that mainstream popular culture is still egging on the bashing of women because the artists and movies that do those sorts of things are a big hit and top sellers, they are ignoring the message that these songs and videos are addressing!

When I first heard this song, it was very empowering. I think Aguilera and Lil’ Kim really help lead the way to women standing up for themselves and not letting anyone walk all over them and make them feel that their opinions do not count. “This is for my girls all around the world, who’ve come across a man who don't respect your worth. Thinking all women should be seen, not heard, so what do we do girls? Shout out loud!Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground, lift your hands high and wave 'em proud, take a deep breath and say it loud…never can, never will, can't hold us down!” I think those lyrics in particular really send the message that everyone has the right to be who they are and say what they feel. We as women should not feel afraid to stand up and speak out and I think that the artists did a very good job in this song, empowering all women to make a change in society and show those men that they do not have anything on us women!

If you really research songs that discuss feminist issues, you really do come across a lot. I am grateful for that and I really think they do send a positive message to the listeners out there. On the other hand, there are also so many negative songs that people hear everyday that disrespect women and totally contradict the message that some of these female writers are speaking out about. When young men and women watch these music videos that are often times very sexually aimed at women, they think that is the cool thing to do to treat women like that and for the girls that are watching that video may think that, acting in those ways is all that they are good for. I always hope that more writers will come out with songs like “Can’t Hold Us Down” to help women build up the strength to speak out, but at the same time, I know that everyday there are more and more songs produced by writers who portray women negatively and people see those too. To me, those negative songs have a little bigger lead and that can really effect how people feel about themselves and treat others of the opposite sex.

Overall, I think both Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim are role models for women of all ages out there. To me, they are strong women within themselves and really can influence others with their strong wills and experiences that they have had in the past. I applaud them for writing and producing songs like these and hope to see more from them in the future.

Wikipedia -
Loglar.Com -
Lyrics.Com/YouTube -