We Need New Summer Songs

I cannot stand the song “Rude” by Magic. Sure, it’s somewhat catchy. It just has a questionable message.

Here it is, with lyrics:

The lyric I have the most problem with is: Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life?

The singer admits that the man he is asking is old-fashioned.

But where is the woman’s – excuse me, that girl’s – autonomy in all of this? It is the 21st century. Women are not objects to procure from their fathers.

Oh, you say, but it is so romantic… The man asking for the father’s permission… And even though the father says no, they’re gonna run away and get married… How sweet…

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great if a man wants to discuss his plans to propose to a woman with the woman’s parents (or with his own parents). But I think it should be understood that she is a grown woman who can make decisions of her own; her father’s ownership of his daughter is a non-issue.

Then again, perhaps I am reading the song wrong. Perhaps it is about a woman’s autonomy to choose who she marries. After all, the singer states that they will marry anyway, regardless of what the father says. But given that the singer is whining about the father being rude and not recognizing his humanity, I doubt that is what is going on. If the chorus acknowledged that the girl the woman was human, that she can make her own decisions about her life, and that she is the one ultimately in control because she is not an object whose ownership can be transferred from one man to another.

To get on my feminist soapbox, if it wasn’t evident I was perched there in this post, the patriarchy already causes so many fucking problems for women and men. Why perpetuate it by writing an ode to asking permission and, implicitly, the concept of coverture?

Why can’t we have a catchy, popular song of the summer that does not deny women’s autonomy? Last year, it was Robin Thicke’s ode to date rape, “Blurred Lines.” This year it is Magic’s pouting song about the girl’s dad not liking the singer. Get over yourself, dude.