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All The Single (Non-Slutty) Ladies June 29, 2010

Posted by Onely in Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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We already wrote about this Today Show blurb that touts the awesomeness of older single women. But one thing bothered me about the clip that I didn’t mention–until now. The intro opens with the catchy Beyonce song, “All The Single Ladies.” Our most hard-core Copious Readers already know the problem with this.  Have a look at the lyrics before I launch into my tirade:

Now put your hands up
Up in the club, we just broke up
I’m doing my own little thing
you decided to dip but now you wanna trip
Cuz another brother noticed me
I’m up on him, he up on me
dont pay him any attention
cuz i cried my tears, gave three good years
Ya can’t be mad at me

[Chorus]
Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it

wo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh oh x2

(Chorus)

Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it

I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips
hold me tighter than my Dereon jeans
acting up, drink in my cup
I couldnt care less what you think
I need no permission, did I mention
Dont pay him any attention
Cuz you had your turn
But now you gonna learn
What it really feels like to miss me

(Chorus)

Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it

woo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh oh 2x

Don’t treat me to the things of this world
I’m not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve
Is a man that makes me, then takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you WANT
If you don’t, you’ll be alone
And like a ghost I’ll be gone

All the single ladies (7x)
Now put your hands up
woo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh
oh oh oh 2x

Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it woo oh ooh 2x

Two beefs:

First, the easiest and most obvious criticism: the song feeds into the stereotype that all single women want to get married. Second, and more disturbing because it’s more insidious, is the implication that women who don’t hold out for a ring are “that kind of girl” (verse three). And we all know what “that kind” of girl is–loose, slutty, easy, not “good”.

The fact that this song has become a single women’s anthem, even though it’s actually kind of offensive to single women (and all women), speaks volumes about how ensconced the notion is that women’s sexuality should be tied to marriage.

That said, I won’t lie and say I’m not tapping my fingers on the steering wheel when this tune comes on the car radio. Copious Readers, are you ambivalent toward this song too, or do you think I should turn down my Pop Culture Deconstruction dial when I’m driving?

–Christina

Photo Credit: Mr. Azed

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Comments»

1. heather - June 30, 2010

I hated that song from the first time I heard it. It has a catchy beat but I just can’t stand the lyrics.

2. Lauri - June 30, 2010

I’ve always hated the song too. I don’t really like dance/pop music so I’m not conflicted by the tune/beat – I just plain hate it. I think it’s more sexist than singlist for the reason you point out. It perpetuates negative stereotypes of both women and men and tries to make it sound positive, which is so weird. I also hate the symbolism of a ring for commitment. I hate the idea of men thinking that because I’m a “single lady” I have this end-game agenda of somehow coercing them into not only marriage, but a diamond.

3. Sara - June 30, 2010

“Don’t treat me to the things of this world
I’m not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve”

I would say ‘that kind of girl’ means a golddigger, rather than slutty

4. steve - June 30, 2010

like so many of the hit songs today it’s all about the beat and how good-looking the singer is…I find almiost all of rap and hip-hop lyrics offensive/sexist/racist and violent but like the writer said I find myself taping my fingers to the beat.

5. Contented Single - July 3, 2010

Catchy beat, terrible lyrics. Before I worked out the lyrics I’d bop along to this song, actually, I still do, but I just don’t get why this would be a single women’s anthem, unless the lyrics were more along the line of, “it’s great being single and I don’t care if I never get a ring on it”. Then it would be a far more powerful.

A couple of weeks ago I read in a Sydney newspaper an article by a feminist who could not understand why her 20 something daughter wanted the wedding with all the trappings, big ring, big dress, big party, when the mother (the writer) had been married quite simply in a court house.
Is it because as Maureen Dowd has said, that feminism only lasted a nonosecond? I just find it amazing the amount of young women these days obsessed by the whole bridal thing -it’s a booming market. I think in part it’s to do with the rampant consumerism around. I know there has been a GFC, but I find there are a lot of people consumed by having the latest cell phone, designer wear and gadegtry.

However, another thing that has happened to me recently is the older crowd (women in their 40s, 50s and 60s), beaten down by their marriages, applauding and admiring me for my choice in remaining single. I wonder if it’s got something to do with us now having in Australia a female prime minister, who is open about her decision to never marry or have kids.

Lauri - July 7, 2010

“I just find it amazing the amount of young women these days obsessed by the whole bridal thing -it’s a booming market.”

Rebecca Meade has some thoughts on this in book “One Perfect Day” which is actually all about the trappings of the markets for anything “bridal” or “wedding.” It’s a great read. Meade suggests that because marriage is meaningless now, people try to substitute consumer goods for real change to feel like it actually is a big event. So for example, everyone pretty much lives together before marriage, so moving in together is no longer an exciting part of getting married, ergo, people try to make it more exciting by registering for a bunch of new crap, because *something* in their lives has to change, otherwise, what’s the point?

6. Tessa - July 5, 2010

A much better single woman’s anthem is Sinead O’Connor’s “No Man’s Woman,” which you can listen to at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09Bm9g6ceKE

Lyrics:
I don’t want to be no man’s woman
It don’t make me happy this man trolling
thing that you’ve got for me
so I’ve become no man’s woman

I don’t want to be no man’s woman
I’ve other work I want to get done
I haven’t traveled this far to become
no man’s woman
no man’s woman

‘Cos I’m tired of it
and I’m so scared of it
that I’ll never trust again
‘Cos a man can fake you
take your soul and make you
miserable in so much pain

My friends think I’m alone but I got secrets
I don’t tell everything about the love I get
I got a loving man but he’s a spirit
He never does me harm, never treats me bad
He never takes away all the love he has
And I’m forgiven oh a million times

I’m never tired of it
and I’m not scared of it
‘cos it doesn’t cause me pain
Like a man can fake you
take your soul and make you
never be yourself again

I never want to be no man’s woman
I only want to be my own woman
I haven’t traveled this far to become
no man’s woman
no man’s woman
no man’s woman

7. Trauma Queen - July 15, 2010

I really liked this song till i read and understood the lyrics properly. I kept thinking she was telling all the single ladies to buy rings for themselves cos they like rings, not cos a man has to buy them one.

well i still like the song when I think of my interpretation of it!

8. Trauma Queen - July 15, 2010

irony is is she d same girl who sang “independent women” eh? confusing…..

9. Aubri - July 23, 2010

I have a third beef. I think it objectifies women in the line, “If you liked IT you should have put a ring on IT.” Even though IT probably refers to a finger, I still think it makes it sound like a woman is property to be obtained, or owned.

Onely - July 25, 2010

Aubri, I definitely agree! I hate that “it” thing too. I forgot to mention it, so I’m glad you did. Also, it really bothers me in movies when people refer to female protagonists or side characters as “the girl.” Like, “I’ll give you the gun if you give me the girl,” even though everyone in the scene knows perfectly well that the girl’s name is, say, Monica. Hate hate!
Christina

10. Slutty ladies | Tribalgamingin - August 4, 2012

[…] All The Single (Non-Slutty) Ladies « Onely: Single and HappyJun 29, 2010 … We already wrote about this Today Show blurb that touts the awesomeness of older single women. But one thing bothered me about the clip … […]


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