Watching Blurred Lines after volunteering at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls

 I just finished up a two week volunteer stint at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. I don't share this with you because I want a pat on my back or a "Good for You." I write this because I have to share how truly mind blowing this experience was for me.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the camp, "Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is a non-profit music and mentoring program that empowers girls and women through music education, volunteerism, and activities that foster self-respect, leadership skills, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration." I worked as a band coach for a 5 year old group, and as a counselor/workshop leader for the 8-18 year old group - the culmination of which was a Band Showcase on Saturday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.  Throughout both weeks, I was in awe of the talent, intelligence and fearlessness I witnessed.  I saw the girls face new challenges and overcome fears on a daily basis. We shared our excitement about music, and hearing about their love of One Direction, The Weeknd and Marina and the Diamonds took me back to a time when I too was a little girl and my obsession with music had just begun.  The general camp philosophy is one we should all strive to follow, which is to look out for each other, to cherish community, to build a sense of togetherness through inclusion and to take risks.  During a panel discussion, which my friend Mia Juhng led for the older girls, we discussed ways music could possibly be used within a number of different career paths - from being an architect or a baker to being a doctor or a stunt woman.  It was after that workshop that I talked to a teenager who loves Anthrax and Slayer and wants to be both a musician and a surgeon when she grows up.  She was looking for encouragement and advice and I of course am the EXACT person to give it. Do you understand how rad that is?  She wants to be a musician and a surgeon! We talked about time management and how the "slow and steady" work ethic usually enables us to accomplish anything and everything.  As for the showcase, I truly don't know how to articulate what I felt while watching those 85 girls. Each girl put together a band, created a song and performed that song within 1 week of meeting each other! It was stunning and it is something everyone needs to witness for themselves.  There is one more Rock Camp session coming up this summer, the week after next and the showcase venue is TBA.  The camp is operated by the efforts of volunteers, and donations (tax-exempt) - so if you'd like to get involved please go to the website.  I beyond highly recommend it.  Also there is a Bowlathon coming up in September.  Want to put together a team?

Alright this part of my blog is not as cheery at the first part, it's important to me.  This past Friday evening after completing an exhilarating Rock Camp week, I decided I needed to watch the Blurred Lines video - this summer's hit song.  I for some reason feel the need to know what's happening in the world of main stream music and at this point I'm definitely late to the Blurred Lines listening party - better late than never, right? or this case perhaps not.  I clicked the search button and saw that the video had over 119 million views.  The song is sung by Robin Thicke (Alan Thicke's son - remember Growing Pains), featuring Pharrell and T.I.  Now those things do not equate with no good for me, I like lots of main stream pop hit songs.  The song's music is not so offensive - nice hooky dance beat, but the visuals and the lyrics, whew! After a week of working with strong, intelligent, talented young girls, whom are ready to take on the world on their own terms - watching a bunch of hokey guys with hot supermodel types saunter around in a semi-naked state while holding goats, and having their hair tethered to Thicke's hand - as he gently yanks on their hair as if the women are animals - was just enough to make my stomach hurt.  All I could think was, this is what women and girls are still up against in 2013! I mean there was no real shock value, just the idea that this is what is considered sexy....I know not all guys really believe that "I know you want it" and "being the hottest bitch in this place" sounds sexy to a woman - but for it to be the summer hit song, ewwwwwww!  You may think I am being too uptight or sensitive (perhaps you're right- perhaps I'm a hypocrite, b/c I love Howard Stern- another discussion altogether), that this is just a song about animalistic sex, but I am just relaying to you how I felt watching it after being with all those rad girls at rock camp.  Thinking of them tethered by their hair to a guy sauntering them around like a billy goat, saying he is going to "take a Good Girl"  just made me feel sick (and also within this week the Cleveland kidnapper/rapist Castro makes the comment that his victims often asked him for sex and that he had consensual sex - this may seem like I a big stretch - but this mentality of posession and "You know you want it" came together in my head).   I did quickly look for a comedy parody of the Blurred Lines video from a female's point of view and just as I suspected, comediennes,
Nikki and Sara made one for the female demographic. YAY!!! It is so funny.  So here is a moment for you to laugh! 

I just had to share this with you.  For some reason, in recent decades, women have been awfully quiet when it comes to the way mainstream media depicts us or doesn't depict us. Perhaps it's the notion that it's a waste of time, like banging your head against a wall and nothing will ever change.  I am unsure, but after witnessing such brilliant young girls take risks and face their fears, I realize it is my duty to do the best I can in helping them achieve their full potential. I know these issues are much more complicated than this little blog post can begin to discuss, but I'm hoping, at the least this is a good beginning.


Marina and the Diamonds! I want that jumpsuit and curtains.
 

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