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SEXIST BEATDOWN: Muffin-Bluffing Is A Feminist Issue Edition

Ah, music. It makes the people! Come together! Music: [it] mix[es] the bourgeois! And the rebel! It also, recently, led to this really neat article about “post-post-feminism,” which seems to mean the same thing as “post-feminism,” which seems also (so Steve Haruch notes!) to mean the same thing as “pre-feminism,” which means, basically “a-feminism.” It has not much to do with feminism at all, actually; I don’t know why that word keeps coming up.

Except that the kids today – especially the girl kids – are all a’sexin’! And a-singin’ about the sexin’! Lady Gaga wishes to poke her face, yet bluffs with her muffin; Katy Perry wishes to kiss girls, and like it, on the condition that her boyfriend don’t mind it; The Veronicas wish to be sexy twins who basically kiss EVERYBODY, boys and girls included; and, at this point, “postpostfeminism” is just something that happens after some annoying girl drinks too many Cosmos. But with a super catchy beat!

So, what does it all meaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn? Read on, my friends, as Amanda Hess of The Sexist and I discuss!

MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT: Lady Gaga: postfeminist, postpostfeminist, postpostpostnotdressinglikeasexyMartianinvader, sings the sensitive face-poking hits of our time.

SADY: lady! are you ready to have a discussion about postpostpostpostpostfeminism?

AMANDA: hi! Sorry! first of all, since you seem to have been doing a bit of “research” into modes of feminism lately can you tell me what post-feminism is? and what post-post-feminism might be?

SADY: post-feminism is the one where progress has been accomplished so we can all be SEXY again and also camille paglia can blame us for our date rapes! post-post-feminism is… um… feminism again? or the one where we have to fight each other in Thunderdome. no wait, that’s post-APOCALYPTIC-post-feminism. no, wait, that’s my blog comment section.

AMANDA: ba dump ching!

SADY: TIP YOUR WAITRESSES. i do know you can find the postpostpostpostwhatever in the popular music the kids listen to today, though! such as the katy perrys, and the lady gagas!

AMANDA: first of all, let me just say to pop music, that i am a huge, huge fan

SADY: haha, i had to have someone sing me the veronicas song so i knew what it was about. according to this person it goes “take me on the floor, blah blah blah sexy twins.” i feel no need to look up the lyrics! i’m confident this research is correct!

AMANDA: i will listen to nearly any pop music song, whether feminist, pre-feminist, post-feminist, post-post-feminist, told-from-the-perspective-of-the-unborn-fetus etc. so that sexy twin song, i may be adding it to my ipod!

SADY: yeah, why not?

AMANDA: however, i think it would be Educational if we discussed some modern pop singers (love ’em) and where their songs fall on the feminist —> told-from-the-perspective-of-the-unborn-fetus spectrum

SADY: yeah, i kind of think that what they’re talking about is the whole overt sexuality thing in these ladies’ music. which is NEW! and UNPRECEDENTED! what with the poking of ‘er face and whatnot! and the kissing of girls, and the taking on the floor.

AMANDA: let’s start with that kissing of girls thing. i personally wouldn’t take such an issue with that song if the rest of katy perry’s album didn’t blatantly ridicule gay people.

SADY: I JUST LISTENED TO THE VERONICAS SONG. the bridge is “i want to kiss a girl, i want to kiss a girl, i want to kiss a boy.” maybe THIS is postpostfeminism? yeah, not just gay people but women which is bizarre: “you are so gay, you are like a woman, you terrible gay-woman-man.” like, this grossness wherein gay or a lady is the worst thing to be…

AMANDA: the veronicas song sounds like some sort of bizarre undead compromise between you and andrea dworkin. oh, THIS song? i just listened to it for the first time. shit, i actually don’t like this pop song, it sucks.

SADY: yep. this is our peace treaty. andrea dworkin’s thing, sexually, was (i am learning) more complex than i maybe can understand, at the moment. i’m pretty sure she would have some harsh words for the whole sexy-twins, kissing-girls-for-your-boyfriend, bluffing-with-one’s-muffin thing. her whole problem was that she thought we were bluffing with our muffins too much! NO MORE MUFFIN BLUFFING, is what she’d say.

AMANDA: i’m okay with never hearing another word about muffin bluffing.

SADY: MUFFIN BLUFFING IS THE PATRIARCHY’S SUPPORT SYSTEM. this is some weird performance of sexuality that seems so specifically catered to be precisely in line with current expectations of what dudes find sexy.

AMANDA: are there any current pop songs that qualify as post-post feminist, which i now understand (?) is feminism again after taking a little break from feminism?

SADY: haha, i like “if i were a boy,” by beyonce, maybe a little more than i should. there are certain moments where i can convince myself that it MEANS SOMETHING.

AMANDA: i, too, have spent many moons attempting to squeeze that song into my worldview

SADY: if beyonce were a boy, she’d roll out of bed and put on whatever she wanted and drink some beer. if this first verse is any indication, i myself may be a boy, or beyonce. but also, if beyonce were a boy, she’d be cheating on YOU! and you COULDN’T STOP HER!

AMANDA: do you have a cop outfit?

SADY: mmmmmm… sadly, no. this may be the only difference between beyonce and myself. barring, of course, the fact that i did not appear in “obsessed.”

AMANDA: i really like this song, and (i’ve convinced myself) that it’s an honest critique of the double standards in sexual relationships between men and women … for those of us who can’t just throw all that shit out of the window and have sex with other women. but it’s also kind of like, you don’t have to be a boy, you’re BEYONCE, you can do whatever the fuck you want!

SADY: right? beyonce could basically buy a small country at this point. yet, in her song with jay-z, she points out that she can ‘still play her part and let [jay-z] take the lead role.” i’m beginning to think her commitment to just doing all that dude stuff (namely, being kind of a dick) is not that profound.

AMANDA: yes HOWEVER—and this is a good point for those post-feminist to listen to—beyonce actually looks super hot acting like a fucking dick. and then looks less compelling when she goes back into the girl role at the (spoiler alert) surprise twist at the end

anyway. i’m beginning to think that postpostfeminism, what with the girls singing about how they’ve kissed girls, and also boys, and have done things with their muffins that maybe we would be uncomfortable hearing about, is not actually “post” anything. haven’t people been singing about screwing (boys and girls) for A LONG TIME?

AMANDA: yes. i think that’s what ALL pop music is about, right?

SADY: right? yet, when we hear songs about sex, we think they’re kind of naughty, until someone sings an EVEN NAUGHTIER song about sex, and that’s all these kids are doing: semi-raising, or trying to raise, the bar for naughtiness. with, GASP, girl makeouts! basically, i think that sooner or later “i want to pee on you” will be an actual single.

AMANDA: of course, until pop music enters its post-naughty phase. sponsored by kelly clarkson.

SADY: “if i were a boy, we’d be engaging in non-demeaning and mutually respectful activities, such as going to a church group, and holding hands. ” “woooo, girl, i want to play zelda and not make out or consider sexual activities at all with youuuu.”

AMANDA: You know, somebody kind of made this point in the Bitch comment section, and I think it’s pretty apt: as far as POP music is concerned, maybe it’s enough for us to have expectations that it not be misogynistic. and that other forms of music that are not played on the radio will tackle the more explicitly radical subjects. that being said, i would really love to write for Britney Spears.

SADY: haha. i’m seriously trying to think of a mainstream pop hit that handled anything vaguely feminist in its subject matter. the best i can come up with is “human nature,” by madonna. and that’s a tenuous pick. i would love for you to write for britney spears, too! actually!

AMANDA: i understand that she often takes up best-friends-for-a-few-hours fairly often. i think i could be a good influence on her.

SADY: i think my work with the postpostfeminist stars of stage and screen would be brutal, ugly, and short

AMANDA: i thought the misogyny consulting thing would really work out for you

SADY: i think my hit katy perry song, “i kissed the person that it was most pleasing for me to kiss at the time without thinking about or trying to present my sexuality as a performance for the benefit of the male gaze” would not, probably, sell like hotcakes. the b-side, “i like tacos,” might be a little more well-received. who doesn’t like tacos?! why is our pop landscape so post-tacos?

AMANDA: eww, post-taco

SADY: hahahahaha. ok. it’s NOT AN ELOQUENT TERM for my movement. rest assured, you’ll soon be hearing the sound of post-taco across the nation.

AMANDA: hahah


  1. Scott wrote:

    Post-taco? We've been post-taco for a long time now:

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  2. Vertigo wrote:

    *confused look* I will just stick with Ani DiFranco's music because I know she is a feminist and I don't have to question it. Plus my music taste is soooooo 90s, I don't know what the kids listen to now days…

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I love Lady Gaga's music with my whole pop heart. My muffin is not bluffin' when it says, "HEY HELLO LADY GAGA OVER HERE I THINK THERE IS SOMEONE YOU SHOULD MEET!"

    Anyhooz, that particular song, according to Miz Gaga, is about how she was dating a boy but longing to be with a woman and hiding that because it was better for her image, and now she realizes that that is effed up, which I think is cool. But then she said some stuff about how feminism is about hate, which I have to pretend that I didn't read because it would really hurt my muffin's feelings.

    Katy Perry = moron. Cute, but moron.

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  4. natasha wrote:

    zelda. yes please. let's date. i hope that is not too katy perry of me to say.

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  5. sympathyxo wrote:

    But there is a serious issue you have not addressed here. We know your feelings about muffin-bluffing, but what about disco-stick-riding? Elaborate, please.

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Mireille wrote:

    Well… Pink's "Stupid Girls" is sorta half feminist… Suggesting women should strive for success out of dancing in a rap video, but it's also pretty snarky against women she thinks are "stupid". Either way, I still like the song.

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  7. Anna wrote:

    "Just a Girl" by No Doubt!

    Friday, June 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  8. Foxessa wrote:

    This muffin bluffing as you call it has been around for at least 10 years!

    Actually, I've heard stories about this acting out in mixed gender gatherings between women from back in the 2nd wave of feminism as well.

    Love, c.

    Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  9. samanthab. wrote:

    What about the delightful Ms.Allen? Where is the Lily Allen "The Fear" love?

    Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    You two are better than "Car Talk".

    – anonymous old person

    Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  11. Renée wrote:

    Tori Amos had a brief pop-hit phase, and she's feminist!

    As for urine songs, allow me to recommend Mr. Plow's "Golden Shower Girl". I'm not sure it's feminist, it sure ain't pop, but it is HILARIOUS.

    Monday, June 22, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    I can usually figure out the slang that the kids are using from context, but muffin bluffin had me, um, stumped. The only muffin slang with which I was familiar was the insult about women in low slung jeans having muffin tops, which I inevitably associated with the Seinfeld episode with the muffin top store. So at first I couldn't help thinking that muffin bluffin was like what Mr. Lippman was doing when he was only making the tops rather than making full muffins and throwing out the stumps. But evidently Lady Gaga is engaging in proparalepsis and adding a syllable at the end of the word "muff," providing a fictional etymology for poetic effect. Interesting. Top of the Muffin to Her!

    Monday, June 22, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink
  13. Helen wrote:

    Humph to Lady Gaga and Whitesauce too. (Sorry for shameless self promotion!)

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 3:43 am | Permalink
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    I pretty much like any kind of music, including Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. I son't really listen to the songs enough to actually pay attention to the words it's something going on in the background, mostly.

    that said, I like Pink's 'U and UR hand' because, for me, it came out just after a guy had pretty much dumped me for deciding when I'd have sex when I felt comfortable having sex with him and not the third date. I loved that the song reinforced what a dickhead he'd been and had the message that no one should be pawed at, overly annoyed or harrassed for anything just because they are out having fun.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink
  15. eloriane wrote:

    @Anonymous 8:01AM – I've always thought that the "in" sound at the end was actually short for "and"– making the line into "I won't tell you that I love you, kiss or hug you, cuz I'm bluffin' with my muff, 'n I'm not lying, I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning." Especially given the backstory that she was hiding her bisexuality by sleeping with a dude, it makes some progress towards sense:

    "I won't show affection for you (Mr. dude), because I am bluffing with my vagina (when I have sex with you, as opposed to a lady) and I am not technically lying (about the fact that I dig girls, and not you), I'm just lying through omission (of the fact that I don't like you and/or dudes) and also some gibberish about glue-guns."

    Yeah, I'm still not totally sure what's up with the love-glue-gunning, but, uh, the rest of it is crystal clear now, right?

    Friday, June 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
  16. AMC wrote:

    @Sady The most recent full on, F-word blaring feminist song that was on the radio that I know of was “Can Hold Us Down” by Christina Aguilera.

    “So what am I not supposed to have an opinion,
    Should I be too shy to speak, because I’m a woman?
    Call me a bitch, cause I speak what’s on my mind,
    Guess its easier for you to swallow, if I sat and smiled.
    When a female fires back, suddenly big talker don’t know how to act,
    So he does what any little boy would do.
    Makin up a few false rumors or two/
    “If you look back in history, it’s a common double standard of society,
    The guy gets all the glory, the more he can score,
    While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore,
    This is for my girls all around the world,
    Who’ve come across a man who don’t respect your worth, thinkin’ all women should be seen not heard,
    So what do we do girls?
    Shout louder!”
    I still can’t believe it was released to radio, but then CA’s never really given a good gorramn what is socially, commercially acceptable.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink