On Friday Rita Ora dropped her new single “Girls” featuring song artists Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha, and it was met with disapproval by many girls part of the LGBT community.
Even if the song was intended to promote “gender-fluid freedom” as Ora said in a People Magazine interview, in reality, it depicted LGBT women in a negative light. “Girls” seems to fetishize lesbian and bisexual love, reducing girls’ attraction and sexuality to partying, getting drunk, making out, and having sex. So, basically a man’s wet dream of what sapphic relationships are like.
The problem is that this enforces the narrative that sexual relations between women are only socially acceptable if they are hot one night stands without any true passion, love or feelings.
The 27-year-old singer, songwriter and actress Hayley Kiyoko, aka “Lesbian Jesus” got on Twitter after the song’s release expressing her concerns with the messages delivered in the song.
Real talk ? pic.twitter.com/9EbZd5dYZq
— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) May 11, 2018
Kiyoko’s sentiments are mirrored by many LGBT women worldwide. While acknowledging the fact that sexuality is fluid and coming to terms with your own identity are important, it’s crucial that you don’t reduce the LGBT community to sex alone. Especially on the basis that you are only comfortable acting out your attraction to the same gender when your inhibitions are lowered, or you are in a setting that encourages it.
Many ask why it is fair that LGBT women have to suffer societal discrimination and systemic oppression for being in an open, committed relationship while other girls can simply hook up with girls when they feel like it and call themselves LGBT. No one can police people’s sexuality or labels, yet it does raise a question about what being LGBT or having a fluid sexuality means.
Furthermore, the song objectifies women in the same way that men often do under the influence of toxic masculinity. Similar to the songs of many male artists, in Girls women are seen as sexual objects. In verse 2, Rexha and Charli XCX sing the line “I tamed it, and then I named it” leading up to a metaphor in which women are compared to an animal (a lion) that needs to be caged up. Later in the verse women are referred to as “prey“, which is completely horrific for many reasons, the most atrocious of all being that women are not meat or things to be hunted.
This is a backwards, entirely misogynistic viewpoint that women have been terrorized under by men for years. Certainly, this is not how women should perceive each other in any type of sexual or romantic relationship.
Queer song artist Kehlani points out the flaws in the lyrics with her tweets, even responding to a follower who misunderstood her words.
Regardless of whether or not the song was extra lewd for men’s attention and satisfaction, “Girls” was definitely not a song made with gay girls in mind.
By far the most problematic song artist of the group is Cardi B, who has described relationships with girls as being “all about fun” and saying she is bisexual because she “likes vagina”, yet she couldn’t see her self ever “catching feelings” for a girl. In a The Breakfast Club interview in 2016, Cardi B said all of these things and an especially disturbing point in the video is when Cardi B says she feels the need to “rape their faces” in respect to having oral sex with other men and women. While the interviewers in the video laugh, rape is not a joking matter, and what she said should not be taken lightly.
cardi b calling lesbians "dykes" and saying she just needs to "rape their face" when talking about women…. she's cancelled pic.twitter.com/La9w4Bg84f
— nat (@sharpobjects) May 11, 2018
Cardi B’s history of transphobia and denigrating women in addition to her derogatory line in the song “I steal your b*tch” lend to her predatory interpretation of female sexuality.
And sexuality is not solely about sex. It also encompasses love, kindness, and companionship as well as everything that couples need for a fulfilling relationship. This is why it is so distasteful for a person like Cardi B, who is constantly jealous of other women, putting them down and attacking them, to sing a song about making “love” to women.
Because as she has made clear, she doesn’t love them, and, like most of the singers part of this single, she just wants to use them for sex and good times. Which is hurtful to LGBT women looking for an actual relationship, and further sexualizes the stereotype of LGBT women.
Photo credit: XXL Mag