You know those girl power songs? The ones, like MAMAMOO’s latest one “Yes I Am,” where they celebrate their girl power and confidence in their looks and personalities? Well, here’s what I noticed. While listening to the MAMAMOO song, one line struck me. The line basically goes, “I like my face even though it’s more round than V-line,” but that intrigued me because here’s the thing–sure, the shape of her face could be considered more round than slim because of her cute chipmunk cheeks, but Solar still does very much have a V-line. This is undeniable. She obviously adheres to a diet to remain her slim figure, and so her jawline is clearly still shaped like a V–it’s just that she hasn’t gotten rid of her cute baby cheeks (and may she never because they’re so cute). This doesn’t mean her face is super round like a moon–and it’s definitely not as big as a moon. She still has a small face and a pointed chin, and she’s undoubtedly pretty. So then this got me to thinking… if this song was sung by a group of girls who were not deemed attractive, would it still work?
I think when people listen to these songs, they go, “Aw yeah, don’t have insecurities! You’re beautiful, my goddesses,” or whatnot, but is it really that because they’re still beautiful, they can sing these songs? Because I don’t think it would work as well if very average to below average-looking singers tried to sing about their confidence. And actually a group did try this in the past. They were amazing singers with deep, powerful voices. They were talented. They had great, catchy songs full of girl power. They were overweight. They called themselves Piggy Dolls. Sure, the name wasn’t great, but it was them trying to embrace and promote the fact they weren’t stick skinny and were okay with it. Yet they flopped and ultimately disbanded. Both MAMAMOO and Piggy Dolls were talented and came from unknown companies, so they started off on equal terms–except for their looks.
So my point is: can these singers, even Western artists, boast their confidence and happiness about how they look… only because they have something to be confident about and a look anyone would be happy about? Because if so, there’s a huge problem with this and a flaw with the message they’re attempting to send. I don’t get a sense of “WHOO GIRL POWER” from these songs. I love the confidence, don’t get me wrong. I love that they’re saying they don’t care what other people say because people are so judgmental and critical these days (like me right now hah)–and even beautiful people have insecurities both internally and externally, so it’s great to see anyone embracing who they are, but the irony still hits me that if another group or artist were to sing the same song with a much lower level of attractiveness, it just would not work. So then the message of the song doesn’t really work, either, now does it? It’s about being happy and confident even if you aren’t attractive by societal standards, so shouldn’t we have singers who aren’t attractive by societal standards sing about being happy and confident despite that? Not girls who are still considered attractive by a large group of people. Not girls who spend hours getting their makeup and hair done, making sure they adhere to some form of a diet or exercise, are dressed in expensive clothes fitted by professionals for their body shape, and told how gorgeous they are by adoring fans everyday.
And their listeners who are like, “OMG, I love this, I love the meaning and their confidence,” aren’t getting the point, either, and I can’t help but wonder if they’d react the same way if these girls weren’t as glamorous as they are now. If Piggy Dolls sang this, it’s my strong belief they’d still be met with disinterest. It’s this huge irony, and the whole theme is just folding in on itself. (I do have to acknowledge that MAMAMOO isn’t “conventionally pretty,” so a lot of their attractiveness does have to do with their confidence and charm, but we can’t forget that a lot of effort is also put into dolling them up to exude glamour and look pretty for the camera, and a big part of their job is to constantly monitor their weight and sizes.)
Yeah, as much as I love these songs, if they’re going to focus on looks, it’s not going to convince me when they’re trying their hardest to look as attractive as possible at the same time. The song itself is empowering and fun and catchy, but I can’t help being a Debbie Downer and pointing out this major flaw–there isn’t as much depth in the song as it’s pretending to have. And this goes for a lot of songs, of course. I don’t mean to point out or pick on MAMAMOO (which is one of my favorite groups); it’s just that MAMAMOO’s track brought this to my attention and seemed like the perfect example.
Anyway, do give the song a try because it’s definitely a summer bop, and let me know your thoughts below!