Act Like A Girl aka I’m Overthinking Again

I have no problem admitting that I like Demi Lovato’s music. I think she’s a pretty good singer, not to mention very attractive. But that’s beside the point.

What is my point?

Lyrics. See, she has this new single out called “Heart Attack” which basically talks about her fear of falling in love again. She sings that if she ever did that, she’d probably have a heart attack. Yeah, cute. 😉

Anyway, there’s one part of the song where she says “But you, make me wanna act like a girl…” and every time I hear that part it kinda bothers me. What bothers me is the implication that there’s something wrong with a girl acting like a girl. She says nothing specifically about being a tomboy or perhaps a butch lesbian. But in the context of the song, wanting to wear perfume, high heels or paint her nails is considered a bad thing. Or at least something you would only do to impress a boy.

Yeah, yeah… I’m overthinking the lyrics for sure. I KNOW that she simply means that being around this guy makes her want to do things that she doesn’t NORMALLY do. I get that. I just don’t understand why she chose THAT particular phrase as a way to demonstrate  uncharacteristic behavior.

I mean, c’mon… the truth is that if the gender tables were turned and a guy sang, “But you, make me wanna act like a boy…” it would be nearly impossible to spin that implication into something trivial. You’d probably have ongoing debates about social emasculation, metrosexuals and discrimination against effeminate heterosexual men.

And yet, with songs like this one, girls are being told that you don’t NEED to act like a girl as if there’s something inherently wrong with being girly. I’m not knocking girls who prefer trucks and army men over dolls and dress-up. I just think there should be positive reinforcement of either choice instead of making one out to be better than the other.

The irony? In spite of all that I’ve said, I really, REALLY like the song! lol

Okay, okay… I’ll stop now. Turning my brain off. 😛

Categories: commentary, music, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Act Like A Girl aka I’m Overthinking Again

  1. keara

    I don’t think you’re over thinking! I get a bit uncomfortable every time I hear this song, just because of that line. The issue with me is that there really is such thing as acting “like a girl” as if that was a personality rather than gender. It’s such a problematic line, when the world is supposed to be shucking off gender roles and accepting trans, etc. In a feminist context, I think it definitely seems to be saying that acting like a girl is a silly thing to do and that she should be better than that.

    • I think you really nailed it with “…there really is such thing as acting “like a girl” as if that was a personality rather than gender.” I think part of me is trying to figure out when the switch happened. When did we, as a society, decide that a “girl” was some sort of character people simply chose to play, similar to a fireman or clown? I mean, in the most basic sense, if you’re a girl, wouldn’t EVERYTHING you do be part of acting like a girl? 😛

  2. OLWD

    Haven’t heard it yet, but I do see you’re point.

  3. Maybe she just means it makes her feel….feminine….?? Afterall having those feelings do send us primping and painting… or at least thinking about it. 🙂

  4. Never heard the song so I probably shouldn’t comment… but based on the one line, it may be referring to the way a lot of women start to do more “categorically feminine” things when they are interested in a guy. You can go for months without using makeup or counting calories because you just don’t care, and then it happens: you take interest in a guy. BAM, you’re suddenly painting your nails and giggling a lot. I’ve done that. It’s probably because we are taught that all men are attracted to such things and won’t like us if we aren’t “girly” enough.

    In a way, doing those things CAN make you feel like you are “acting like a girl”. That this feeling exists is evidence that society definitely went too far with putting traits and activities in little gender-labeled boxes.

  5. Hi! I’m checking out all my friends’ blogs & following them. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

  6. I agree with you. Somehow we still have it in our heads that being lighthearted and wearing impractical things just to be attractive is weak and frivolous and inherently feminine. Even when we know better, it sticks in the subconscious.

  7. I agree with you. If it were one instance it’d probably be a bit of over thinking. But when you bombard girls with messages like this from multiple different places on a daily basis, it can be a negative. Everything is so gender based, sometimes it’s hard to be you and feel good about it.

  8. Shawn Ashley

    I was going to say that there’s something to be said of what it means to be a girl… ?… Is it just femininity?… Or maybe there’s a piece of that “girl” she lost?… Perhaps emotional distance..? That she has gained but lost and has found it again… … I have no idea… I tend to over think everything.

  9. I haven’t heard the song, that I know of… I’m terrible with songs! But, maybe she meant act like a girl in a sense of immaturity rather than a woman??? Now I need to look up the song….

  10. I was happy to find this post. That line bugged me, too, and I wondered if other people noticed it.

    I absolutely agree with you and the other commenters–there’s something annoying about “girl” behaviour being equated with superficiality. There’s also this implication that, as soon as the singer finds the “right” guy, she would immediately fall into a prescribed gender role, as if her ability to conform is an indication of her depth of feeling. Or worse, he’s “cured” her of not caring if she looks pretty… Agh.

    I also have an issue with the notion that dressing up is an activity worth of derision. We’re a self-adorning species all around, and I’m not sure why putting on heels is any sillier than wearing a necktie. And really, it’s 2013. I’d say it’s time people stop reinforcing the idea “girl” or “boy” only encompasses one narrow set of behaviours and expectations.

    Like you said: if you are a girl, then everything you do is part of “acting like a girl.”

  11. Reminds me of that Alanis Morissette line, “you treat me like a princess.. I’m not used to liking that.” When you think of it that way I don’t mind it so much. There are distinctions between what we call “feminine” behavior and “masculine” (even they do “crossover” so to speak). If I were to say a woman made me feel iike a man – that would be a good thing. Hey, and thanks for following my blog. I’m hoping to be writing a bit more than I have been and it’s nice to see a familar face from the old neighborhood 🙂

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