how is harry "growing" when he's pushing for kiwi to be a single, will perform at VSFS AND recently said his misogynistic album is a MEMOIR. it's one thing to think the best of him but he's shown repeatedly this year that his idea of activism is wearing a shirt and letting other people do the talking. expect more from men, please.
What exactly am I expecting? Truth at every turn from members of One Direction? Not gonna happen.
In the aggregate, I don’t find his album misogynistic. I understand that people do, but you’re in my inbox so I’ll walk you through my reasoning. If you don’t want my opinion, feel free not to bring asks here.
There are 10 songs on the album, 4 of them have anything even questionable to say about women. So, already we’re at 60% of the album that isn’t a problem. Woman reads very much like a jealous lover song, that I have always read as about the beards in Louis’ life. So, we’re at 70% of the album that isn’t a problem. Carolina is a song written in a tradition of Johnny Cash and others talking about drugs. It could also be about a shelter dog, jury’s out. So, we’re at 80%. Only Angel and Kiwi can certainly be read as treating women as objects and frankly it doesn’t make me feel awesome. I also believe these are meant to be performed and that it’s about the performance and the fiction rather than the lyrics. Having seen it in LA, I also feel like Harry imagines himself the woman in Kiwi (”I’m about to tell you, I’M having your baby). But for the sake of argument, let’s keep the number at 80%. 80% of the album isn’t a problem at all. So, he’s got a B- for his first album out the gate. I’m going to cut him some slack there.
I’m also going to recognize that he is NOT OUT. So, how can he POSSIBLY answer anything other than MEMOIR? He can’t say, yeah, it’s fiction, here’s my long term BOYFRIEND. It doesn’t work like that.
As I have said before, I take issues of social justice very very seriously and spend a good chunk of my waking hours trying to figure out what has the most impact on our world. And I’ve learned over many that there are lots of types of activism. Activism doesn’t always have a bullhorn. It’s not always calling people out on Twitter. That’s not always how you change hearts and minds. Look around. People are shouting at the top of their lungs and no one is listening. I’m not saying stop shouting, but don’t hate on the people who are doing work that looks different from yours.
You make fun of Harry wearing a shirt. Do you know how many people supported Planned Parenthood by buying that shirt after he wore it? I don’t have access to those stats but I’d bet money it was significant. There are people who say running with flags doesn’t matter. I disagree. There are people who say that Harry’s Treat People With Kindness merch is just a ploy. If it is, then I’d love to see more people follow suit. There are worse things to do than want people to be kind in the world. I’ll say it again HE HAS MUNA ON TOUR WITH HIM. He has a FEMALE DRUMMER in a rock and roll band. Go find me other male musicians operating at his level that have a female drummer. He also is REGULARLY in awe of her both in print, on TV, and in person.
You think these things aren’t a big deal because he’s not shouting. I say they ARE a big deal BECAUSE he’s not shouting. He’s not asking for any kind of recognition. He is just doing it. He’s normalizing female rock drummers. He’s normalizing rainbows at concerts. He’s normalizing the fact women are powerful.
Yep, Kiwi’s a single. You know why? It’s a JAM. I listened to all sorts of things on the way home from Phoenix with Ellie and Bri yesterday. And the jams are not songs that I want anything to do with lyrically. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to blast them in the car and sing along. Want to know other songs that are on the same jamming playlist? 24K Magic, Strip that Down, Jealous, Tik Tok, Jealous. They’re not feminist anthems but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a catchy song.
As I’ve said before, I can hold complicated feelings. I can want better for the future without discounting the now. I can look at the whole rather than expecting granular perfection. But I will NOT discount what Harry is doing because it doesn’t fit your idea of what activism SHOULD look like.