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Kanye opens the curtain

At first you started off real cool, singing meaningless pop songs about love and suffering, just like everybody else. Then you thought you'd make a statement, espousing female empowerment and putting your foot down against men who weren't making a contribution to a shared life. And really, I would have been with you all the way, except...

Except you espouse a philosophy that perpetuates a double standard. That men have to earn money to be valuable (in the case of "Bills, bills, bills") or that they'll only mean they love you when they've purchased you with a wedding ring (as in "Put a ring on it").

This is dangerous messaging in the public discourse. Though I totally agree that women should be proud to earn their own money, and should demand of men an equal contribution in the household, as well as expecting and receiving the same commitment and faithfulness they're willing to put in, the moment that you equate that singularly with providing cash or goods, the moment you disregard the statistical FACT that a great number of women do NOT earn money in the marketplace, and do NOT make an equal cash contribution to a union - married or not. And when you assume an arrangement that the men have to pay to be valued, you also - conversely and perversely - defend the women who don't, which simply prevents their non-market work from becoming more valuable.

By destroying the moment for Taylor Swift, Kanye pulled the curtain back on the whole MTV mask: the mask that says we're making meaningful music and authentic art. By promoting Beyonce's work as having more value than Swift's, he came crashing back down into the stage, proving that it's all just a show of most popular (which, at this point, is as much a phenomenon of marketing, distribution and access as it is about reaching the hearts and minds of the audience).

Even worse, Kanye apologized. To Swift, to the audience. I'm all for Kanye getting tore up and getting "real" on TV - in fact, given his track record of insightful public comments, I'd actually encourage it. What I don't want is for someone with his ego and his insight apologizing for having a say. It ruins his image, it undermines the value and accuracy of his statements, and it hands the power back to the marketing machine from which they've all sprung.

If you're going to tell everyone to fuck off, mean it. Never apologize.

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