Masculinity and Fidelity in Pop Music

By Tristan Bridges

Two songs that seemed like they were on the radio every time I tuned into a pop station last summer were Omi’s single, “Cheerleader” (originally released in 2015) and Andy Grammar’s song, “Honey, I’m good” (originally released in 2014). They’re both songs written for mass consumption. Between 2014 and 2015, “Cheerleader” topped the charts in over 20 countries around the world. And, while “Honey, I’m Good” had less mass appeal, it similarly found its way onto top hit lists around the world.

They’re different genres of music. But they both fall under the increasingly meaningless category of “pop.”  Pop musicAnd, because they both gained popularity around the same time, it was possible to hear them back to back on radio stations across the U.S.  Both songs are about the same issue: each are ballads sung by men celebrating themselves for being faithful in their heterosexual relationships.  Below is Omi’s “Cheerleader.” The video is here. Here is the chorus:

“All these other girls are tempting / But I’m empty when you’re gone / And they say / Do you need me? / Do you think I’m pretty? / Do I make you feel like cheating? / And I’m like no, not really cause / Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader / She is always right there when I need her / Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader / She is always right there when I need her”

In Omi’s song, he situates himself as uninterested in cheating because he’s found a woman who believes in him more than he does. And this, he suggests, is worth his fidelity. Though, he does admit to being tempted, which also works to situate him as laudable because he “has options.”

Andy Grammar’s song is a different genre. And like Omi’s song, it’s catchy (though, apparently less catchy if pop charts are a good measure). Grammar’s video is dramatically different as well. It’s full of couples lip syncing his song while claiming amounts of time they’ve been faithful to one another. Again, and for comparison, the video is here; below is the chorus:

“Nah nah, honey I’m good / I could have another but I probably should not / I’ve got somebody at home, and if I stay I might not leave alone / No, honey I’m good, I could have another but I probably should not / I’ve gotta bid you adieu and to another I will stay true” Continue reading “Masculinity and Fidelity in Pop Music”

Goodbye to the barbershop?

By Kristen Barber

Cross-posted with permission from The Conversation on August 7, 2016 here

With their red, white and blue striped poles, dark Naugahyde chairs and straight razor shaves, barbershops hold a special place in American culture.

But numbers show that barbershops are dwindling. According to census data, from 1992 to 2012 we saw a 23 percent decrease in barbershops in the United States (with a slight uptick in 2013).

As a sociologist, I find barbershops fascinating because they’ve also traditionally been places where men spend time with other men, forming close relationships with one another in the absence of women. Many patrons will even stop by daily to simply chat with their barbers, discuss the news or play chess. A real community is created in these places, and community is important to health and well-being.

So how should we interpret the decline of the barbershop? Is it yet another sign that, according to Robert Putnam in “Bowling Alone,” our community ties are crumbling? Or should we really be looking at just what sort of men are no longer getting haircuts at a barbershop – and what sort of men still go there? Continue reading “Goodbye to the barbershop?”

Benchmarking American Men to Transform Tiger Dads

By Allen Kim and Karen Pyke

Asian MenIn South Korea, a movement has emerged that helps men to answer the fundamental question: What does it mean to be a man and father today? The Father School movement mobilizes fathers to become actively involved in their families. The movement enjoyed rapid growth following the 1997 Asian economic crisis, when many South Korean men lost their jobs overnight. With their breadwinning roles threatened, many fathers began questioning their identities and family roles, leading them to seek answers through participation in the Father School movement. Combining ethnographic observation with content analysis of organization and participant documents, we illustrate how movement leaders and participants glorify American manhood in attempting to forge a new Korean masculinity. Continue reading “Benchmarking American Men to Transform Tiger Dads”

Farewell Parks and Recreation, You Exquisite Little Feminist Fish

By Jessamyn Neuhaus

Parks and Recreation was the most feminist show on TV ever—just ask the Internet. Web behemoths, pop culture critics, academics, and assorted bloggers all agree that the show regularly alluded to and extolled feminist principles. The women characters were varied and multifaceted. Neuhaus_image1The men characters wittily satirized masculine stereotypes and at times embodied feminist values. And Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was a dedicated civil servant and proud feminist who championed women’s empowerment and political advancement. As Marama Whyte summarized: “It shouldn’t feel revolutionary to watch the hero of a TV show declare themselves a feminist, but it does.” Continue reading “Farewell Parks and Recreation, You Exquisite Little Feminist Fish”

From Tiger Mothers To Fresh Off The Boat: Eddie Huang’s Mom Is Not Every Asian-American Mom

by Miliann Kang
Originally posted at the Huffington Post’s Motherwoman blog  here. Cross-posted with permission.

 

The collective sigh of relief by many Asian Americans after the first few episodes of Fresh Off the Boat contrasts with the anger and anxiety that followed Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. But is relief the best we can hope for? Continue reading “From Tiger Mothers To Fresh Off The Boat: Eddie Huang’s Mom Is Not Every Asian-American Mom”