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I swear I’m not one of those persnickety classical singers who can’t abide pop music, or who refuses to listen to Top 40 radio stations because that’s MUCH too mainstream. I love a good pop song. I have several Taylor Swift songs memorized, to say nothing of “Call Me Maybe” and “F*ck You” by Cee-Lo Green. There are more, but I won’t get into it. Suffice it to say, I have nothing against the genre.

However. Right now there is a trend in pop music that gets my goat in a big way.

It’s the “sensitive nice guy who just wants to make his girlfriend feel beautiful/wanted/worthwhile/better” song. And it gets my Spidey senses tingling, that part of me that grew up in an all-girls school where the motto was “With Wisdom She Lights the Way” and where it was drilled into us that girls could do anything and be anything, and that we didn’t need a man to define ourselves.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a man loving a woman exactly as she is. I mean, we’ve all seen this:

But that’s not what Bruno Mars and One Direction seem to be saying. The way I see it, making the absolute statement “You are amazing” removes any possibility of doubt or insecurity. Mark Darcy says, “I like you, just as you are,” which leaves Bridget Jones free, as always, to feel however she feels about her body. One Direction: “You’re beautiful, I can’t believe you’re so insecure.” Wow, One Direction, way to invalidate a girl’s feelings about her own body. Aren’t we entitled to look in the mirror and think we look fat? I’m not saying that’s totally healthy, but it’s real. It’s not something that is ever going to be erased by somebody telling us that we’re perfect exactly the way we are. Bridget Jones never stops obsessing about her weight.

And how about the arrogance of Neyo, suggesting that his love is going to help her learn to love herself? “Hey, girl, clearly because I love you you should love yourself.” It doesn’t work like that–unless he’s her therapist, and then he probably shouldn’t love her because we all know what happens to therapists who fall in love with their patients.

I don’t know, maybe I’m not articulating this very well. To me it just feels like male chauvinism cloaked in the 21st-century “nice guy” image. And it’s not like this is the first time in history that a man has sung a song about helping a woman feel worthwhile again.

Maybe my issue is that I don’t consider the current songs to be very GOOD pop songs, so the fact that their central theme is a guy having the solution to all of a woman’s self-esteem and self-worth issues irks me even more.

Any thoughts on this? All I know is I never want to hear that idiotic One Direction song ever again.


P.S. I am not excusing Taylor Swift. My current theory about her is that she sabotages relationships on purpose so she can write songs about how she knew he was trouble (trouble, trouble, trouble) when he walked in. Shame on her.