Daily Archives: January 19, 2015

Of Mondegrens and Messages #Your Turn Challenge

I’ve signed up to participate in Seth Godin’s challenge to blog every day about things that matter to us. I submitted mine this morning, and while I wait for it to go live I thought I’d share. I’m bothered by the messages deluging us throughout our lives. How a ‘good girl’ acts. How to ‘be a lady.’ How to show proper respect. The messages are deep seated and insidious so this week I’m sharing some of what I’ve observed. Not everyone will agree with me, which is fine. Open exchange of opinions is so healthy.

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We all know about mondegrens…misunderstood song lyrics, some of which can be pretty darned funny. One favorite is “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” in particular the refrain: “There’s a warm wind blowing..” and then either “…the starts are out” or “…the stars around” I’ve seen it written both ways. Since this song was playing when my late husband proposed to me you’d think I’d know the words better.

I can remember the DJ explaining it was “Please LOCK me away” before he played “A World Without Love.” Now that goes way back. I haven’t listened to DJs since…well a long time ago.

Right around that same way back time I started listening to moody, bluesy songs, which often lamented the difficulties of lost love and misunderstandings. And though I was a young (very young) woman in a society where males were automatically leaders and Father always Knew Best, I found myself questioning lyrics.

Such as How Important Can It Be? I heard the next line as “That I tasted utterly,” and thought ‘Nonsense, like the male she’s moaning about hasn’t done it with multiple women before he met her.’ Just recently I pulled this song up again, and realized I had totally misheard. The actual wording is “That I tasted OTHER LIPS.” What??? She’s feeling guilty because she kissed someone before she met this current heart throb? And her community is ostracizing her?

What sort of message did this send to young people trying to find their own identities? Stay away from girls who are not totally inexperienced? Judge women to a higher standard than males? Pile on the guilt until you break a girl’s spirit?

And people wonder why women took up feminism to help with their identities. I’d like to think this is in our past but sadly I’m afraid it’s not. Which will be the theme of this seven days of blogging.


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