Award Ceremonies, Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” and Are Men Feeling Under Siege?

I’ve been putting off writing this post for some time as I could land myself in hot water, but I hope not. Last week I tried to stand up for all those young people (like darling daughter), who through no fault of their own have had to suffer the ignominy of returning home to their old school bedrooms. This week I’m standing up for all those decent guys, like Mr WIAA, who have never “behaved inappropriately” towards women, but in light of the rise of certain “movements” must be feeling as if their gender is under siege. (He says no, but I’m using him as a for instance.)

Unlike in previous years, I’ve not yet mentioned any of this year’s big award ceremonies and that would be because I’ve found them both confusing, and troubling. Two years ago I wrote about the Grammys and the Brit Awards – I always enjoy these big extravaganzas as I’m often exposed to new music I may have missed out on in the course of the year, but no, back in 2016 everything was highly predicable and the “Suits”, as Adele called them, would have been very pleased with themselves as well-established, bankable artists took away most of the top prizes.

Last year, the most memorable segments of these two shows for me, were the tributes paid to George Michael and I wrote about both (albeit a bit scathingly at the time although I have since mellowed). This year the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements featured prominently at both music and film award ceremonies but it kind of all got a bit too much I thought. No-one, absolutely no-one with any sense, would condone the kind of harassment, inequality, discrimination or abuse of power cited by these movements but god forbid you leave the house without your white rose or decide to eschew the obligatory black dress – In both cases you would face being named and shamed (the apolitical, pregnant future queen was even pulled up for her choice of a green dress at the BAFTAs).

First of all we had the Grammys and although not as relevant as our home-grown Brit Awards, usually something there of note – Kendrick Lamar swept the board and although I do get why he is so popular, impossible for me to really empathise with his lyrics, not coming from “the hood” an’ all. Incidentally I also still find it weird that James Corden, he of Gavin and Stacey, Comic Relief and Carpool Karaoke fame now hosts the Grammys (who would have predicted that a decade ago) but unless he is really good at faking it, his enthusiasm does shine through, albeit in an bit of an annoying fashion.

JaJanelle-Monae_-2018-GRAMMY-Awards--03-662x1077nelle Monae, dressed in a very serious looking suit, introduced one of the artists and made a powerful speech dedicated to the Time’s Up movement finishing off with these words – “We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try to silence us, we offer two words: Time’s Up”. She was scary indeed and if I was a man in the audience who had committed any of the offences she had listed, I would quite rightly have been very worried. And here is my point, even if I was a man who hadn’t committed any of the offences, I would still have been feeling pretty worried, which surely must be wrong.

But hey, it was an awards show so what about the performances. One of the most flamboyant of the evening was when James introduced Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi who sang their infectious summer hit Despacito. It was impossible however to concentrate on the pair much at all, as the focus of attention was very much on dancer Zuleyka Rivera who joined them onstage. The Puerto Rican star, a former Miss Universe (didn’t even know that kind of contest still existed) danc911531830ed alongside the singers in a sheer bodysuit with strategically placed gold embellishments. I did a double-take at one point not quite believing what I was seeing. And here is my point again, having just been admonished for their offences against the sisterhood, was it appropriate for the men in the audience to admire Ms Rivera’s obvious talents, or would that have seemed like “inappropriate” behaviour? Argh… – It’s a quagmire. I watched the show with DD and she thought nothing of the naked-suit, so it was a generation thing it seems. Her view was that the girl was a dancer so had the right to wear whatever costume was fitting for the performance. Like Janelle, Zuleyka was a similarly powerful and strong woman  – How can men compete nowadays with these Amazonian females?

britsAt the end of February, along came our own Brit Awards – This time the host was Jack Whitehall who I thought did a pretty good job considering it must be one of the trickiest presenting jobs in the annual calendar. Plenty of white roses on display again and a few messages of solidarity were sent out to the Time’s Up movement by those handing out and receiving awards. Kendrick Lamar popped up again but about half his song had to be muted which seemed a waste of airtime, but because of his lyrics, how it has to be it seems on mainstream telly.

Yet again we had plenty of strong women performing on the night, but who could have predicted a decade ago that two young women whose respective Albanian parents moved to the UK from Kosovo in the 1990s, would now both be successful recording artists and appear on the same Brit Awards show. Both Dua Lipa and Rita Ora put in very impressive performances and despite my reservations about the need to wear such skimpy stage outfits, DD was yet again fully in favour. Dua’s swimsuit was apparently to marry up with the video for her song and Rita’s duet with Liam Payne was from the soundtrack to the latest 50 Shades movie, so it was never going to be demure. Someone else who was present at the awards ceremony, but not performing, was Anne-Marie whose singing style I am quite fond of. Another strong woman who is, believe it or not, a three times Karate World Champion. Hope no-one ever tries to behave “inappropriately” toward her.

Someone who made a pretty big impression on me this year was Stormzy – He won the award for Album of the Year which I think is the “big one”. Although I knew of him, I wasn’t that familiar with his music. He came across as being shy, humble, and very spiritual when receiving his award but my goodness, once he got up to perform we saw another side of him and if Theresa May had been watching (unlikely), she would have seen that post-Grenfell, he was none too happy with her or her government. Stormzy, despite getting very wet, gave us probably one of the most memorable Brit Awards performances ever (link here).

images42E36RLZ

So, “What’s It All About?” – It really looks as if time is up for those who have discriminated against, abused or harassed women in any way, which of course is a good thing. We must remember however that not all of those with a Y chromosome have ever behaved in such a way, and never would. From what I hear, DD’s experiences as a young woman have been quite different to those I faced at the same age – There can’t be many females of my generation for whom #MeToo won’t apply, but it seems that even before these movements took off, the vast majority of today’s young men are already fully aware of how they should behave toward women in the 21st century.

As for these powerful Amazonian women, it seems that back in the day when we all had to wear a lot more clothes (my mum would have insisted), there was a lot more “inappropriate behaviour”. Now that women are a lot more confident (DD would run rings round my younger self), the clothes are skimpier, but the behaviour is better. Who would have guessed. I will leave you with the woman of the hour, Dua Lipa, who won two awards this year at the Brits. In her 2017 song New Rules, she is making sure she keeps her distance from someone she has broken up with, and who is bad for her – She is a strong woman and she is “taking charge”.

As part of her acceptance speech at the ceremony, I seem to remember Dua saying that women were going to take over the world and from what I’ve seen of late, it looks as if it just might be on the cards. Enough now I think – No-one should be getting all Dr Evil here, so time for some balance to be restored between the sexes. When we put our minds to it, we should all get along just fine.

And on that note, time to sign off for today. As ever, I’d love to hear from you, and I always reply.

New Rules Lyrics
(Song by Caroline Ailin/Emily Warren/Ian Kirkpatrick)

One, one, one…

Talkin’ in my sleep at night
Makin’ myself crazy
(Out of my mind, out of my mind)
Wrote it down and read it out
Hopin’ it would save me
(Too many times, too many times)
My love, he makes me feel like nobody else
Nobody else
But my love, he doesn’t love me, so I tell myself
I tell myself

One, don’t pick up the phone
You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone
Two, don’t let him in
You’ll have to kick him out again
Three, don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself

I keep pushin’ forwards, but he keeps pullin’ me backwards
(Nowhere to turn) no way
(Nowhere to turn) no
Now I’m standing back from it, I finally see the pattern
(I never learn, I never learn)
But my love, he doesn’t love me, so I tell myself
I tell myself
I do, I do, I do

One, don’t pick up the phone
You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone
Two, don’t let him in
You’ll have to kick him out again
Three, don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself

Practice makes perfect
I’m still tryna’ learn it by heart
(I got new rules, I count ’em)
Eat, sleep, and breathe it
Rehearse and repeat it, ’cause I
(I got new, I got new, I…)

One, don’t pick up the phone
You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone
Two, don’t let him in
You’ll have to kick him out again
Three, don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
(Oh, whoa-oh)
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
(Baby, you know I count ’em)
I gotta tell them to myself

Don’t let him in, don’t let him in
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t be his friend, don’t be his friend
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t let him in, don’t let him in
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t be his friend, don’t be his friend
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
You gettin’ over him

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

10 thoughts on “Award Ceremonies, Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” and Are Men Feeling Under Siege?”

  1. Alyson, this is brilliant. You’ve articulated it so well, thank you. I totally get what you’re saying and all the men I know as friends are decent, respecting, sorted and treat me as equal. Of course there’s every justification to speak out against those who aren’t and I’m very glad, as a woman, that our voices are being heard, but I often worry about it becoming a “women versus men” situation and as you say, the danger of those good men feeling under siege, and not knowing how to navigate all the complexities and contradictions that presents. Also this thing about showing your support of a cause in a very obvious way, like the black dress/white rose thing – this seems to happen a lot with many different causes and there’s a kind of weird assumption that if you *don’t* actively join in with it then somehow that means you must by default have the opposite views! Ridiculous! No-one should ever feel under pressure to have to do what someone else dictates as being the way to show support for a cause, and then be vilified for not doing so.

    Interesting what you say about your daughter’s attitude and experiences and I was heartened by that. Like most (all?) women of our age, I’ve had my own experiences of harrassment, inappropriate and uninvited behaviour, without ever having dressed provocatively; I always just had to shrug it off as being something that sadly goes with the territory of being female, but I never assumed it was indicative of ALL men’s behaviour or attitude. I’m very glad to think that the majority of young men today already have that inbuilt awareness of how to behave.

    Also I think we all just need to get a grip and some perspective at times. I spent a number of years working with a lot of men, many of whom at spend time at sea in the merchant navy, so it was quite a bawdy atmosphere at times. They were mostly really lovely blokes too and there was a great sense of camaraderie. I remember one day working with one of them, a very open cheeky chappy type, I’d gone to give him some papers at his desk, we had a bit of a laugh about something and as I turned to go he gave me a quick pat on my bum! I hope this makes sense but I absolutely knew it was nothing sordid, it was almost like an affectionate gesture, almost subconscious, like a part of our banter, and I wasn’t in the least bit offended or worried, but I realised straight away that he was mortified at having done that! If one of the older men with whom I didn’t get on with so naturally, and who had a more condescending attitude to me had done that, it would have been a very different matter. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that there is a need for context too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phew, glad you approve as a few ladies of a certain age have got themselves into a bit of bother giving their opinions on this matter but hopefully I’ll fly under the radar here.

      Yes, it seems that as we evolve, attitudes and behaviours change anyway but they do sometimes need to come sharply into focus in order to really take hold. I am heartened by DD’s experiences (although I am aware she might just be one of the lucky ones) but somehow I seem to have produced a supremely confident young woman who is very comfortable dealing with men of all ages, whereas at her age I was certainly not. I didn’t experience many #MeToo moments thankfully but when I did it was usually a result of misread signals rather than anything more sinister (but just goes to show what a quagmire it is).

      Funnily enough the idea for this post came from Rol’s place when we both chipped in with our “contriving to bump into the person we were keen on” stories. Hadn’t ever thought of it as stalking before but I’m sure it still goes on – We ended up married (as did you it seems) so all turned out well but if you are a man nowadays would you dare do such a thing for fear of it being construed as stalking? – Argh… A quagmire and all down to the context as you say.

      It would be nice to hear from a man on this subject but it might be just you and I this week appearing in the comments boxes. Mr WIAA says he has not changed his behaviour at all but then he wouldn’t have to – I do sometimes worry for him though as the way things are going, someone might emerge from the woodwork saying that he “touched their knee” 30 years ago. He says not but strange times we are living in.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to be decent to everyone, but in my 20’s, both my (older) sisters sometimes called me a male chauvinist pig. I think they were joking, at least I hope they were. I grew up in a family where my da always handed over his unopened pay packet to my mum and she was in charge of EVERYTHING, including my da. Between my ma and my sisters, I learned how to cook at an early age and through them had an idea of how women viewed the world. When I started having girlfriends, all their mums seemed to like me because I always helped with the washing up! Although maybe they thought I was just “a sook” (Scots word). I will admit to stalking one female who went on to become my partner for several years. Even though she later expressed surprise when I owned up to what I’d done to get her to go out with me. I think if there were more families where boys had older sisters, the world would be a more tolerant place. But maybe that’s just me. Left on their own, men will act badly and use sexist terms they wouldn’t in mixed company and I think the “man’s man” types become obnoxious – and worse – because they’re never challenged by others to explain their attitudes. Well, that’s my tuppenceworth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for dropping by and giving your input from a male perspective. Funny that you say your dad handed over the pay packet and left everything to your mum – Maybe it’s a Scottish thing because in my family it was just the same. At work dad managed lots of men and big contracts but at home my mum was the boss. I always laugh when I hear that Bacharach song “Wives and Lovers” as if any of the mums/farmer’s wives I knew growing up were told they would have to rush around putting a ribbon in their hair for their husband coming home from work, there would have been no supper!

      As for having older sisters, or sisters of any age, yes I think it does help. By the same token I didn’t have any brothers and so was really shy with boys compared to the girls who did have older brothers. If you lack confidence with the opposite sex when you are young that is sometimes when signals are misread and you can get yourself into tricky situations. Then again, my daughter doesn’t have any brothers and she seems to have no problem dealing with the opposite sex but maybe it’s like I was saying above, girls nowadays are make of stronger stuff and they “don’t take no s**t” from any man! Scary.

      I am of course not naive and realise when in male-only company, some men still act quite badly and the locker room talk will not always favourable to women. Thing is, although I am not a fan of female only get-togethers or “hen-night” type scenarios, I know that the women are now sometimes as bad as the men with locker room type talk – I went to the theatre to see the stage show of The Full Monty a while back but I think some of the ladies in the audience had mistaken what kind of show they were coming along to, and it was all pretty shocking how they treated some of the male actors on stage. We have a bit of a way to go yet it seems.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  3. Hi Alyson.
    It’s pretty amazing to me how quickly some big stars have fallen because of the power of social media and the instant reach of other internet outlets: Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Charlie Rose, and quite a few others. Their careers might be over. And all of this has happened outside the legal system, though maybe lawsuits and trials are forthcoming.

    Is this a good thing? A bad thing?
    I’m not sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right of course – So many have fallen from grace of late because of the power of social media. Everything internet-driven is moving at a faster pace than changes in the law can keep up. Most troubling aspect is where children/teenagers are concerned – They are protected in so many more ways nowadays than we ever were, but not when it comes to that phone or tablet they hook into all day long.

      I’m tempted to think there is no smoke without fire but if someone is wrongly “outed” for some misdemeanour, for malicious reasons, their career will be over anyway as no-one ever remembers who was then cleared later on. As this is a music blog (supposedly!), I’m just worried about when they start going after the rock stars – I may have to “trash” half my posts. Hope not!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a very casual interest in The Grammys but I did watch a few highlights. Was happy Best Rock Album went to The War on Drugs(actually nothing to do with drugs). Bruno Mars won tons but just isn’t my taste in music. I get what you’re saying about Kendrick Lamar, the inability to relate to ”the hood” is the reason I stopped listening to hip hop of late, though I do think his song Fear is good and taps into universal feelings, here’s a link if you want to try it: https://moviesandsongs365.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/top-50-songs-of-2017-countdown-30-26/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit, I recorded the show and then watched the highlights myself as very long – As for the Kendrick Lamar song, I clicked on the link and then actually searched for the lyrics – They do make sense and I feel as if I know the man better now. Powerful stuff but I’m never going to be a big fan at this stage in life – That ship has sailed!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well put, Alyson – though I think DD’s experience of young men appears rather blessed (lucky her). In my experience, there are still plenty of oafs out there. But as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m just glad I’m not young, free and single anymore… it was hard enough when I was. I wouldn’t stand a chance nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes maybe DD has not had the misfortune to come across the less well-behaved young men and I do sometimes worry she is a bit too trusting. Awful to have to think that though.

      Ha ha – I think we’d all like to be young again but the “free and single” life just sounds so complicated nowadays (and so much money spent on grooming!). They are welcome to it.

      Like

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