Furtado and feminism: more alike than she thinks

Jackie Mantey

I shave my legs. I love men. I am a feminist.

According to Nelly Furtado, one of these things is not like the other.

You can’t miss her new single, “Promiscuous.” It’s everywhere you turn — the radio, the TV, the annoying girl on your floor who won’t listen to anything else. No lies, it’s a good song, but a far, far cry from the “Like a Bird” songstress we were used to.

Along with the change in musical style is a change in Furtado’s attitude; a change that, once again, sends feminists fuming.

In mid-July, Furtado told contactmusic.com that she had turned her back on feminism because she felt it had “brainwashed” her into hating men. She admitted (as if it were a crime) that she had experimented with women’s rights when she first popped on the music scene but since becoming a single mom, she has become man’s biggest fan.

“I went through a feminist phase and read a lot of philosophical stuff,” she reportedly said. Some of the male-bashing brainwashed me for a bit, so I stopped. I love men.”

I’ll be the first to divulge that finding your place in the ideals of feminism is not an easy one. Inner arguments and confusion are sure to arise when going through the contradictory subsets of feminist theory, but it is frustrating that yet another famous woman has generalized the struggle behind the belief. Once again, feminists are clumped into the man-hating, femi-nazi stereotype.

The irony of Furtado’s statement lies in the fact that she is a single mom and her lyrics to “Promiscuous” are really a form of feminism in itself.

If feminism had not happened, she would not be a successful, single mom. She would still be talented, but poor and ostracized from a society that saw her lifestyle as socially unacceptable. Simply dismissing the efforts of the movement and those who fought to make her success possible is a sign that she just doesn’t get it.

Even more obvious is that although she seems to have sold out in the most Jewel-“Intuition” sense of the term, Furtado’s lyrics make me see a woman who supports the idea of feminism, but is terrified to admit it because it would ruin her sudden fame.

For example, she sings “You expect me to just let you hit it/ but will you still respect me if you get it?/ What kind of girl do you take me for?/ I’m a big girl, I can handle myself.”

Hello? What can get more feminist than that. She asserts her sexuality but makes that silly Mr. Timbaland understand that she will be no sex object.

I understand how some of that “philosophical stuff” she may have read would appear daunting, but as with any movement’s literature, it is important to know the background of the individual who wrote it and the circumstance of the time period they wrote it.

It’s not as if we all agree with Valerie Solanas’ statement that men only have “the dubious purpose of reproduction” and are an “incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage.” Her SCUM Manifesto is one written after severe sexual abuse. Other feminist theories written before the 19th Amendment contain strong words and overwhelming ideas, but those strong words were needed at the time to make a statement.

So do yourself a favor, Nelly and all of you who generalize the concept of feminism, and take the time to read different theories and ideas and learn that it is about fighting for equality, not destroying all things penis.

Jackie Mantey is a junior magazine journalism major and assistant Forum editor. Contact her at [email protected]