About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English. In 2020, I released my debut novel 'Fragmentariërs' (it's written in Dutch, though who knows I may one day make an English translation).

Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa's Summer hit is atrocious

Frankly, I'm rather neutral on Calvin Harris's work. I own Dua Lipa's self-titled debut album and I think it makes for a good pop record. I also enjoyed her empowering songs like 'New rules' and 'IDGAF', which will probably be very recognisable to a lot of girls and women. So go Dua!

But I hate - and I turn off the radio every time I hear it - her collaboration with Calvin Harris. On an artistic level, it sounds bland and low on energy, like the kind of generic cocktail bar elevator music you might hear in some non-descript seaside pop-up. But the lyrics are even more galling.

The accused in case: "I look like all you need." I like Dua Lipa's music, but I have a big problem with this line of hers. I'm all for female empowerment and I'm all for tearing down patriarchy. What I'm not for is replacing it with an entitled attitude. Any woman who would ever say that phrase to me would get the boot. Shocked? Imagine a man saying that to a woman. Yes - the context is different, in that male entitlement is a huge issue (leading some men to outright murder women), but adding female entitlement is hardly a solution to gender issues.

"I look like all you need" is just the Coca-Cola guy of feminism. Creating a female gaze doesn't erase the male gaze, and objectifying men doesn't reduce objectification of women. It sounds tone-deaf and narcissistic. It syncs up with a movement where people are supposed to not have any standards when it comes down to female beauty. And while I recognize that society's tastes have been super-narrow for decades, moulded by fashion giants and the media, replacing that taste with an equally forcible image isn't going to make things better.

Have I been infected by patriarchy and its absurd ideals of beauty? Absolutely. Am I, as a man, also not living up to the increasingly popular idea of a man as a muscular, athletic guy? Also, yes. But to be truly inclusive and broad, we need to remove this kind of zero-sum game from the equation altogether.

No, 'One kiss' is not all it takes.