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The Wolf

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Juliana Villanueva
Juliana Villanueva
Sports Editor

Cover song captures women’s history, entangled with fight against materialist treatment

Art+by+Lea+Olivares+Raudes+
Art by Lea Olivares Raudes

Within feminist Simone Beauvoir’s famous 1949 book The Second Sex – 900 pages I won’t pretend to have read in part or full – the French philosopher proposes in an introduction that the root problem of women’s inequality comes from their perception not as an inferior but an “other”; she explains, humanity “…defines woman not in herself but as relative to him,” and adds, “he is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.”

According to Beauvoir, this is the origin of women’s materialist treatment, the primary seed from which a material view of women sprouts in initially innocent and unnoticed ways. Women’s perception as objects, as a different entity that, relative to the observer, becomes an alien material possession, comes from this opening characterization as the other

In an intersection of this issue’s materialism theme, this section’s entertainment focus, and this month’s women’s history appreciation, a show of this particular development can be most appropriately understood through a review of recent acclaimed noise rock band Daughters’ cover of The Cramps 1986 song “What’s Inside a Girl?”

While I’m not a big fan of The Cramps or any cover music – partially from being subjected to so much of it at my horrible retail job sophomore year – this song is amazing. Whether knowingly or not, The Cramps’ ingenious lyrics and Daughters’ rejuvenating production perfectly communicates Beauvoir’s thesis in an entertaining and interesting way.

The song – despite what braindead online articles’ surface-level analysis suggests – is not a “playful exploration of growing up,” but instead the description of a highly specific process we all go through, one where a conditioned view of the world that segregates each gender from another in seemingly innocuous ways is fully displayed.

Focusing on a young boy’s evolving perception of women, the repeated question is asked, “what’s inside a girl?” A series of mystical and isolating descriptions begin, in an inquisitive stairwell that eventually leads to the boy separating women from himself, and understanding them only relative to men. In the finishing lines of the song, the distance is made clear, with the boy deciding the task is as impossible to accomplish as women are to know, a puzzle analogous to him “tak[ing] apart his toys.”

This is the natural development and clear reflection of a patriarchy not protected through direct enforcement, but instead, subtle conditioning, all captured through a surprisingly good and underappreciated cover song. Women are obviously not the same as men but, as Beauvoir ends, should be seen as different under the overarching label of “human beings,” and only in this way “[may] aspire to full membership in the human race.”



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About the Contributor
Liam Frith
Liam Frith, Entertainment Editor
Hi, my name is Liam and I'm a junior. This is my first year on staff. I joined The Wolf because I enjoy writing and would love to contribute to our school paper. In my free time I like to skateboard, read, and listen to music.

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