On Stereotypes & Talking Sh*t
“Shit Girls Say,” was the origin of a huge internet meme “Shit X Say” which showcased various cliches commonly associated with a particular group (in the original case, young women). Many of you have seen the twitter account, youtube videos, or even the book (yes, it’s a book now too!). And, “Shit Girls Say” is the topic of my composition to be performed at our concert The World Through Frames Without Lenses, on Dec 12, 2013.
I spent a lot of time contemplating what the popularity of this meme said about our culture, and it was actually the process of composing this piece that allowed me to arrive at some answers. I’ll admit it: those one-liners are funny. I’ll even admit this: they are funny because they are accurate. No one likes to be a stereotype, but many of my female friends have confessed to saying several of those ubiquitous girly phrases. I have uttered the fateful words “I love quinoa!” when honestly, if I was to be stranded on a dessert island and could take 50 foods with me… quinoa wouldn’t make the cut.
An important thing to keep in mind however, is that those tweets only represent the tip of the iceberg of what it means to identify as a “twenty-something girl” these days. So, for the rest of the iceberg, I wrote music that set excerpts from Margaret Atwood novels Surfacing, Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Edible Woman. All of these novels feature female protagonists who deal with topics including love, depression, education and employment, vanity, and power. I also included a very powerful excerpt from But I Love Him by Amanda Grace about a young woman’s experience of being with an abusive partner.
The music moves from serious to theatrical to funny and back again, as it switches between the Atwood excerpts and the “Shit Girls Say” tweets. This juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory portrayals of women, will hopefully provide the listener with an intimate glimpse into what it’s like to be a “girl”.
- Shannon Graham