13 comments

  1. I won’t debate with you the meaning of Bruno’s lyrics. Every one is entitled to their own interpretation. Just wanted to make one thing clear: Bruno isn’t emulating Daft Punk. Treasure came out last year. Daft Punk released their album this year. If anyone is emulating it’s clearly DP.

    1. Oof. Simple fact-checking would’ve helped me on that one, but I was way too excited to rant! I’ll make an edit; thanks, Mary!

  2. Preaching to the choir here. Bruno Mars isn’t the only one who commits atrocities through the form of terrible lyrics with a scientifically hypnotizing beat. Lucky for me I haven’t listened to a “Top 20″s radio station in months. Great article! Keep it up girl!

    1. No, he certainly isn’t! I usually listen to an ’80s-til-now station because there’s a better mix and I love the ’80s and ’90s, but sometimes a pop artist like Bruno Mars will… pop up. Thanks Elise!

  3. wow talk about taking things way out of context…I wonder if it’s a cultural thing…something to ponder when I have way more time perhaps?

    I guess I’ll have to strongly disagree in general here — you have wonderful self esteem great but saying that someone who would enjoy being admired has low self esteem is a tad extreme no?

    No more specifically my issues with your grievance with his comment about “you walk around here like you want to be someone one else” might have NOTHING to do with “dressing or acting sexy” — there are plenty of people but for the sake of this song who are sexy JUST being them but they try to act a certain way because they think THAT is sexy and he’s saying “STOP you are sexy just being who you are”

    You never heard old school guys in movies/ tvs/ books/archived radio or video clips say things like “you’re too pretty to be crying all the time?” or something to that effect? It’s a doo wop era compliment — which is pretty much his style period it’s very old school and dramatic with the romantic overtones but in my opinion he’s anything but patronizing or misogynistic

    1. Hi Kelz,

      I’m going to approach each of your points, but I want to start by saying that this post is just my opinion, and never once do I say that Bruno Mars is explicitly trying to be misogynistic. As I start out, these are just lyrics that bother me, and I certainly don’t expect them to bother everyone, and I’m certainly not saying that everyone should hate the song and you’re not a feminist if you don’t. This was just a close reading of the lyrics as I heard them, and my reading of them has to do with my own experiences.

      That being said, I never say that someone who enjoys being admired has low self-esteem. I’m saying that in the song, the woman does not have high self-esteem in the way that she’s represented; she doesn’t know she’s sexy, or fine, or whatever. I don’t even know if she knows she’s being admired, to be honest. What I was saying is that the wording in these lyrics, and in One Direction’s, imply that a woman is beautiful because she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. The jump here, which maybe I shouldn’t have made, is that she doesn’t know she’s beautiful because she has low self-esteem, and that’s where the lyrics keep her.

      I totally agree with your next point. To be honest, I took that lyric as an opportunity to unpack the word “sexy” in popular culture. However, Bruno Mars does seem to say that she shouldn’t want to not be sexy, “You’re a sexy lady, but you walk around here like you wanna be someone else,” implying a binary: you must be sexy, or not. In retrospect, maybe I am looking too much into this, but as an English major, this is how my mind works!

      I really don’t care if guys in popular culture have used the phrase, “You’re too pretty to be crying;” in fact that actually helps my point that this idea pervades pop culture. And the doo wop era, which I’m going to assume is the ‘50s, was rife with men telling women how to behave. It still annoys me, although others obviously won’t have the same reaction.

      I tried to write the above post in a kind of whimsical, yet critical, way, and I’m glad you brought up the points that you did. As always, thanks for reading and probing my thought processes a bit more!

  4. Anonymous · · Reply

    Thank you for writing this, in the post-Cyrus firestorm mildly sexist songs like these fly under the radar, and that’s the part that kills me the most. I know just what my nominally feminist but charmingly naive mother would say about this song: that it is positive towards women because it advocates cherishing and valuing them. From the first time I heard it on the radio, I was struck by its retro stylings and its completely overt, unabashed sexism. Sorry to echo you, but from my perspective the two themes of the song are: 1) You don’t know who you are, I do and you need me to tell you; and 2) Object [bweet doo-doo], that is what you are [bweet doo-doo]. At least the televised bump-and-grind had an appealingly simple abandon to it. That strain of pop culture is rapidly approaching complete disinhibition, and while it is accomplished within a decidedly sexist framework, it’s got a lot of honesty to it: people just want to fuck. The more directly we can express that the more we pull out the Puritanical underpinnings of so many sexist perspectives. “Treasure,” on the other hand, is insidious in its sexism, because it is arguably (and you yourself have had to refute these arguments, I can see) just a song about “appreciating” women. It is exactly sexist enough to get away with it, and I can’t help but feel that that is no accident; whether by careful calculation or just by intuitively adhering to current norms, BM delicately trod *just* on the wrong side of the line, and that’s why I thank you, again, for calling it out.

    1. You’re very welcome, and I totally agree with you. I especially like this comment: “‘Treasure’ is insidious in its sexism, because it is arguable just a song about ‘appreciating’ women.” I think we can sum up the song nicely in the way you follow: It’s exactly sexist enough to get away with it. But then, so are SO MANY pop songs on the radio today, sadly. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Glad to know my thoughts are resonating with some~

  5. You need to lighten up, babe. ;)

  6. Well articulated thoughts about the lyrics of this song. It is what I call “candy coated sexism”. But Bruno is capable of so much more, how about his promoting rape culture along with propaganda that women enjoy, deserve and really want to be treated in abusive, degrading and rough ways – and in case a woman doesn’ t like to be submissive to being raped (how dare she) he throws in a few threats into his lyrics . Bruno=sexism celebrated at it’s worst Lyrics to Gorilla :
    A sampling…

    “Baby squirrel, you’s a sexy motherf@$!#%&”

    “Well, I’m digging a ditch
    For this gold-digging b#! $@%”

    Or…Gorilla

    “Ooh I got a body full of liquor
    With a cocaine kicker
    And I’m feeling like I’m thirty feet tall. So lay it down, lay it down

    You got your legs up in the sky
    With the devil in your eyes
    Let me hear you say you want it all
    Say it now, say it now

    Look what you’re doing, look what you’ve done
    But in this jungle you can’t run
    ‘Cause what I got for you
    I promise it’s a killer,
    You’ll be banging on my chest
    Bang bang, gorilla

    Ooh, yeah
    You and me baby making love like gorillas
    Ooh, yeah
    You and me baby making love like gorillas

    Yeah, I got a fistful of your hair
    But you don’t look like you’re scared
    You just smile and tell me, “Daddy, it’s yours.”
    ‘Cause you know how I like it,
    You’s a dirty little lover

    If the neighbors call the cops,
    Call the sheriff, call the SWAT ‒ we don’t stop,
    We keep rocking while they’re knocking on our door
    And you’re screaming, “Give it to like you wanna.
    Give it to me mother#! $@&$”

    Oh, look what you’re doing, look what you’ve done
    But in this jungle you can’t run
    ‘Cause what I got for you
    I promise it’s a killer,
    You’ll be banging on my chest
    Bang bang, gorilla

    Ooh, yeah
    You and me baby making love like gorillas
    Ooh, yeah
    You and me baby making love like gorillas

    I bet you never ever felt so good, so good
    I got your body trembling like it should, it should
    You’ll never be the same baby once I’m done with you
    You [x3]

    Oh, you with me baby making love like gorillas

    Ooh, yeah
    You and me baby we’ll be f#! $@#$ like gorillas
    Ooh, yeah (Yeah, yeah, baby, baby, oh yeah, yeah)
    You and me baby making love like gorillas”

    HOW IN THE WORLD DO WE THINK THIS IS OK???

    1. Wow, I’d never heard this song. The lyrics are gross. My least favorite part? “Let me hear you say you want it all – Say it now, say it now.” It’s almost like he’s trying to hypnotize her into submission. Thanks for reading the post! It looks like you could write a whole blog post on this song, too!

  7. Hi Allie, Superb review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I teach a Media English / Pop Culture class at a university in South Korea and I’d love to share your criticism with my class this semester. Do you mind? Thanks!

    1. Hi Paul! Thanks so much for reading, and I’m honored you’re considering sharing with your class – which sounds awesome, by the way. Go ahead! Let me know what the students think!

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