How Today’s Young Women Learned to Sing the Truth About Hookup Culture
Gen X to Millennial changes in attitude about love from the lyrical stylings of Alanis Morissette, P!nk, and Katy Perry.
October 4, 2012 - 7:00 am
Both P!nk and Alanis experienced broken homes and otherwise difficult childhoods and both have had rocky love lives, but unlike Alanis, who had long since broken with the men she ranted about, P!nk’s love life has mostly involved her longtime boyfriend and now husband Carey Hart. Many of her other popular songs, notably “Who Knew,” are about him. She sings about his various shortcomings. But yet, she stays. P!nk is self-aware enough to admit at least some womanly responsibility for relationship woes in her lyrics, as in “Please Don’t Leave Me“ and “I Don’t Believe You,” but in her videos she exacts all sorts of revenge on him.
The truth that P!nk sings: as the hookup culture solidified and men became less dependable, women resigned themselves to the new normal and became less angry and more likely to stick around. That women had to put up with lesser men was hardly progress. That they satisfied the remnants of their anger in petty revenge and airing of dirty laundry wasn’t progress, either. (Airing of dirty laundry is common. Carey Hart got off easy in comparison to the husbands of the authors of The Bitch in The House.)
Eventually, probably in emotional self-defense, women stopped caring about men at all. For Millennials, it doesn’t matter what the guy is like. They have so few expectations that they have no need for anger. It is all just fun… for now.
The pursuit of fun is the truth Katy Perry sang last summer. “Last Friday Night” would make an excellent anthem for the hookup culture. A riff on the innocent, last horseman of the pop music apocalypse, “Friday” by Rebecca Black,”Last Friday Night” is a not-at-all-innocent song about what girls do on Friday nights. Friday night involves drinking a lot of alcohol, forgetting assorted antics, waking up with strangers in bed, and piecing the night together using photos posted on Facebook. Mistakes, or “epic fails,” are just what a girl does on Friday night. Regardless of the consequences, next Friday night, “we’ll do it all again.”
And this is supposed to be a good development.
So, how did this all play out for these rockers?