Friday, June 26, 2009

Billie Jean is Not My Lover or Friday Feminist Super Hero: Michael Jackson Edition

I naming Michael Jackson as today's Survival of the Feminist Friday Super Hero! You might think it's a stretch, but I don't. I think he fucked with conceptions of gender, broke racial barriers, he entertained us, and worked to end AIDs and starvation in Africa, and doing it in sparkling socks with revolutionary dance moves. He saw the world's problems as our problems and he did something about it when he conceptualized "We Are the World."

His music has stood the test of time for me much in the way Prince's music has. It's still relevant and FUN!!! I was entertained by him. I was, like so many others my age, drawn to his sparkle, his crotch-grabbing, hotter than hot dance moves. He was a one gloved, military jacket and skinny pants sporting, kicking it in his penny loafers pop singer. He was the curly-headed everything!!!And, his songs were the greatest of their time, maybe of anytime in the history of pop music. He was the King of Pop. He gets center-stage today because I am very moved by the suddenness of how he died, and I feel a lot of compassion for his children, his family, his friends, and for him.

In 1982 I was a 12 year-old kid in the middle of rural Wisconsin with some birthday money and a record player and Thriller is what I bought. What I played over and over and over again, much to my father's chagrin. I danced his dances, and I moonwalked (badly)all over the basement. Other music has had a great impact on me for sure, but this was my first album, and boy was it a doosey. The energy, the music, the poppiness of it. Wow.

Michael Jackson was to Generation X, what the Beatles were for our parents. He transformed us.

He was also human, and in the public's view he did a lot of weird stuff, stuff we don't understand, stuff that may have harmed others....children. We don't know the reality of his life. I'm not suggesting guilt or innocence, but I do know he brought a certain kind of joy to my life and broke down racial barriers for entertainers to come. That is what I appreciate about Michael Jackson, and how I will remember him. has some pretty smart takes on the impact Michael has had on our society, and, in turn what that society has done to him.


  1. I agree with you that he has done a lot of good, but it is also interesting and quite disturbing to see his performance in the music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel." Michael sells some pretty anti-feminist notions in this one, and he basically glamourizes sexual harassment.

  2. You're right, cabralvm. Definitely not advancing the feminist agenda on that one (and a lot more, I'm sure). Well, I think it is a stretch to name him a "feminist hero" for sure, but I can't help liking what he gave us that was good and I feel pretty rotten that he's gone.