Monday, July 06, 2015

Is "Good For You" good for Selena?

Photo via Selena Gomez's Facebook page
Selena Gomez’s transition from Disney kid to stadium-ready chanteuse has been a gradual one, and it’s been mostly smartly played. Even alongside the train wreck that is Justin Bieber she’s managed to come off looking poised, and powerful. Her collaboration with (current boyfriend?) Zedd plopped her in the middle of a smart pop EDM track that showed her voice was full enough to hold up against a wall of synths and boom-boom beats. It felt confident.

Which is why I find her first single off her forthcoming sophomore effort a little weird. “Good For you” isn’t a track that features the image of a woman showing her power, it’s sung from the viewpoint of someone who defines her worth by how her man perceives her. Which is actually something I find super weird. I mean, it’s an interesting sounding song—and the mix including A$AP Rocky embedded below is certainly the more sonically interesting of the two versions rolling around out there, even if it does remove any shred of ambiguity about the point of the song or who holds the power guiding the narrative.

Is it just because I’m old that this kind of squinks me out? Because I think it’s mostly the notion of a bunch of Gomez’s younger fans suddenly thinking the move of a grown up woman to attract a dude is to believe in the mantra “I just wanna look good for you, good for you / Let me show how proud I am to be yours” that makes me uneasy, because I’m pretty sure that’s not the best way to show you’re all grown up now. And I don’t think that the song as a whole can be argued as some positive attempt to give a woman agency in this particular exchange. The supplication is just, well, weird.

Or maybe I’m just a prude? Or worse, realizing I may have a daughter in the future and I’m going to have to explain stuff like this to her instead of just being confused by it myself?

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