blackfrancine: (HIMYM: Robin the Scherbatsky)
[personal profile] blackfrancine
I saw Marina and the Diamonds on Craig Ferguson’s show several months back. That was my first exposure to them. And, honestly, I really didn’t fall in love: I thought the 80s throwback style was just a little over the top for me. So when I started hearing her name thrown around more often, I kind of dismissed it. I thought I knew that I wasn’t impressed and that I didn’t want to hear any more. I had nothing against her. Just… not all that curious. But, then all these people who love the same music I love said that they loved Marina. So, I finally got my mitts on some of her music yesterday, and I basically have been listening to it ever since.

And… I’ve been looking up interviews with her and watching music videos and videos of live performances and looking at pictures of her. I’m, in a word, obsessed.

There’s a lot to love about her music: the unabashed pop aesthetic—turned up to the point of parody. The combination of femininity and darkness. The conflicting sensations of carefree pop music and lyrics that mine deep into the collective feminine psyche (or collective human psyche).

And in interviews Marina herself seems lovely: she makes a point of modeling her work on that of strong female songwriters—but she doesn’t limit her influences. Masculine, feminine, punk, pop, whatever. I find it all incredibly appealing.

What does this have to do with boobs, you ask? Well, if you have to ask that, then you probably have never seen Marina Diamondis. She’s a brick house: the girl is stacked, and that’s a fact. I mean, seriously. She has an unreal body. Not literally unreal, though. Just… unbelievable.

Ahem. See what I mean?

But what I find really interesting is Marina’s personal style. She’s adorable—let me just put that out there. She really is. And she does have a very indie, 80s retro thing going with her clothes and hair and makeup. But she also has a very zany, Karen O type of superhero vibe: lots of sequins and unitards and face paint and tights. It all adds up to wacky, indie, sexy style. But when you consider the physical assets the girl is working with, and how she’s chosen to highlight those assets, I start speculating about lots and lots of things. So, what follows is my wild speculations.

Marina doesn’t hide her body. Not at all. She’s tiny, and her waist is like 14 inches or something insane, and she’s curvaceous and cute. But… in the overwhelming number of photos of her that I found, she wears tops with very high necklines—admittedly, they are frequently rather tight high-necked tops, but high-necked none-the-less. Often, it looks like her boobs are smooshed in. It looks like she’s… not hiding her body shape, but rather trying to not be limited by it. She’s trying to not be limited in the type or items of clothes that she wears (boobs won’t fit into a top that fits at her waist? Oh well, squish ‘em in there!). But her refusal to let her chest size dictate what tops she can wear is only part of the picture—a metaphor, really. She’s also trying to not be limited in how she’s viewed as an artist based upon her body.

This is where it gets interesting. For me at least. As a woman in indie music it’s gotta be an incredibly delicate balance—you have to be beautiful (because you're in entertainment, so duh, of course you best not dare to not be beautiful), but not in a “mainstream” way. Waif-like thinness, delicate features, shiny straight hair—those are the “pretty indie-girl” standards. So, when you just don’t fit into that, but you need to be taken seriously by indie audiences, what do you do? You straighten your hair. You lose weight. But… Marina has no weight to lose. She just has large breasts. So she conceals them just a little.

I’m personally invested in this—in the success of Marina and the Diamonds. Not just because I really love her music, but because when I was a teenager, there were no women with large breasts in alternative music—which is what I listened to back then. There were no women with large breasts anywhere in the media who weren’t portrayed as sluts--who weren't demeaned at least in part because of their body shape. Their breast size. So there was no one who I could look at and say “she’s beautiful and she’s respected.” There was never anyone I could look at and say “she’s beautiful and she looks like me.” It was always “she’s considered ‘sexy’ and she looks like me.” Or “she looks like me and no one will ever respect her for her mind or work.”

The issue is two-fold. One part (the more daunting part) is that girls and women have been led to believe that their value lies in their appearance—so we are always looking to validate our worth through our appearance (hence, when I was younger, I was looking for someone in the media to confirm my own worth—and I came up short). The second part of the issue is that if you assume that part one is so large and ubiquitous of an issue that it will never be able to be ameliorated (at least in any sort of reasonable amount of time), then every type of beauty should be represented in the media. Because if women are taught that their worth relies on their appearance, then at least, the natural variety in our appearances needs to be validated. We all need to be able to see image of ourselves in the media, and see that we aren’t limited by our bodies—that we can be beautiful and smart and artistic and brave and strong and dumb and selfish and petty and self-possessed. And that none of that has anything to do with our appearance. That regardless of our height or waist size or breast size or ankle size, we can be (and are) beautiful, and we can be (and should demand to be) respected.

Yeah. I might have some issues with breast size. And when I first was grooming my Marina and the Diamonds obsession, yesterday morning, I felt this overwhelming desire to nurture her—to write her a letter and offer her advice. Something. Anything. I just. I feel like there’s going to be so much pressure on her to use her body as an asset in her career. But that’s obviously something she doesn’t want to do. But… what I love about her is that she still owns her body. She just doesn’t let it dominate her image. If that makes any sense. Anyway, when I first was looking at photos of her and wanting to advise her on her breast policy, I thought she was much younger than she is. Turns out she’s 26, so I think she knows what she’s doing. I just hope she doesn’t end up feeling reduced to her body—the way that Christina Hendricks has mentioned that she’s felt.

One last thing. A tiny bit of a tangent. When I was watching random videos of her, I came across this BBC performance, where she covers a song I’d never heard before, STARSTRUKK, by 3Oh!3. Her performance of it is riveting—and was sort of mesmerizing for me. I had no idea who 3Oh!3 were, but the cover piqued my curiosity. It was hard to tell if Marina was taking the song out of its original context, and flipping it around—thereby commenting on its content (lyrics about Daisy Dukes and see-through shirts sung soulfully are bound to raise an eyebrow), or if the original version had a fairly similar message. Well, if you watch Marina's cover below and then the original, I think you can see which of these is the case (in 3Oh!3's defense, it's obvious that there's some degree of parody intended--it's just hard to tell how far we're supposed to assume that parody goes).  

And I just want to say that I LOVE this song when Marina sings it. There’s such a note of sadness—and such a poignancy—in having a woman who has obviously spent probably every day since her early adolescence sexually harassed and objectified sing a song that so blatantly objectifies women. And… I don’t know. Just how that objectification seems to fit in with the idea that she will never be able to find love or be able to love. It just kills me.

I wish more artists would talk about objectification in this way. I think, in a way, it’s something that is just so deeply ingrained, that a lot of the time we don’t even know how to begin to break it down. And we feel guilty (and this may be especially true of people in entertainment) because we do find validation from people talking about our appearance—or we use it to our advantage. So, breaking it down and exposing all the damage it does to us seems… hypocritical or selfish. Whiny. But it’s not. It’s so important. I think girls—and women—need to start finding a vocabulary for the feeling of alienation from your own body that constant objectification leads to. I think pop music is the perfect medium. All I need now is for that cover to be released as a single and go platinum. And then for 10 other artists to write awesome hit songs about the damage done by objectification.

This has been a post about boobs. Thank you.


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