Political Flavors

Garfunkel and Oates…Again.

Posted in Editorials on February 9th, 2013

So back in June I wrotea post about how much I love Garfunkel and Oates, but that “29/31” was really sexist for pretty much no reason at all.

And people on the internets assured me that they are totally feminist! And they’re just you know, making fun of women who worry too much about getting old/being single.

So today I got around to watching, “The College Try”

This isn’t even funny. It’s just “Hey! Vaginas are gross!” It’s the same tired shtick from dudebros you can find every single day on Reddit.

Even though they lyrics say “I swear I’m not homophobic or anti-woman” this song is both. There’s no getting around it. The premise of the song is that women’s bodies are disgusting, and there is no reason for anyone to be attracted to them.

The implications of this “joke” have a real impact on womens lives and health. Despite the best efforts of health educators, some women still use douches which evidence suggests increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy. Even more seriously is the rise of labiaplasty and cosmetic vaginal surgery, about which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said

These procedures are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented. Clinicians who receive requests from patients for such procedures should discuss with the patient the reason for her request and perform an evaluation for any physical signs or symptoms that may indicate the need for surgical intervention. Women should be informed about the lack of data supporting the efficacy of these procedures and their potential complications, including infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia, adhesions, and scarring.

And while that quotation was from 2007, there’s no reason to think that things have gotten any better. Kirsten O’Regan reports at Guernica Mag about “The Barbie”:

Dr. Red Alinsod, a urogynecologist in Laguna Beach, California, claims that his most requested surgical procedure is the Barbie: a procedure that excises the entire labia minora. This results in a “clamshell” aesthetic: a smooth genital area, the outer labia appearing “sealed” together with no labia minora protrusion. Alinsod tells me he invented the Barbie in 2005. “I had been doing more conservative labiaplasties before then,” he says. “But I kept getting patients who wanted almost all of it off. They would come in and say, I want a ‘Barbie.’ So I developed a procedure that would give them this comfortable, athletic, petite look, safely.”

So while Garfunkel and Oates aren’t telling women to fill their vaginas with vinegar or get their labia chopped off, how this song made it past pipe dream phase is beyond me. There are enough people in our culture telling women to hate their bodies. We don’t need to hear it from anyone else.

9 Responses to “Garfunkel and Oates…Again.”

  1. Aaron Says:

    It’s in people’s nature to not find something funny when their beliefs are being mocked. I found their song on God’s loophole to be less funny because I happen to think women who withhold certain sex acts until marriage are doing something noble. But that’s just my opinion… what do I know? On the other hand, I don’t blame the epidemic of depression and relationship dissatisfaction among women on two comedians who are just doing their job.

    The song is funny. This is demonstrable (watch their live shows on youtube). Other people enjoying humor is a great thing. We ought to appreciate it, rather than scorn any humor about topics we disagree with.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    I don’t blame the epidemic of depression and relationship dissatisfaction among women on two comedians who are just doing their job.

    I didn’t either, and I think it’s ridiculous for you to imply that I did.

    Depression is rising among all demographics and divorce rates are declining in the United States, and I see these two issues as wholly irrelevant to a song about why women’s bodies are inherently disgusting.

    You think that this song is funny because you think that vaginas are gross. That sounds like a personal problem.

  3. jason Says:

    If you happened to see one of their shows and how they talk perhaps you would be less judgmental. Tthey were asked by two of their homosexual female friends who are getting married to make a song for their wedding and play during the wedding. Sometimes people get on their high horse and cast stones. Perhaps those that cast stones should do more information gathering before casting someones good name under the bus. Congratulations on the judgement though.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    I have been to see them live in concert, and I do like a lot of their stuff. That they made this as a wedding song for two lesbian friends makes this worse, IMO. How can you celebrate a new marriage by telling the new couple you think they are disgusting?

  5. Jason Says:

    They didn’t make this song for the wedding…They did however just make A song for a wedding in which both parties were female. It was a very loving song including bits about those two, their lives separate and together, as well as their struggles to be allowed to be married…

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    I really don’t see how that’s relevant at all. Most people aren’t either totally perfect saints or abhorrent evil killers. We usually fall somewhere in between. It’s very nice that they did that for their friends, I am sure they are very nice people. But that doesn’t make this song not misogynist or not homophobic.

  7. Jeff Says:

    I think if you’re offended you’re missing the point, and the reason is ‘cuz you’re not a straight woman. The whole joke is that no matter how open-minded or accepting you think you are, if you’re a straight woman, you’re straight! The song (idk about the girls but I assume they follow the trend) is just a real world acknowledgement of the disparity between ideals and your gut.

  8. Marissa Says:

    I find this song to be problematic because regardless of whether they are making fun of the stereotype most women are responding by saying “HA HA, it’s so true” or “that’s me” & simply reinforcing the stereotype. That I find ridiculously depressing. Instead of creating something to combat the stereotype in some form, they created something that people are simply confirming. Jezebel, a supposed feminist magazine states “Garfinkel and Oates Prove that things look very different from either side of 30”. Perhaps that is not their intention with the song, but being that so many are perceiving it to be I find to be an epic fail. I think your original post was right on. This song wholly bothers me.

  9. Luciana Says:

    I listened to this song today for the first time. I couldn’t believe someone would do something like this. Thank you for writing this post.

    I am a straight woman and I don’t find the song funny at all. It is making fun of my body parts as only the most chauvinistic people do. It’s old news, harmful and definitely not funny.

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