Sunday, August 14, 2011

rammstein pussy feminism

Today's thoughts:

I know, right? Less than three weeks have elapsed since my last post! What is this?

Well, it has been brought to my attention that I'm getting a good percentage of my traffic (more a reflection on how little traffic I get, rather than how much) from Google searches of "rammstein pussy feminism". This is bringing people to an old post I wrote which just happened to contain references to both Rammstein and feminism, back when my posts were the slightly demented collation of my hypomanic thoughts.

Since this was clearly an injustice to those who wanted a simple analysis of the song, I've decided to write one, right now, off the top of my head. So without too much further ado, here is the clip. I should advise that this is just about the most explicit film-clip ever.

Rammstein Pussy Explicit 2009 by superzerocool

So! Starting with the song itself:

Is this song sexist?
Possibly. The song is extremely objectifying, with the protagonist making it fairly "explicit" that he's only interested in sex. Other considerations must come second to the fact that "you've got a pussy". That said, I've made it clear before that I do not see a necessary and inescapable link between objectification and sexism. I'm far from claiming that I do understand the relationship - rather, I think it warrants a lot of discussion, instead of the knee-jerk association everyone bestows upon it.

Thus, I don't think the objectification here makes it sexist. The man wants sex, and has clearly been deprived of it for some time. Unfortunately for him, it takes two to tango and here he's found a possible partner. Good for him! Is he dominating or coercing her? No - he's extending an invitation for fun because it's something they both want.

So why did I say it was "possibly" sexist? Well, in a stunning blog-plot-twist, I think the argument could be made that this song plays into an gross stereotype/caricature of men. Though the song is satirical (I'm getting to that) it's satire based on the idea of men as desperate and childish where sex is involved. I don't personally think it's particularly sexist, but it's still worth bearing in mind.

Is this Rammstein's own view of women?
This song has generated a lot of controversy since it was released, mostly thanks to the knee-jerk morons I mentioned earlier (did I not mention that they were morons? They are). What they are utterly failing to get is that this song is taking the piss. Rammstein rarely write songs expressing their own views - instead, they like to get into the mind of other people and explore their thoughts. They didn't write a song about eating people because they liked eating people, they wrote it to understand the mindset of both parties involved in the Armin Meiwes case.

In the instance of Pussy, the clue that it's not meant to be taken completely literally is that so much of it is written in English. They've only done that once before, in the blatantly satirical Amerika - if a band with six albums almost wholly in German suddenly starts writing in English, you can bet they're doing it for a reason.

Here, it's because the song is about sex tourism. He "can't get laid in Germany" so he's gone abroad, speaking his pidgin English and making suggestive remarks in commonly understood German. It's quite deliberate that he uses words like "autobahn", "bratwurst" and "blitzkrieg" - they're German words that everyone knows. "Fahrvergnügen" ("driving pleasure") was used in Volkswagen's international advertising. Instead of being a childish song about euphemistic naughtiness, the song is actually painting a picture of a lonely, desperate man who's trying to get laid. As I said before: just because the band sing in first-person doesn't mean they enthusiastically endorse the song's message. Wiener Blut would get them arrested otherwise.

But wait! What about the clip itself?
Well, this is part of a larger discussion. You can hear director Jonas Åkerlund himself talking about how the clip is based on clichés from 70s porn. I'm not especially interested in launching into an examination of gender roles in pornography, but I think it's pretty clear that Åkerlund wasn't deliberately putting women in subservient roles (maid, secretary, etc.) - rather he was lampooning the male-centred fantasies of porn culture.

I see. So is there anything at all that disappointed you about this song?
I'm glad you asked! This film-clip actually entails one of the two disappointments I have ever had from Rammstein (ongoing failure to see them live notwithstanding). Here, it's the fact that they used body doubles for the actual sex scenes. That just seemed such a cop-out given their usually exacting standards of boundary pushing and general hardcoreness. For shame.

TL;DR - Links! So many links!