Just hear me out on this one.
If prominent feminist thinkers of the last century or so were to get together and design their composite "woman of tomorrow," what would she be like?
Weirdly enough, she might look and act kind of like... um, Ke$ha.
It's been said before that Ke$ha's work speaks directly to sexual double standards. In fact, MTV heralded Ke$ha as "perhaps the most empowering artist on the planet" in 2010 for her bold, no-apologies reversal of gender roles. Now, let's be real—it'd still be a big, big stretch to cast America's frattiest female pop star as the neon-painted face of the feminist movement on that basis. Virginia Woolf almost certainly would have objected to lyrics like "I don't care where you live at, just show me where your dick's at," and the ever-sensible Betty Friedan might have gently suggested toothpaste for oral hygiene rather than whiskey.
But some revealing nuggets from Ke$ha's frighteningly glittery new autobiography, My Crazy Beautiful Life, suggest that in some ways, she might be just what some of the 20th century's most famous feminist thinkers had in mind.
THE DETONATION OF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY
In the 1970s, Shulamith Firestone rejected society's dependence on the one-father, one-mother family unit. Firestone wanted to eradicate childbearing in general, but in The Dialectic of Sex, she calls for "not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility—the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing."
In an essay called "Women and power in Cuba" from 1985, Germaine Greer also endorsed the relaxation of the rigid "nuclear family" in favor of something a little more open and flexible:
As it turns out, Greer and Firestone might have had reason to award
Ke$ha's mom, songwriter Pebe Sebert, a gold star in radical-feminist
parenting. Ke$ha writes:
THE LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO AN ART
Betty Friedan's seminal work of feminist literature, 1963's The Feminine Mystique, revealed that many full-time wives and mothers of that era felt stifled and unfulfilled because they lacked a craft to which they could devote their intellect and creativity.
Ke$ha, on the other hand:
THE RECIPROCATION OF THE MALE GAZE
Naomi Wolf, in her famous 1991 book The Beauty Myth, reasoned that the way men viewed women wasn't actually so different from how women might view men if certain social taboos weren't in place.
Friedan chimed in with a similar sentiment when she talked to Playboy in 1992.
Ke$ha, on writing her raunchy 3!OH3-assisted hit "Blah Blah Blah":
THE SUBVERSION OF "MALE" IMAGERY
In the 1990s, Judith Butler dedicated much of her philosophy to the notion that the power of the male phallus was in its symbolism for male privilege—and that the subversion of that symbolism could be powerful.
In 2011, Ke$ha and her mom brought new, can't-be-unseen imagery to the idea of subverting the symbolism of the phallus, and took Butler's idea that "gender is performative" to an awesomely gross level:
THE REJECTION OF "CONVENTIONAL" BEAUTY
Robin Morgan, in a fiery 1968 protest against the Miss America pageant, lamented that women who were visible and esteemed in society were under intense pressure to be conventionally beautiful.
Ke$ha, meanwhile, has been rejecting conventional beauty standards since grade school.
THE ROOM (OR ISLAND) OF ONE'S OWN
In her 1929 extended essay "A Room of One's Own," Virginia Woolf posited that in order to maximize their creative potential, women just needed some quiet space to be alone with their thoughts.
After finishing a two-year world tour, Ke$ha embarked on a trip by herself to the Galápagos Islands earlier this year. Her mission? To hang out with some animals and start writing her second album—a full-length release now called Warrior, due out on December 4.
Good read. I'm totally here for vintage Ke$ha in the header photo.