I keep thinking that I should stop following Amanda Palmer. She’s super cool, and all that, but her follower re-tweets fill up half of my Twitter feed. I mean, do I really need to know which of her fans are excited to have tickets to a show? But then, she does something amazing, again, and I find that I do want to see all those irrelevant (to me) fan posts. I want to share in their exuberance.
Last night, I saw the video of Amanda Palmer’s in-concert rebuttal to the Daily Mail’s review of her “wardrobe malfunction.” It made me cry. I’m not talking the delicate, graceful tears-in-my-eyes sort of crying. Oh no. I was literally sobbing with joy. I was kind of relieved that I happened to be home alone.
Granted, I had a strangely emotional week, but sitting at my dining room table sobbing in joy? Why?
I thought about it, and I’m going to try to explain.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched her NFSW video, Dear Daily Mail, Sincerely Amanda Palmer, you should do so! Go ahead, I’ll wait. Let me repeat, though, NSFW.
Here’s the thing, with their puerile fixation on Palmer’s nipple-flash and outfit, their complete disregard of her music and performance, the Daily Mail is reinforcing a critical stereotype. In our culture, a woman’s primary task is to shield her body from men, while a man’s primary goal is to gain access to it. In this scenario, when Palmer’s forbidden bit was exposed, their goal was achieved and nothing else mattered. Not her music, not her performance, nothing.
In her rebuttal, Palmer explodes this stereotype by completely disrobing mid song.
The thing that is so very amazing about this isn’t the act of disrobing. As she points out in her lyrics, no one needs to steal a peek at her boob – there are plenty of naked pictures of her on the internet, many (most? all?) of which she posted herself. Palmer is well known for celebrating the female form. Brava!
What blew my mind was that she took off all her clothes…and then kept on singing. She did not use her nudity for shock value, or as some sort of titillating reward. She used it to make a point. Her point, bless her heart, was that she is more than just a beautiful body. She is an artist and a musician. She stood up there on stage, wearing nothing but elbow-length fingerless gloves, and got a crowd of people to pay attention to her lyrics. Consumate, generous entertainer that she is, she got them to sing along to a song they didn’t know and to jubilantly guess the word that rhymes with “ripple.” Her body was not their end game, her music was.
I will keep following Amanda Palmer. I will follow her to the ends of the earth.