Sunday, 22 December 2013

Why the Beastie Boys Deserve to Lose their GoldieBlox Lawsuit

Bay back in 1987, Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, AKA the Beastie Boys, released their debut album, Licensed to Ill. “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” was the album’s biggest hit. But it’s another song from Licensed to Ill, a simple ditty that clocks in at a mere 2:14, that’s on everyone’s lips today: “Girls.”

Set to a basic drumbeat and vibraphone loop, the Beasties rap in “Girls” about their love of ... girls. Sort of. As with many Beasties songs, the lyrics contain a lot of maybe serious/maybe satirical misogyny:
Girls, to do the dishes
Girls, to clean up my room
Girls, to do the laundry
Girls, and in the bathroom
Girls, that's all I really want is girls
Two at a time I want girls
With New Wave hairdos I want girls
I ought to whip out my girls, girls, girls, girls, girls!
When the educational toy company GoldieBlox launched a new ad campaign last month, “Girls” became the soundtrack. But GoldieBlox added a twist. Deborah Sterling, a Stanford-educated engineer and the CEO of GoldieBlox, wants to coax young girls away from the toy store’s “pink aisle.” In particular, she wants girls to think less about becoming princesses and more about becoming engineers, architects, and scientists. So, rewriting and parodying “Girls,” GoldieBlox produced a fantastic commercial that went viral. Three impossibly cute and racially diverse girls sit bored in front of a TV watching princessed-out versions of themselves. And then they decide to take matters in hand. Using the pink, girly toys that they’ve apparently been hating, the girls assemble a fantastic Rube Goldberg machine that snakes throughout their house, yard, and sidewalk. (Take a look at the video.)
One of the best things about the GoldieBlox video is how it subverts the Beasties’ song to trash the very same gender stereotypes the Beasties celebrated. Here is GoldieBlox’s revision of the Beasties’ lyrics:
Girls, you think you know what we want
Girls, pink and pretty it’s girls
Just like the ‘50s it’s girls
You like to buy us pink toys
And everything else is for boys
And you can always get us dolls
And we’ll grow up like them, false
It’s time to change
We deserve to see a range
Cause all our toys look just the same
And we would like to use our brains
And we are all more than princess maids
Girls, to build a spaceship
Girls, to code a new app
To grow up knowing
That they can engineer that
Girls, that’s all we really need is girls
To bring us up to speed, it’s girls
Our opportunity is girls
Don’t underestimate girls
Clever and cute. And you might think that the Beastie Boys, who—by the way—made a career out of repurposing others’ music for their own songs through sampling, would roll with the punches. But that’s not what happened.
Read On
Full Article / Source: Slate