Should celebrities be held responsible for shaping public opinion and empowering women?
Imagine you’re driving down the road and scanning the radio – without a lot of faith that you’ll find something worth listening to, to be honest – when you hear a new song by a favorite artist.
What do you do?
Turn it up!
And that’s just what I did when I first heard “Try” by Pink. You may not look at my coral colored cardigan and A-line skirt and pin me as a Pink fan at first blush, but I appreciate true art no matter what package it comes in. And anyone can see that Pink, who writes and sings her own coherent, intelligent, and thoughtful (if crude) songs, is an artist.
As I listened closely to the lyrics, it excited me to hear the power in the words this powerful woman sang to me. I thought of past experiences that really fit what I felt she was describing, and felt a desire to go home and add the music video for this song to my Power Songs Playlist and share it with you.
But, as awesome as Pink is, she doesn’t exactly have a reputation for squeaky-clean songs, I would definitely have to watch the video all the way through before I added it.
((Fast forward to early the following morning…))
When I listened to the song, I pictured a video montage of people overcoming their own personal challenges (like “Overcomer” by Mandisa). But I what I found was both better and worse…
…or should I say, Pinker.
Before you hop over and check it out for yourself, I will warn you that it is at least PG-13 and definitely not fit for children of any age to watch with you.
At first, it looked like she was going to use the video to empower women to leave abusive relationships. (And she is also a skilled modern dancer! Who knew?) Even better than another keep-working-and-you’ll-make-it song, right?
As I kept watching, at once enthralled by her story-telling skill and sickened by the endless cycle circling between violence and passivity spinning before me, I told myself it would get better because in the end she would leave him.
And she didn’t.
I shut my laptop at the end of the video feeling dirty, sick, and sad.
I trudged up the stairs to my son’s bedroom so I could wake him up for school, but my head was spinning.
Here, a gifted, powerful woman had the opportunity to change someone’s world. To use her art, skill, and deep empathy for abusive situations to empower women to get out and search for something better with hope for a brighter future.
But she dropped the ball.
Instead, she made it look good to stay in hurtful places. Her message was:
Hey, it’s O.K.. I understand. You suffer with the best.
We deserve better than suffering with the best!
Now, before you look for a link to the petition I could create, consider this thought from my mentor Kris Krohn:
Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice.
I could spend hours upon stressful hours imploring Pink and other famous influencers to stand up in their power and help people escape abusive relationships through their art (I admit I considered it), but ultimately…
Who chose to listen to that song?
Who chose to look up the music video?
Who chose to watch it all the way through?
Who chose not to add the song to her playlist?
Who chose not to look up another video to help cheer her up?
Who chose not to let her son sleep in so she could ruminate about abused women and make him late for school?
While I drove my minivan full of monkeys to school that day, I pondered and realized that while I didn’t choose the consequences, I did choose the road that led to them for myself.
Sure, I didn’t know that every video Pink has ever produced is more vulgar than the song itself. I didn’t know that she’s been married to the same man for more than 10 years, but that some of her edgiest songs are about him.
But I did know I have the power to choose, and that I alone am responsible for my choices and for changing my life.
The power to choose is a super power. I have the power to choose, and so do you. So does everyone else in the whole world, whether they realize it or not.
That means that, while others may be able to control our jobs, the location of our living spaces, how much access we have to food and other resources…
…they can never choose what we think. We can always choose that for ourselves.
The Power to Choose is the Universal Super Power.
And while the song claims,
You gotta get up and try try try try…
You absolutely don’t gotta.
No matter how powerful the public figure, how knowledgeable the physician, how loving the friend, how hot the lover, or how persistent the voice in your head that tells you you gotta get up and try…
…try to get out of bed…
…try a little harder to look your best…
…try to get a better job or work more hours…
…try to branch out and make something besides mac and cheese for dinner…
…try to do your hair…
…try for a baby…
…try a new or different medicine or procedure…
…try a new therapist for your child…
…try public school, or home school…
Our feelings and the words around and in us give us information. Pain is just one of the voices in our minds. Whatever the suggestion, the source should be considered, and the value of the suggestion should be weighted accordingly. Ultimately, we are fully responsible for our own choices, no matter how valuable the insights or persuasive the arguments that present themselves to us.
In short, you can if you wanna, but you absolutely don’t gotta.
It’s easy to do what we’re told, and surrender to blame and resentment when it doesn’t work out.
But what would happen if we all stood in our power , forgave each other, and took responsibility for our own choices?
The power to choose is a super power. And no one can take that away from you.
Not even someone as powerful as Pink.
I have other super powers too. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. We have a few spots left for the Stand Up! for Women pre-launch mastermind meeting next Thursday, September 29 from 7-9PM MDT.
P.P.S. Paid ticket for the mastermind includes dinner, or R.S.V.P. to join us via livestream for free. Help build this new event (and be first in line as a future presenter if your heart so calls you). See you there!