I just got a new computer, driven to that desperate measure when my ancient laptop could no longer display even a run-of-the-mill web page without sighing and shutting down.
So, giddy at the prospect of listening to all the latest music YouTube had to offer, I hopped over to that site today and perused the opening page, showing what's popular now! I saw that Shakira had a new song. I do admire Shakira's voice, although she long ago sold out to the brokers of "ho style." Guess a tremendous voice is no longer enough for a young woman--but that's another column.
Shakira's video was for her song "Me Enamoré" (I fell in love). Even if you don't understand the Spanish lyrics, you'll get the story. Pretty girl in short-shorts falls for a raucous guy who busts up the hotel room--we see the after effects as girl calmly rights the capsized plastic palm and smiles at the appalling mess around her. Where's the perpetrator? We don't know, but heck, she doesn't mind.
Then we come along to watch more of their hijinks, like cutting through a chain on some gate, where they proceed to run through the compound gaily as a (luckily chained) dog snarls at them. Then they are in a meadow of yellow flowers, then they are having a food fight in the same abused hotel room. All action is punctuated with Shakira wryly looking at the camera as though to say, "I know he's a cretin, but gee, what can I do? I fell in love."
Of course the story ends with pretty girl Shakira falling into bed, laughing, as she beckons the bad, bad boy to follow. And oh! Joy! We at last get to see this irresistible criminal's handsome face in the parting shot.
Now, I hope Shakira did this video as an exposé on the lunacy of young women these days. If so, it earns a Brilliant rating. If instead it is supposed to be a seductive romp with irresponsibility and forbidden fun, then it encapsulates the epidemic that is running through our younger generations.
Shakira's captivating lover is there to hug and squeeze (and more); he is there to lead them in criminal trespass and other exhilarating pranks; he's there to turn a rented room upside down and leave spaghetti sauce on the walls (she will clean up after him). But I can't picture him staying up at night with the sick baby; can't picture him going into work every day, even when he does not feel like it; can't imagine him sitting with his pretty girl as she cries and vents about how the job interview fell through.
I pray daily that our young women will wake up from the fantasy that Hollywood has marketed for so many years now. It goes like this: You can have lots of fun, avoid almost all pain, stay beautiful, be your own person, seduce men when you feel like it, send them packing when you grow bored, succeed at whatever you want, and most of all, no matter what, have lots and lots of fun. And you can keep this up indefinitely. Hey, pass me another mojito!
Sorry, my dear, but the bar is closing. And you have a pretty steep tab to pay before you leave. Ah, your boyfriend will pay? I think I saw him leaving a few minutes ago with that girl with the unicorn tattoo.
Videos like Shakira's reflect a deep confusion. Why are we here? We're here for the good times, they say. Grab all you can. But in reality, women were put on Earth not just to keep guys company as they joyride across the country. They are in this world to stabilize, to reinforce, to listen and guide, to teach and lift up. They can make men better than they would be on their own. That means women can set the bar higher and inspire their men and children to reach it. That is world-changing.
And part of a woman knows this. But it looks rather dull and long and undramatic. That's why they need other women to inspire them.
Shakira, and all the video vamps--do better. Get off the Tilt-a-whirl long enough to spend some time inspiring our young women toward better things, harder things--better things.