One night in late 2016, singer, songwriter, and satirist Rachel Lark was performing her song “Free the Nipple,” just like she had many times before. But something just didn’t feel right.
“I just had to stop and say to the audience, ‘Wow, guys, I’m sorry. If we just elected Trump, we are clearly not advanced enough as a society to be having that debate right now,'” she explains in an email.
The conversation about censorship of female versus male nipples — while undoubtedly important — seemed moot in the wake of the United States electing to the highest office a man who has openly joked about committing sexual assault.
If she was going to really make a difference with her music, Lark knew was going to have to break things down into even more basic terms.
It doesn’t get much simpler than the title of her newest song, punctuated with an exclamation mark for emphasis: “Women Are People!”
“Lately I’ve been concerned that the type of debate I’m trying to have around feminism is a little too complicated for the world we’re living in,” she says at the beginning of the video.
“So I thought I’d bring it right back down to basics, to a first-grade reading level, so even our president can understand.”
In the video, she gathers a group of small children — and, pointedly, some grown men — and asks them some basic questions:
“Do you guys that think frogs are people?”
“Noooooo!” the kids shout.
“Do you think that Popsicles are people?”
“But do you think that women are people?”
“Yeeeeah!” they all say.
See. Kids get it.
The lyrics are both absurdly obvious and, apparently, completely necessary at the same time.
“Women are people / Women are people / They have thoughts and feelings,” Lark sings.
“Your mom — she’s a person! / And your teacher — she’s a person! / And little girls are people too.”
“Nurses — they’re people! / Even strippers — they’re people! / No matter what it is they do.”
“The song is an anthem for those of us who are sick of breaking down really obvious feminist causes to people who want to reverse progress rather than build on it,” Lark says.
She adds that explaining incredibly elementary things like “Sexual harassment is bad” and “Birth control is health care” gets exhausting.
Maybe, just maybe, by going back to basics and making sure the whole world understands that yes, women are indeed people, everything else will fall in line.
Lark was especially impressed by the smarts and thoughtfulness of the kids she featured in the video.
Now if only the grown-ups would catch on.
Tags: The Conversation