Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Price of Fame: from Rock Shirts to Low-Cut Gowns

uch a weird soup we've boiled up with this virtual, social, meta-world we have created. 

I followed a young lady on Instagram a few years ago. She was a young drummer -- high school aged, I am guessing -- and after she commented on a post of mine, I checked out a video of her playing. She was very talented and I encouraged her in the comments. (I'm a drummer, too.)  She was cool: sort of a "tom-boy" totally about the drums; all about the retro-rock T-shirts and classic tunes and playing with endless energy. 

At this point, she has a huge following, and I am torn about the results I have seen. I mean, I am happy for her success. But, now, she sometimes puts videos of herself playing in...not rock T-shirts. Evening gowns, in fact, often, and party dresses. Revealing ones. 

Old man rant alert: What has happened? How did we get to a world in which guys think it is okay to watch her videos and say things like (and I quote) "Please, fall out..." (they are not talking about her hair ribbons) and "A front view would have been mint." 

Part of me wants to rebuke these jerks in the comments (my fatherly impulse kicks in: "How dare you talk to her like that?") but another part of me thinks, "Why didn't you stick with T-shirts? Your playing said it all, kid!" 

I guess the sad reality is that she would not have gotten as many followers if she had stuck with the T-shirts. I guess she knew she'd get these comments. And, yeah, I know she doesn't need me to defend her. In the end, though, it's hard not to fall into dad mode and think about the person behind the Instagram persona. 

Here we are on dangerous ground. The facile and short-sighted response to this might be to interpret what I am saying as "victim-blaming." Of course, it's not her fault those dudes are sexist jerks. She should be able to wear whatever she wants and not get electronically cat-called for it. The blame is on them: they think it's okay to say what they want because of what she is wearing. 

The sad part, however, is that she thought she needed to do this to get "likes" and she was right; that's the even sadder part. 

I stopped following her, because, strange as it may seem for the perverts of the world -- and they pop up in her comments, with pictures indicating their aged, seedy, whiskey-reddened mugs -- I have no interest in ogling a girl who is less than half my age; nor in seeing her ogled; nor in watching her present herself in a potentiall ogle-inducing manner when her talent was enough. 

It's a shame, because it used to make me smile to watch her play; the youthful energy was inspiring; it reminded me of my early days of playing for hours in my bedroom (God bless my parents' patience) and it reminded me that there is a foundation of joy in what can sometimes start to feel like a job for me, these days. 

I don't blame her for anything. I just wish the world were not so...the way it is... 

(The picture at the beginning of this post is if Viola Smith, one of the first pro female drummers who, ironically, often played in evening gowns...)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, random commenter who is definitely not one of my 4th period students... Haha.

  2. Very moving, definitely explains how the world is today and what lines people cross to gain popularity, great piece!

    - A student in your 8th period class

  3. I read this because you mentioned it in class yesterday and I just wanted to let you know that your writing is so fantastic and very moving. You are an amazing teacher

    -another anonymous student in 8th period

    1. Aw...thanks. You guys are pretty awesome, too. Thanks for reading, anonymous student! Haha. I do appreciate it!

  4. Yo, this was a great piece of work sir.
    -Yet another 8th period student bruh

    1. Thank, bruh. Haha. Hey, you should be working on your rough draft!