I don’t like John Mayer. He seems like kind of a douche, and his songs make my ears cry. If you like John Mayer, and these words offend you, please stop reading. I don’t mean to offend anyone by having opinions that are different from theirs, just as I don’t mean to empower anyone by having opinions similar to theirs.
Anyway, there is this one song of his that I can’t get over. Apparently it’s really old, but I’ve only recently started hearing it, so I guess I’ve been out of the John Mayer loop. I would have happily stayed out of the John Mayer loop, but apparently fate didn’t think I deserved that.
This song is called “Daughters.” After some discussion with my friend, Micah, I discovered that this song was supposed to have a message somewhere along the lines of “Don’t abuse your children.” I can see why I missed this message, as I only ever managed to catch the chorus, but even with its good intentions, I feel sexism taints it.
Take, for example, the lyrics of the chorus:
Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
First of all, I would like to point out that I have no issue with telling people not to abuse their kids. That’s great. People shouldn’t abuse their kids. That being said…”Girls become lovers who turn into mothers”? Does anyone else see anything wrong with that? Here, I’ll break it down:
1. The reason you should be good to your daughters is because “girls become lovers.” Specifically girls. (We’ll get to what he says about boys in a moment.)
2. And then they “turn into mothers.” Every last one of them. I don’t know if I’ve expressed my distaste for blanket statements before, but I’m going to say it again: Stop with your blanket statements! Not every girl wants to be a mother. Or a lover for that matter. Some accidentally become mothers, sure, but there are still those women out there who do not have any interest in either becoming a lover or becoming a mother. Or they like the first bit but not the second bit.
3. A life of abuse will not automatically make a girl a bad lover or mother, though it always helps to have a loving upbringing. It is still possible for a girl to be strong and persevere despite a tough childhood though. But more on that later.
Now we get to the verse about boys. Here is John Mayer’s reasoning for why you should only be good to your daughters, and not your sons:
Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A woman’s good, good heart
4. Apparently boys can both “break” and “be strong.” But the funny thing is that this language is exclusive. It only refers to boys. Boys you can break. Boys will be strong. And boys soldier on. Not girls though. Girls won’t be strong. They won’t soldier on. Which is why they are there to offer “the warmth” of their “good, good heart[s]” to boys. Because they are delicate flowers who need protecting and are only there to nurture their protectors.
5. Apparently it’s okay to beat up on boys because that’ll just toughen them up. “You’ll find out how much they can take,” and then maybe they’ll learn how to “be strong” and fight back. In fact, a little punching might be good for them. Toughen them up. Teach them to be strong. That’s the message I get. So while abuse will break them, it might also…make them?
6. Not all girls are pretty, pretty princesses. I like, repeat, I LIKE, the message of “Don’t abuse or neglect your kids.” But I would have liked that message to apply to ALL kids, and not just the dainty female ones.
7. Fuck you, John Mayer.
9. Word of the Day: Misogynist (n) – a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.
10. P.S. I had a conversation with Liz about this song while writing this post, and after I said, “It’d be nice if this song had the message, ‘Don’t abuse any of your kids,” she responded with, “And that they’ll all respond in their own unique ways, regardless of their genitals.” So if you need a TL;DR version of this post, I feel that conversation sums it up. You’re welcome.