I've never heard Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" all the way through, but I have heard the chorus; and beyond the saccharine insipidity of the music itself, the lyrics bothered me enough for me to think about why, and to look up the lyrics for the entire song.
They reek of cope, as the kids might say, but more than that what bothers me are the larger implications of this tripe being held up as a feminine empowerment anthem.
The song is clearly about her ex-husband. The notes under the lyrics on the site I used state that Cyrus released it on his birthday. Writing songs about an ex and being petty about it isn't anything unusual for a singer, and writing bad songs certainly isn't unusual for the shills who put a face to the radio propaganda that currently passes for pop music. What bothers me so much about this song are the larger implications I see in it.
There are only a few lines about her sorrow over the end of the relationship; most of the song focuses on her and her ability to take care of herself.
But Miley, that was never the point.
Marriage is supposed to be different, supposed to be distinctive among your relationships. Divorce isn't like- or isn't supposed to be like- you and your boyfriend deciding to go your separate ways. Divorce is the death of a home, the future you might have had together, what the two of you could have built together if you could've worked things out. Divorce is the death of the family you might have had.
It's something worthy of grief. That heartbreak is worth more than a couple of throwaway lines in the middle of a bunch of feminist talking points parroted to make you feel better about your life, your breakup, and yourself.
As an old maid who had always assumed I'd be a housewife and mother, who assumed that that life would just fall into my lap as it did for my mother and friends and forebears, let me tell you: that is a dangerous assumption. You can't count on finding a soulmate. You can't just assume you'll fall in love.
I'm not saying marriage or a romantic relationship is the end- all be- all of a woman's life. If I were willing to raise a child on my own, I could find a man to use to conceive one with little trouble. If I were willing to be in a romantic relationship just for its own sake, I could have a boyfriend probably within a week, even at my age.
But I've seen what true love looks like. I have seen what good, stable marriages look like. I am not willing to settle for anything less.
That kind of love, commitment, and devotion should not be taken lightly. The good marriages, the ones that last a lifetime, the ones that bring out the best in both spouses- that's arguably the pinnacle of human experience.
The lyrics of "Flowers" are as much an insult to someone who values what romantic love and marriage should be as the "music" is to the ears.
I will most likely spend my life alone and die unmarried and childless. This is something I've had to come to terms with; I would've been a good wife and a good mother. The loss of that life, of who I could have been, is worthy of grief even if I don't regret it.
Sure, I can buy myself flowers. I can take myself to the beach, or the woods. I'm strong enough to stand on my own, to build a lovely home and a good life for myself. Even without romance, I have family and I am well loved.
But that strength has been won at the cost of loneliness. I am no one's priority. I have no children to take care of me in my old age; I'll have to figure that out on my own, and the fact that I would rather be dead than dependent is as much a necessity as it is a preference.
Part of the reason I despise feminism so much and hate the girl-boss trope is because I am both the target demographic and an easily- misinterpreted example. I knew better, in my twenties, than to believe the feminist propaganda, but so many girls don't. I knew, in my twenties, how fleeting my fertility was, how quickly that clock was running down. Most young women don't.
Even in my twenties, I knew the value of men. Most girls don't, because they are now taught not to.
And this, really, is the heart of my problem with "Flowers." Even if you don't need romance to build a good, fulfilling, successful life (I haven't), the value of it deserves to be acknowledged.
Spinsterhood is not some great victory, Miley.