Warning: this blog will expose some of my latent angry lesbian feminist tendencies. I spent most of my day inside, cursing the vicious rains that are keeping me off my bike. Damn you, Nature! But it is what it is, and I managed to get quite a bit of work done, so, meh, good for me. I was working on my Introduction to Gender and Women’s syllabus for the fall semester, so that’s where my head was at when I headed out for the Britney Spears/Nicki Minag Femme Fatale 2011 tour at New Orleans Arena. I have liked Brtiney since she was a little girl. I wrote my master’s exams to her second album on repeat. I showed clips of Crossroads in my first Intro to Women’s Studies course in 2002; it really does offer a rare representation of class politics, plus, when Brit sings “I Love Rock and Roll,” well, um, I just really like that part. Every semester I talk to students about this quandary, where women’s sexual power and pleasure is an essential feminst right and fight, but also the way that the narrowing of women’s power to the sexual realm is dangerous, especially for women who have long been imagined as always already hypersexual. So, I ask my students, is Britney (or Nicki or Beyonce or Lady Gaga) a feminist figure, or is she just playing up to old damaging tropes of women’s sexual availabilty? Thing is, it’s both and neither and all of that. Nothing is either revolutionary or not, subversive or not. It depends on who’s doing the looking, what the one being looked at is putting on display, where it’s happening. It depends on the rhetorical situation. Tonight, watching so many women hobbling in heels they couldn’t trust and wearing skirts they couldn’t sit in, it just didn’t seem like the kind of feminism I want us to be fighting for, even if Britney’s show is all about her “power” as a femme fatale. It seemed like feminism as just another consumer choice, and it reminded me of this sign outside a Domino’s I passed as I pushed my bike through the rush hour crowds, America’s legends reduced to pizza with ham and pineapple on top, politics reduced to what you buy or wear. And that’s not even to touch the weird Orientalism, the “sexy” prisoner/guard motif, how we all know nobody’s actually making music but we don’t say anything, the endless dance fighting, white versus black, good versus evil, and so on. But that’s just how I read it tonight–we’ll see what I think about it in the morning. What I am sure of is that the bike is the way to get to a giant show. from the grossly underused rack and whizzing by all those suckers sitting in their cars in traffic. Ride a bike, people!