*trigger warning, this post speaks about sexualized violence*
I’ve listened to the song Oblivion, by Grimes, bazillions of times. I waltzed back and forth to it in my freshman dorm on saturday nights, cooed along with it while doing my homework, defended Grimes when people started to say she was a lame sugar coated fairy princess and she wasn’t doing anything original (whatever guys, I still luvvv her)
Then, a few months ago, one of my friends told me that the song is actually about Claire Boucher’s experience with a sexual assault. Boucher gave an interview to Spin Magazine in which she said that she sings this song at every one of her shows. She talks about her identity as this super feminized, sweet kind of girl, and how this song quietly subverts that image. Says Boucher:
“Oblivion” embodies that kind of archetype, going into this masculine world that is associated with sexual assault, but presented as something really welcoming and nice. The song’s sort of about being — I was assaulted and I had a really hard time engaging in any types of relationship with men, because I was just so terrified of men for a while.
Blue Stockings published a wonderful piece that goes into this more — they say it better than I can. However, I wanted to share this song with you all as we reach our half way point in our station wide Sexual Harassment workshops. Thank you to all who’ve attended, and if you haven’t please do — not only is it actually mandatory, but it is also something that is super meaningful and relevant to our community. One thing that we’ve talked about at all of these workshops is the meaning of rape culture, and I think that this little song really drives it home. Rape culture it not something that we engage with every once in a blue moon — it’s a part of our daily lives. It’s a culture that reinforces racism, sexism, queerphobia, transphobia, ableism, and many other forms of marginalization and oppression. And it’s a culture that comes precisely from the places we don’t expect, like music.
As DJs at this community station, we make the choices about what we play, and the messages we put into the airwaves. As you put together your playlists this week, remember this: we have the amazing, beautiful freedom as media makers to reject and transform the things that piss us off, and to celebrate the things that make us feel powerful.
I’ll be playing a little bit of Grimes.
–Sophie, News Director
Below you will find a digital, color version of our zine, Listen Up, Listen In.