With the beginning of summer, comes the beginning of the bathing season. Close to where I live there is a lake that I go to very often to have a swim with my friends and to hang out on the beach. Like every year, sitting on the beach as a woman, seems to attract a lot of stares from men you don’t know. This year I decided to write a song about it. Not that women only get weird stares and are made feeling uncomfortable when we wear bathing suits, but when it comes to my experiences, I feel particularly exposed and vulnerable on beaches. These stares make me feel even more self-conscious, they make me feel very uncomfortable, they make me feel objectified. I feel like prey when I can feel an unknown man’s eyes scan my body. And that is what this song is about, it’s about men we don’t know that have the power to make us feel uneasy.
Growing up, I was always taught how to protect myself, how to dress in order not to be sexually assaulted, how to behave decently. Because as a society we still silently accept that women are always responsible for how we are perceived (mostly by men). We rarely hold men accountable for their creepy stares.
Very recently there was a very big debate in my school about a new dress code. As beautiful as it was to see a huge number of students and former students stand up against this kind of misogyny, it was as shocking to realise how much misogyny most of us still have internalised. The truth about dress codes is that, even if our headmaster tried to prove the opposite, they are mostly put into place for women. They send out the message, that women should dress up “properly”, we shall not show too much skin or dare to let our underwear peak out under our garments. This exact mentality is what precedes a victim-blaming culture as we witness it today. If there have been cases of sexual assault at a school, and the school’s reaction is to restrict women in their clothing choices, no wonder that later a rape victim will be blamed for the way she dressed.
Pool Party explores the metaphor of a lonely man who spends his day on the beach staring at women, he doesn’t go there to swim, he goes there to fulfil his fantasy. In the music video, Mogi embodies this persona, he gets lost in his fantasy world. He obsesses over his imaginary girlfriend and spends his time watching women he doesn’t know.
Thematically this song was strongly influenced by Stella Donnelly, an Australian musician who I not only share a hairstyle with, but who has also already explored this topic on several occasions. In her song “Boys Will be Boys” for example she describes the nonchalance acts of sexual assault are put away with and excused with the “impulsive nature of men”. “Old Man” is her take on misogyny and machismo. I recommend you take a dive into her music if you like powerful women making epic music.
To me the concept of misogyny and patriarchy is way outdated and I think that as a society we should proceed to move on from all that stuff and leave it behind on our path towards the future. I hope that once I have children of my own, they will feel comfortable walking around alone and that they will not be catcalled in clubs or stared at on beaches. I know we have a long way to go, but the least I can to is to hope for change and be vocal about injustices when I experience them. I hope that the debate about the new dress code as our school has sparked a new sense of awareness in our headmaster and that his daughters can dress however they want.