This is one conflicted song
. On one hand, Cyndi Lauper does seem to be preaching
a positive feminist message. The tune
itself sounds triumphant
, as do some of the lyrics. Lauper sings, "Some boys take a beautiful girl/ And hide her away from the rest of the world/ I want to be the one to walk in the sun." So, she seems to think that boys
should not try to control or monopolize
. By saying, "I want to be the one to walk in the sun," she seems to claim her independence
And then there are the lines, "When the working day is done/ Girls -- they want to have fun." This can be interpreted as a refusal to give into society's mundane work-sleep-eat patterns. Girls may have to work, but they sure as hell won't give up their fun. However, these lines can also be interpreted in a different way. In saying, "Girls just want to have fun," Lauper implies that all girls just want to have fun. While this may seem like nit picking on my part, the statement does make a gross generalization, which is exactly what a stereotype is and exactly what feminism tries to eradicate. Some girls/women would prefer emotional stability, a long-term relationship, a good book, or any number of other things to simple fun. After all, fun is pretty short-term, whereas there are plenty of other things that are much more fulfilling in the long run. So, claiming that "Girls just want to have fun" not only assumes that women all have the same desires, but also denies the more complicated goals that many women have.
If you're still not convinced, consider the line, "That's all they really want." Maybe the line "Girls just want to have fun" could have been interpreted to mean that fun is just one of the many things that most girls want (which would be a fairly reasonable assumption for Lauper to make). But when Lauper gets to "That's all they really want," there's no denying it. She is saying that the only thing that all girls/women want is fun. In addition to the previous arguments that she is making huge generalizations and not giving women credit for their variety of serious goals, she is also making them sound incredibly shallow. Fun is something frivolous; it is going to a party, dancing at a club, playing videogames. Of course fun is important -- for relaxation, social bonding, and so on --but focusing only on fun would be foolish. This is the sort of thinking that corresponds with the idea that men should be the breadwinners, the ones who deal with the money so that the women don't have to worry their pretty little heads about it.