Voice of Real Australia: Reddy-made message lost in translation

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I was on a journey back from town with my two teens in the car when one kindly suggested they'd play a song for me.

There was a tone to the suggestion they've never really mastered to hide, and I knew it would be a delightfully irksome tune designed to get under my skin.

And cue Cardi B. If you've never heard of this modern warbler of questionable talent, do yourself a favour and don't bother Googling.

The lyrics of her latest "hit" song reinforce the fact you actually don't need to be talented to be famous anymore. But even more disturbing, the unimaginably impotent "poetic" porn piece sells itself as a feminist anthem.

I called BS.

I decided to take the long way home. My offspring were convinced they had outsmarted me, but I had control of the wheel.

"This is just misogyny marketed under a very tawdry veil of female sexual empowerment. It does nothing to progress feminism at all and makes me very concerned about young people's attitudes about healthy sex," I offered as a concise, non-theatrical response.

"Of all the things this young woman could sing about, she chooses genitals."

If I could offer up but a few of the lyrics, some of which allude to gagging and choking, you'd get my drift.

My retort was followed by a synchronised groan and an eye-roll - the same reaction I get when I launch into open and honest conversations about positive sexual attitudes, the pervasiveness of pornography or that I have another slow-cooker meal on the go for dinner.

Liberal feminism is one thing, take charge of your own choices but be a champion for real, enduring change. However if those actions reinforce that a woman's body is a commodity, to be sold, used and in this case abused for the gratification of the male gaze, then it is nothing but an attempt at capitalist activism which makes it defunct. It doesn't matter who's doing the selling - you haven't socially championed anything.

By the time we rolled into the driveway, my children agreed the song was "pretty vile" but also "funny". Maybe the challenge for me is to find some common ground between limp, vacuous humour and my rage.

Later that evening, my youngest asked who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was. And it was a much more meaningful conversation.

As I write this, I also lament the death of Helen Reddy, the Australian singer, actor and activist who belted out the real feminist anthem of the 70s, I Am Woman.

Her song in no way alluded to the fact she needed to be belted by any appendage to feel empowered.

She sang about "wisdom born from pain", she was "strong", she was "invincible". Helen Reddy told women, and anyone else oppressed by the system, they could do anything.

It was an anthem about respect, equality and inclusiveness. That's what the 'F' word is really about. And if that makes you feel uncomfortable, then you might need to consider how you are a part of the problem.

Like most talentless famous people these days, they don't last for long regardless of how many #filters they use to hide their inadequacies.

Reddy's legacy has endured for five decades. That says something.

None of us are invincible Helen, but we are strong. And I've got the next song choice on the car ride home.

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