There are several telltale signs that you're en route to becoming a humorless feminist but none so egregious as the one I experienced this week. During my morning shuffle to the subway as I listened to "Whatta Man", dreaming of a body like Arnold with a Denzel face, my faith in their high-quality, in-your-face feminism came into doubt.
As background, I loved Salt N Pepa from an inappropriately young age. I hold to this day that "A Salt With A Deadly Pepa" is the world's greatest bit of wordplay. If I like a guy, I tell my friends that he is "super hot" but in my head I'm thinking, "He makes we wanna shoop." I would like my tombstone to read "Alana M.: Hot, Cool, and Vicious, 1985-2294"(DREAM BIG). And while we're on the subject of three-adjective album titles, can I say how much better that one is than "Crazy, Sexy, Cool"?
Anyway, I went into a minor but still very real rage blackout when I listened to the lyric "He spends quality time with his kids when he can, secure in his manhood cause he's a real man." WHEN HE CAN, YOU SAY? Oh, I'm sorry sir, were you too busy playing on an adult kickball team or trying to win Call of Duty: Black Ops II for that quality time? When CAN you spend time with your kids, huh? Every other weekend? BIRTHDAYS? Please, at your convenience. And Salt, you are okay with this? Pep? Spinderella?!?!?! I was incensed.
I searched the Internet high and low for an explanation of this lyric to no avail. I Googled "Do Salt N Pepa identify as feminists?" and got nothing definitive. I happened upon a 2007 interview in which Salt said that the word feminist "wouldn't work" in her marriage. With that, I prepared for the Kübler-Ross stages of grief to set in.
But when I brainstormed who my new feminist icons would be, I came up short. Cause real talk, no one does feminist anthem like these ladies. Their message of female empowerment is unapologetic and sexy, they're smart as hell, and holy heck do they know how to make kneepads on the dancefloor work. I would bore you with a synopsis of how their greatest hits informed my own liberation but I think that simply falling down a YouTube rabbit hole of their videos is a better use of your time.
So I decided that that man who spends quality time with his kids "when he can" is actually just at work, earning money to pay for college and future orthodontic work. Or the kids are with their mom. There are so many possibilities that don't include Salt N Pepa letting fairweather dads off the hook for quality time! So, I'm sorry that I doubted you, Salt N Pepa.
And in case anyone was wondering, this is what "a body like Arnold with a Denzel face" looks like.
Thanks for this one, Internet. You get me.