Foreign Women Are Wild

I’ve always had superb taste in music. So excellent, in fact, that the masses agree with me, and my jams seems to always be in the Top 40. Go figure!

So I was car dancing to the radio when I heard the new song, “American Girl,” by Bonnie Mckee. It’s the first single from her first album, releasing this year.

Check out some of the lyrics below. I didn’t include them all because that’s too much to read. And I was going to put the video… but, no.

I told him I got a plan and I'm gonna dominate
And I don't need any man to be getting in my way
But if you talk with your hands then we can negotiate (whoa oh oh oh)
I just keep moving my body (yeah)
I'm always ready to party (yeah)
No I don't listen to mommy (yeah)
And I'll never say that I'm sorry


Oh I'm an American girl
Hot blooded and I'm ready to go I'm loving taking over the world
Hot blooded, all American girl (Whoa) I was raised by a television
Every day is a competition Put the key in my ignition (Oh-way-oh)

There’s some other stuff… you know, like buying a new heart out of a vending machine. And lots of repetition of the phrase “Oh baby gonna go all night.”

So here’s the thing. Billy told me how American girls had the perception of being stinky… that was awkward. But then one day, he mentioned that we also have a reputation for being promiscuous party girls.

What?! I was appalled. The smelly thing suddenly felt like a compliment.

Most of the travelers I know wouldn’t readily be identified as “wild women,” so I was a bit baffled. But, of course, perceptions aren’t just made by the Americans that people meet.

Hollywood ain’t doing us no favors globally, ladies. Movies and music videos and songs and awards shows paint the same picture of the American girl in Bonnie Mckee’s song.

So Billy reveals this little perception problem to me. And I thought to myself, “Funny. I think I’ve heard the same comments made about Latina women by Americans.”

In fact, while channel surfing past a Spanish game show with a scantily clad female hostess, I heard a comment about how Latin culture is more sexualized than American culture. It’s common for women to dress in the provocative manner of this TV personality.

I was younger in my understanding of race and culture then, and I had not yet traveled to Latin America. Still, something in me said… that doesn’t seem right.

Because here’s the thing… I don’t want Miley Cyrus representing me around the world. Oh my… lee. (See what I did there?)

So I think some contextualization should be acknowledged to entertainment television seen ‘round the world.

I can’t help but consider the intersection of gender and culture in these assumptions on “American girls” and Latinas (and probably other nationalities as well). There are already so many issues in society of objectifying women and analyzing their sexuality. Add the fact that they are culturally “other,” and people everywhere do what humans do… make assumptions and form broad stereotypes.

Suddenly, we see an entire country of women as the sum of the clothes (or lack thereof), dance moves and movie roles of a few celebrities.

What I wish we could say rather than “Women in that country are over-sexualized” is “Look. Media around the world uses sex to sell. How uncreative!” But I think I might be singing solo on my bizarre bandwagon for a little while still.

So here’s to you, awesome sisters of the world! Women who aren’t twerking at parties, but are chasing giggling nieces and nephews. Women who “listen to mommy” and learn from the wise matriarchs who’ve gone before them. Women who are not out front, representing us on TV, but who serve and lead and love deeply every day… all around the world. 

I'm proud to know you.



    This hit me hard when I was in college, through my experience as a youth leader at an urban church in Lexington, and also through a short term missions trip I took to Latin America. Not only are non-american views of American females such as you said, but also American teenagers (and can we agree, those older...in their 20s, 30s...dare I even say 40s), believe that this is the idea view of American women...who they THINK they should be.
    It's part of my problem with TV in general. People see it on TV and think that it is appropriate...even applauded behavior, and it's simply is not always. It's a challenge to sort through TV and make the distinction between American Society and what God's Kingdom here on earth could look like. How do we reconcile Western American Christianity with the Kingdom that is here, but not yet?

    I also appreciated your spin on our assumptions of those of other cultures. It makes sense that we as Americans can see events and realize that not everybody acts or believes the same as we see on television Therefore, we should conclude that it is the same in other cultures (what we see of their TV programming doesn't embody the whole).

    Well, I believe I have rambled enough. Again, Thank you for this post!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Emily. The Hollywood-ized image of an "American girl" is very confusing and not the goal indeed!


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