It’s election week, when we find out if Katy Perry’s Obama ballot outfit or the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast’s Wisconsin phonebanking made a difference. And for Sheryl Crow, it’s the perfect time to call attention to the dudeliness of both the Democratic and Republican tickets with a new single, “Woman in the White House.” Unfortunately she’s doing this with some deeply regressive reasoning.
Most of Crow’s case rests on the idea that home economics are the same things as national budgets, and that women are inherently less corrupt than their male counterparts. “Well we like to spend money/ But not money we ain’t got/ And we can balance a checkbook,” she sings, going on to belt out: “It’s time to clean up Capitol Hil / with a shovel and a pair of high heels.” Also, with a woman in charge, “There’d be a lot less fussing/ And fighting and carrying on/ There’d be a lot more loving/ And listening and getting along.” It’s a call for a mom-in-chief, with the promise that she won’t stop dressing sexy once she gets her hands on more power than is currently available to her at school-board meetings.
Crow’s not the first to temper her pop-culture feminism with some down-home traditionalism. In the vastly superior “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin had to be sure to promise 1980s America that women’s entrance into politics and the workforce wasn’t an attack on heterosexuality. “Don’t you know that a man still loves a woman and a woman still loves a man just the same way,” the awesome twosome reassured listeners.
And of course, “female common sense” can mean a lot of different things to different singers. Country songwriter Pat Garrett cited Sarah Palin’s willingness to take out megafauna as proof that “what this country needs is a woman’s touch” in “Moose Shootin’ Mama,” his ode to the one-time vice presidential candidate.