Good 4 U, Olivia Rodrigo
Why we need to uplift the voices of the next generation and how cyber-bullying has been normalized.
If you haven’t heard yet, the upcoming pop singer from HSMTMTS, Olivia Rodrigo, has released her new single and video for “Good 4 U.” In the past few months, she has released other top songs including the record-breaking debut single, “Driver’s License” along with “Deja Vu.” This is the third single off of her debut album. Many fans have already begun to compare this song to the vocals of Paramore’s Hayley Williams and as I am writing, the song hits number 3 on the iTunes Pop Charts...I imagine it will only go up from there. If you haven’t yet seen it, take a look at the video linked below:
This music video was beautifully directed by Petra Collins, playing off of the angsty upbeat song written by Rodrigo. Aesthetically, this music video contrasts the ones prior, giving darker and mature tones. You may even notice a bunch of references to the horror film, Jennifer’s Body which starred Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in 2009. From the cheerleader outfits to the lake scene at the end, this video is clearly inspired by the movie and is well worth the watch.
With three hit singles released, people are excited to hear what’s to come next.
But with this popularity, comes a lot of unnecessary hatred and bullying. Unfortunately, young artists are often the target of this bullying, especially among young women. This was seen most recently with Billie Eilish and her stunning photoshoot with British Vogue. Instead of uplifting Eilish for taking charge of her narrative, there were still article titles that read “Is Billie Eilish Selling Herself Out?”...leaving out the fact that beforehand, she was just a child who did not want to be objectified for her body.
There are already similar adversaries that Rodrigo is facing, with further heightened criticism of the music itself. Remember, Rodrigo has only recently turned 18. She has only released 3 songs off of her first album. And yet, people are claiming that she only sings about boys.
Clearly, the media hasn’t changed from when Taylor Swift was a teenager.
Let me just say this, it has never been okay to bring people down. People have different tastes in music, fine. Listen to something else instead. But commenting something such as “that's fruity” or “your not talented lol” (with the wrong you’re, may I add) is harmful, unnecessary, and gives off the taste of misogyny.
Quite frankly, a lot of the hatred towards female singers (or any kind of female artist for that matter) comes from internalized misogyny. Women such as Rodrigo are constantly degraded in the media which makes it easy to tear others down. People think that if they hide behind a screen and the celebrity is not going to see the comment, who cares right?
The problem is that millions of other people will see that comment and think it's okay to blindly insult or humiliate someone you don’t know. Someone who is just trying to put out music for others to enjoy or relate to. There are incredibly young children on social media apps that will see thousands of comments like the ones above and think it is normal.
One app that has especially played into normalizing bullying is TikTok. It has become “funny” to directly make fun of someone, copy and mimic their video, tag them, and continue to insult or humiliate them in the comments. It has gotten to the point where there are videos in which all the comments say “Oh, I already KNEW how this comment section was going to look before the video was over”...basically meaning that they were expecting to see bullying in the comments and take humor from it.
This can become a grey area, where it is hard to tell the difference between comedy and directly putting someone down. Yes, comedy has been around for centuries that makes light of people, as seen in many SNL sketches, but the directness of social media has entirely changed this narrative. So now, the younger generations are unable to differentiate the two, which has ultimately normalized cyber-bullying.
It can often be hard to overlook the negativity but it is still important to look at the benefits of every situation and leave on a positive note. Even with the negativity, Olivia Rodrigo has been vocal about these issues, shutting down and acknowledging sexist criticism. She has already become a role model and a voice for young women and empowers others to do the same. Her music is inspiring and relatable to so many people and I haven’t even gotten into how talented she is with both singing and song-writing.
So, if you want to support more female artists like Olivia Rodrigo, be someone who has an uplifting online presence. Spread positivity and empower women. And check out her album being released on May 21st.