An Open Letter to Eminem

Dear Eminem,

I have been struggling all morning trying to decide if your new video is worth blogging about. While I understand that you consider yourself to be a satirist from whose biting commentary no celebrity is safe, I personally find your methods of cultural critique to be boring, trite, and always misogynistic. For those readers who have not yet seen the video for your new song "We Made You," here it is:


While I must commend you for your ability to parody so many different cultural artifacts (from Rock of Love Bus to the new Star Trek movie) in this video, your methods once again fall flat in my opinion. What's the point here? If we as audience members are being asked to accept racist/sexist/homophobic jokes in the name of cultural criticism, we should be rewarded with an intelligent point at the end of it all. After a few viewings, the only thing I hear you saying is that you think women on television should either have sex with you or be murdered (or both). Double that sentiment if they're lesbians, of course.

It appears that part of the reason you have actors in your video playing Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba, Sarah Palin, and various other women, is that you are attempting to comment on these women's use of sexuality in order to gain media attention. While I commend you for your attempts at a feminist critique, portraying these women as sexual objects for you to use up and throw in a wood chipper only perpetuates sexual objectification by the mass media, it does not remedy it. Why parody something by doing it?

Can't you come up with a different way to hate on women than by telling them to have sex with you or saying that they're sluts? It's such a tired method. While I certainly believe that women should be fair game when it comes to satirical representations, I'd like to see you think outside of the "suck my dick" box every once in awhile. The argument of "You're a slut! Have sex with me!" just doesn't make a lot of sense.

In addition, I am a little confused by your lyrical intentions. When the Jessica Simpson look-alike you've employed sings the chorus of "You're a rockstar baby/ Everybody wants you/ But who can really blame you?/ We're the ones who made you," to whom is she speaking? To you? To the celebrities being parodied in your video? And "blame you" for what? I can only assume that you mean to speak directly to the people you are parodying with this video, telling them that while their behavior is egregious, we as a media-consuming public cannot blame them for it since we caused it ourselves by giving them our attention. While this is a valid critique, you yourself are no better than those you mock, since you are using (and have used for many years) sensational methods to gain media attention just as they do. Plus, I can't see how the underlying message justifies (or even makes sense in partnership with) the images accompanying it.

Eminem, you have been in the spotlight for many years now, and yet your message and methods remain the same. A new video by you that trashes women while at the same time promotes your own sexual prowess isn't new or interesting at this point; it's boring. Isn't it time for you to evolve a little? Why not use your satirical skills (and access to producer Dr. Dre) to make a relevant cultural statement? I know you can do it!

Write back soon!

Sincerely,
Kelsey Wallace

P.S. - I am posting this letter on the Bitch blog in the hopes that other readers will weigh in as well. You don't mind, do you?

Comments

36 comments have been made. Post a comment.

It's Eminem.

This video is racist, sexist, homophobic and pretty stupid all by itself.

It's Eminem. I think everyone has learned by now that's just what he does. I'm not saying I like it, or condone it by ANY means, but everyone who doesn't like him has gotten to the point of "roll your eyes and walk away" because relevant cultural statements from Eminem is the first sign of the Apocalypse.

You are absolutely utterly

You are absolutely utterly kidding me right? You and everyone else here obviously hasn't heard his songs "White America", "Mosh" and "We As Americans". They would prove everything you say wrong 100% so give up and have a sense of humor stop preaching nobody wants to hear it.

Eminem is pathetic. He is

Eminem is pathetic. He is supposedly criticizing various female stars/starlets for using their sexuality, all the while his lyrics suggest he wants to sleep with all them. Is he any better? I dont see him making fun of himself.. I can tolerate everything in this clip/song but the image of him placing a Kardashian look alike doll in the wood chipper is simply appalling and unacceptable. I am fed up with all these antics. Why have 'we made' Eminem so successful (with his misogynous, racist slur)?

Eminem does make fun of

Eminem does make fun of himself a great deal. The problem is that most people only know his lead singles and think he means them to be taken seriously. What you have to realize is that those are the ONLY songs he writes that are like that. The rest are meaningful songs about the nature of his situation; even when he writes songs purely for shock value, there's always a point behind them (for example, criticizing white america for it's hypocrisy, such as in "Criminal") . He makes fun of himself very directly in songs like "My Dad's Gone Crazy", and if you actually think about what he's doing, he makes fun of himself in all of his lead music videos as well.

If you really think he's pathetic, you ought to listen to a song like "Sing the Moment", or "Cleanin out my Closet", and really pay attention to the lyrics. His music goes MUCH deeper than what you hear in his pseudo-comedy lead singles.

Response to Eminem Video Critique

Thanks for posting this feminist critique of Eminem's new video. I don't even try to analyze Eminem's videos as they are usually just full of celeb name-dropping and ridiculous messages that I can't even take seriously. This video name-drops, or perhaps "image-drops," dozens of female celebs and for what purpose? Just to get his own name back on the blogosphere, on MTV, on the radio talk shows, and more. The more we talk about his misogynistic messages in his videos/lyrics, the more money he makes. But I understand. It's hard not to talk about it. And it's interesting to critique it. I can only hope that the public has grown tired of his antics, same tired messages, and frankly, his 2008 references to celebs that aren't even that current anymore (Sam and Linds are over, Kim's booty and cellulite is old news, Sarah Palin's campaign is over, you get the idea).

Eminem

Eminem's Bret Michaels impersonation is dead-on perfect

umm..ummm....

oh god yes... YESSS!!! He basically makes fun of every idiot this year.

wow, that was even stupider than his others

I have to admit that Eminem has entertained me in the past - the beats are catchy - and that I have seen a glimmer of insight in some of his stuff.

But you are right - it's gotten old, especially his issues with women, and it's not clear that there's anything more than a glimmer. I'm afraid he's got to quit popping all the pills and actually read something; his stuff can be savvy for someone who only watches screens, but it's featherlight in content.

I also think why some women like him is it's clear he's bitter and damaged and the old fantasy of healing a man like that with love is powerful. But it's just a stale act - his previous videos were actually humorous at times, but this one was terrible.

I wish Dre would steer him right, but who knows if Dre's got anything to add himself.

hateful

you said "Can't you come up with a different way to hate on women than by telling them to have sex with you".

I, personally, think telling someone to have sex with Eminem is about the most hateful thing you could do. I wouldn't wish that on ANYONE.

Kelsey Wallace: You go girl!

Kelsey Wallace you are the shit. This whole letter was just right on. I couldnt stop reading it! I personally dislike eminem But the way u wrote this had me thinking more about the writer than the asshole you were speaking about. You sounded like a rapper yourself from the way this was written. Keep it up!

Not offensive to feminists

I honestly think that video is more pro-feminist than any music video in a long time. Clearly Eminem wants women to be respected and not viewed as sex objects, which is what his satire is all about. By showing how ridiculous the media is for fawning over people like Kim Kardashian, Eminem is actually making a very insightful social critique. Is having the title of this magazine be "Bitch" any different? Isn't that the same satire?

I completely disagree with the author of this post, although I wouldn't want to be in the same room as Eminem, I teach a feminism in culture class and this video will now be a part of it.

Eminiem's video is offensive to women that aren't feminists

You teach a feminism class? So you are a feminst, and you want us to know "this is not offensive to feminists'.

I don't know if Eminem's video offends feminists, because I don't know if you speak for all feminists.

I am not a feminist, although I believe in women's equality and women's rights.

I am offended. Does it matter if something offends women, or only if it offends feminists?

This is an example of how feminism doesn't necessarily speak to women or represent their best interests. (I apologize if I offend any feminist that is opposed to this video and understands that it offends and harms women.)

The song lyrics are very misogynistic, as is the video. The comments on lesbianism that he makes are especially ludicrous and immature. Does Eminem actually think any woman would "convert back" when this is the tempting image of manhood he offers up as an alternative?
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Right Issues Wrong Target

I have fought with my feminist self for years over Eminem. Sometimes he is funny, sometimes he is poignant, sometimes he is self-effacting, sometimes he is arrogant, sometimes he is hateful, sometimes he is awful, sometimes he is spot-on. His CD was supposed to drop before Christmas. We were thinking that he just was out of gas. Bottom line, Mr. Mathers doesn't have much left to say.

BUT, Eminem doesn't make the videos. Someone else does. It's the entire music machine that delivers Amy, Jessica, Britney, et.al. that also delivers Eminem. He is just another tool in the overall hate machine. The folks who make money on sexism, racism, homophobia, and other -isms.

Some parts of the video were funny, some made me wince, some were offensive. But Em is just a tool.

I can't believe this stuff still exists

The emotions I felt while watching this pitiful video were self-righteousness, disappointment, amazement, disgust, shame, of course pity.
I feel smarter now, thanks, knowing that I would never in a million years write a treatment like that. It was totally unoriginal and unattractive and just all around painful to watch.
I was disappointed that our society hasn't moved on from this kind of crap. I guess being away from television, cable, malls, high school, and sports bars has made life more tolerable. And what a shocker to see lameness after all this time! hehe
It's amazing to me that Eminem still starts off his songs with "I'm back". I don't think anyone cares. I thought he wanted to just make enough money to send his daughter to a private school and stay comfortably in Detroit.
The lyrics and depictions of females were disgusting. Why doesn't he make fun of men? When was the last time Eminem made fun of men? George Bush? That's it. Talk about the lyrics! "Jessica Alba put a breast in my mouth"? Uggh
Shame on his distastefulness and disregard for art.
I'm sorry if I'm being too mean or a downer. Funny enough I saw this earlier tonight and wanted to do a myspace blog about it. But I saw my avenue here just now!! And well, thanks Bitch, for helping me vent. :-)

We Made You?

Your newest musioc video is sexist, racist, homophobic, degrading to the LGBT community, and worst of all degrading to women all over the world. References to the New Star Trek movie and Spock, Jessica Simpson, prisons, rock stars, Sarah Palin (leave the women alone) and who can blame you? WHat is all that? You treat your women in this videos as second class citizens and even worse, is this how you would treat your own daughter if she was in this video, do you think this is supposed to be humorous? it's a shame because some of you earlier work was "brilliant" this is just a "okay let's make fun of everybody and trash/degrade women (Sarah Palin too, because she was in the news and you treat all women as sex objects and eye candy which they all are niot) what happened? "I can't think of anything brilliant to write about and play in my new videos, and everyone will still buy my new video because they love me...News Flash: We don't and we won't.

He Needs to Grow Up

This style of Eminem is old and tired. The first time may have been a little humorous if you didn’t take it to heart or seriously in any way; but this, ten years later is a little too much. I am from the Detroit area and I heard that he is only remotely popular here because it’s where he’s from; I have no idea how his popularity holds up in other cities. This song/video is ridiculously immature and completely demeaning to women. Whoever said that this is a pro-feminist video obviously missed the part where he put the doll in the wood chipper, told Jessica Simpson to put her breast in his mouth, and called Kim Kardashian a man. I didn’t see the racism but he said “Can he [referring to himself] come back as nasty as he can / Yes he can, can, don’t ask me this again / He does not mean to lesbian offend / But Lindsay please come back to seeing men / Samantha’s a 2, You’re practically a 10 / I know you want me girl, In fact I see your grin”. He likes to build himself up in his songs while tearing others down. Eminem has been serious for a few years, dealing with issues like Proof’s death. “We Made You” is a damnation of celebrities that will likely prove to be a solid pop culture time capsule of 2009 with the Rock of Love bus and Jessica Simpson allegedly gaining weight. However, Eminem is not doing what he does best. It’s just him doing what he’s done many times before. This seems to be his token, “I’m Back” song that he’s put out with almost every album- and seriously, he’s almost 40. It’s not that funny anymore. It worked for two of his albums which went 8 and 9 times platinum, but that was six and eight years ago. He’s almost forty now. He needs to grow up.

I knew it...

he is just trying to get back at women who reject him
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/article2371911.ece

but I still like the Elvis dance at the end. maybe he has an Elvis thing...he dressed up like him before in his first video...remember? REMEMBER THE 90s?!

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

People still care at all about him?

His "15 minutes of fame" ended long ago.

Suffice it to say, this video is (even more) fodder for anti-feminists' arguments of feminism failing and being irrelevant. But I hope deeply that this video might actually motivate some into thinking that feminism is as relevant as ever.

As far as I'm concerned, Sarah Palin's and Jessica Simpson's "15 minutes of fame" are also over. Onward ...

Does Eminem remind anyone of

Does Eminem remind anyone of one of those sad little boys on the playground that can't get girls' attention unless he pushes them in the dirt? "You know you want me too. Don’t try to deny it baby, I’m the only one for you " Yeassure Eminem.

It's kind of catchy, I get it. But while I can appreciate parody I don't really see the point here. There's no light at the end of the tunnel telling us consumers what we need to do to turn this trend around. Instead we're left with a sleazier version of Jailhouse Rock and a Kim Kardashian impersonator in a wood chipper. That isn't helping anyone.

I used to even like Eminem... when I was twelve. The time for his tactics have since passed.

I like Eminem

Yeah, the guy has his issues and does have hate music. But I still love him for his technique. There will always be a market for things that intrigue people that isn't accepted in normal society.

Eminem critique

You are way too easy on him. No need to give him strokes! Commend him for attempting to be feminist? As if! Insane. If you think he's listening to you, you are sadly mistaken. Don't beg him to understand!

He's a woman-hater, and loves all the attention it gets him.

per usual, Eminem schticks to what he does best

While I agree that the video and the lyrics are trite at best, and at worst, hurtful and derogatory, many of the comments I've read here seem to express shock and awwww! at the notion that someone like EMINEM might resort to these tactics. Really? Isn't that a bit like being surprised that there would be nudity in a porno? Or violence in a horror flick? This is, sadly, the over-saturated age of infotainment we live in, where it is not enough now to be the loudest but one must also be the most outrageous voice. Relax people. This is the spectacle. enjoy or avoid, it doesn't matter. His fifteen minutes are about up anyway. Once is original, twice is cliche.

I honestly don't get why

I honestly don't get why we're even talking about Eminem anymore, everyone knows that most feminists hate him, and he certainly knows it, so why are you still wasting words? We are not his target audience, and I really don't think his messages are strong, or even understandable enough, to have any effect, it's just rediculous boyish humor, put to a catchy tune, so he can make some quick cash. Personally, reguardless of the context, I somewhat enjoyed seeing a larger woman, clearly confident in her own skin, rocking some Daisy Dukes, all makeup and objectification aside.

We're missing the hook here.

Although his comments on sexuality are nasty and do nothing to change the homophobic agenda of rap music, we should not conflate that sin with the seemingly obvious overarching theme of the song/video.

The hook is "who can really blame you, WE'RE on the ones who made you." Eminem, although enjoying a bit of the sexuality for himself, is largely a placeholder for society itself. He points out that we, as a society, demand this of women in the media, and reward them accordingly. And since their commodity is subject to the vagaries of public opinion, once we have used them up and they are too fat, too crazy, or too old, they are disposed of, in the woodchipper.

No one will accuse Eminem of being progressive when it comes to his lyrics and gender/sexual rights, nevertheless, he provides a focused and intelligent attack on us, as a society and consumers, for creating and sustaining the myths that build and ultimately destroy these women.

This video is okay but many of his lyrics aren't...

I found this video rather harmless since I saw it for the first time and I enjoyed the impersonations. I am an 18 year old girl who has been listening to Eminem since I was 12. I write poetry so I admire his lyrical flow but often at the expense of what he's saying, such as in superman where he says "cut to the chase, I'll tell a motherfuckin' slut to her face" "won't put out, I'll put you out. Won't get out, I'll push you out" Look em, we know you've had some crappy relationships with females but don't you think many of us have had issues with men? Yet, we don't go around calling them these things. I listen to songs like superman and though they burn my ears, I find myself making excuses for you about how you’re hurt and cynical because of your past, and that I can relate because I’m cynical about many things too. I’m not promiscuous and I don’t condone promiscuity in either gender, seeing as its frivolous and has no meaning. But if there must be promiscuity, then men and women alike should be scrutinized for it. I feel for promiscuous women because they’re the only ones who get criticized for it. It’s just plain unfair. If anything, in order to discourage promiscuity, both men and women who sleep around should be equally called sluts or whores. The term “man-whore” is often used but its still a complement synonymous to “player” or “pimp”. I was actually thinking I should write a letter to him, but what are the odds of him actually answering? Slim to none, unfortunately cuz he already gets a shitload of fanmail so why bother? So here I am addressing him: Eminem, why do you say such things? Do you really hate women? You’re daughter will one day be a woman, you know? She’ll listen to daddy’s music and come up and ask you, “daddy, am I a slut and a bitch?” How would you respond to her? How would you handle such a drastic consequence of your lyrics? What if you found out that the boy she’s been going out with and who she’s possibly in love with, has been calling her a slut? Would you defend her? Would daddy come to the rescue? I think you would since she’s your precious gem of a child, as you demonstrate in endearing songs like “mockingbird” that show your rare, soft side. But she won’t be a little, innocent girl forever. And what if, God forbid, she exhibits some promiscuous behavior in her teenage years? Will you call her a slut and think of her as one? If no, then make a note to yourself that every woman is someone’s precious daughter, someone’s Hailie, and if she agrees to have sex with you, at least thank her and be polite and don’t go around calling her a slut later. And if you do choose to call her a slut, then call yourself a slut too. I personally love how you don’t give a fuck what people think, such as in the song “The way I am”, since much of my poetry exhibits the same theme, and you don’t have to give a fuck what I think either, but I’m not a critic. I’m a devoted fan with the recurring question in mind of why you treat women this way. So if you’re reading this, be kind enough to answer. You’re talented and rebellious, two things that I greatly admire. But you should be glad that all your female fans like myself take all this crap from you. Think about it.

The video was ok. I

The video was ok. I didn't found nothing insulting, but rather, criticizing; Rock of Love is the most misogynist show ever!!!!!
I also felt totally identified with the KK parody because I have a big butt (like the real KK) and I always receive unwanted attention because of it.

??

hmm. I am working on a media project in regards to portrayal of women. I am a feminist- for all that that can mean- but to me, I am frequently angry about the way women are portrayed, pigeon-holed, abused, and otherwise emotional, physically, and psychologically manipulated by media. I found this video from NOW's website, in searching around for the endless supply of anti-woman media fodder. When I watched it, however, I am honestly feeling confused. I have never really listened to Eminem. But I truly took this video to be one of two things: a horribly offensive take on celebrity women, or a very acute attack on the way media DOES objectify women and makes plenty of profit off of it. The most disturbing image to me was the woman being pushed into a wood chipper... with dollars flying out. Yes. There is a double standard for men and women in regards to our sexualities. But who's sexuality does the media sell? Women's. Are any of us happy about that? Does Eminem seem happy about that- or like he is promoting it? I think "no" on both of those... I guess I can see how this could be read either way. It is unfortunate that he blames the women for being this way in some sense (by mocking, etc), but the lyrics also seem to relieve the women of that: "Who can blame you? We created you." I mean, I get pissed that these women allow their bodies to be sold ahead of their brains and abilities, also. It makes me sick. I know it is a function of a whole system of control and patriarchy, but shit- at some point- wake the fuck up and stop allowing yourself to be exploited. We need more feminism and more education, for sure. I don't know... I am curious of any other women felt this way. I am EASILY made angry and this video made me pause and wonder if there was more going on.

Look at his life story.....he

Look at his life story.....he was abandoned by his father, hated by his mother, cheated on by the woman he loved.....despite all of this, he's one of the most influencial people of this century. He can say whatever the fuck he wants, and he's going to....no matter which overly-sensitive, humorless critic is harping on him. Really listen to his lyrics, and you'll see more honesty, vulnerability, and passion than anyone in music has to offer. That is so inspiring and life changing. He can could call me a slut all day long, and I would love it.

Eminem

Your right. Eminem has had a hard life, he doesnt deserve to be discriminated against, and what you read and hear about eminem doesnt always mean it is true, just because its written on paper, sung, or said doesnt mean its true, like he says plenty of times in his raps. Eminem gets deep with his raps alot but that doesnt men he cant mess around sometimes. and even if this is true, does it really mean anyone has to spend their time judging him? and saying how much they hate him? cuse im sure he knows more about life than a lot of people, and if anything you should step off cause everyone has their own problems and he doesnt need too listen to people that spend their time judging others and only saying rude things about them.

if hes allowed to say how

if hes allowed to say how much he hates all women, because he cant get over how his momand girlfriend treated him
then women are allowed to call him out on it as well
simple as that.

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It's a dillema for me too..

It's a dillema for me too.. even though I enjoy his music... but somehow the lyrics bother me.. sedia power bank berkualitas murah dan terpercaya.

Funny thing is, I'm pretty

Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure he will never give a fuck what you guys think :)