Song 31 Tina Turner

Guest Post!

Today my esteemed colleague Brendan Richardson, the mad genius behind The Syrup, has consented to offer up a tune. Hooray! It's a song I pretty much can't stand, but worth it for the write-up, as I'm sure you'll agree.

Tina Turner - What's Love Got to Do With It? 1984

Tina Turner, in 1984, was more than just an aging pop star: she was  a crash course in sexual politics and middle-aged relating for a then 13-year-old white boy.

"Who is this peculiar Ewok Doyenne and why do the moms, usually so intolerant of male outbursts, act amused, even encouraging, whenever the dads start loudly extoling her legs during soccer practice?"

That's what I'd think to myself when the fatigued temptress with the fearsome mane would turn up her white collar, signaling the beginning of What's Love Got to Do With It, slipping pointed toe into pointy heel before terrorizing the family TV screen with her medley of still-got-it bum wiggling and come-hither kicks. Desirous female objectification, while as a rule, not okay with the moms, was, as it turned out, perfectly okay, so long as the desirous female being objectified was a) black b) potentially post-menopausal and c) known to have been abused. Dad still had to keep it zipped when Madonna or Sheena Easton took over the screen but to middle-aged, middle class Canadian women, Lady Turner was more inspiration than threat. She was a tough-as-nails survivor all women could empathize with, and to still be casting spells at that age, well, if her, then why not us? A win-win for everyone – except for 13 year-old- Star Wars nerds like myself – who didn't know what to make of this strange new feeling that they felt in their pants, in the final, increasingly fervent scenes of Return of the Jedi.

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