Carly Rae Jepsen Empowers Women’s Emotions in a Society That Too Often Dismisses Them
Women’s emotions are often dismissed. The culture at large tends to treat women’s anger and pain and sadness and even joy and enthusiasm as girlish. A woman in love is silly, a woman scorned is crazy, a woman upset is hysterical. Women are told that the thing we’re feeling isn’t really the thing we’re feeling—or that, while we may be feeling it, we’re being a little dramatic.
Carly Rae Jepsen, however, is perfectly OK with being a little dramatic when it comes to her emotions, so much so that the title of her 2015 album is literally Emotion. And the power—yes, power—of her music, forcefully on display throughout her latest album, Dedicated, is that, for the few minutes it takes to listen to a song, that particular thing you’re feeling or have been told is ridiculous—dismissed because you’re a woman feeling it or because the emotion, for instance heartache, has been feminized—is given a voice. It’s handled with seriousness and sincerity.
Many artists, of course, make music that’s popular in part because the feelings it expresses are felt by so many people—think of Taylor Swift and her besotted songs that chart love and loss. But Jepsen’s music stands out in that the feelings it telegraphs dig a bit deeper: They’re so specific yet so universal, so dramatic yet so normal, so girlish yet so mature and important. Her music is permission to women to feel whatever we’re feeling as strongly as we’re feeling it, or to smile wryly knowing that we, like her, have felt it—this very thing that we’ve kept to ourselves but that’s now here, right here, in a song.