Abbey Alley – Editor
By now, almost everyone has heard the song “New Rules” by Dua Lipa, whether they recognize the song or not. Personally, it is my man-hating anthem. “New Rules” is the song you put on when you need to pretend to be mad at your boyfriend so you can do your homework with no distractions. If I was in the movie Little Rascals, we would play this song at our gender-bent version of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club meetings.
According to my iTunes, I have performed this ritual exactly 31 times. I have needed to hate men and therefore manufacture my own motivation for about 1.8 hours so far.
Based on Lipa’s iconic single, I expected this entire album to ooze with playful misandry and catty feminist sentiments. I did not expect to think about love or needing a man at all when listening to this album. It turns out that Lipa is unfortunately just as vulnerable to romance as the rest of us mere mortals, an idea that disappointed me at first.
That was until I realized that I was looking at it all wrong.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, and it has never been more relevant.
When listening to the more needy tracks from Lipa’s album, such as “Begging,” I was ready to lose it. I had had it. Why was my feminist queen begging for this man to love her?
That was when I had a Carrie Bradshaw-like epiphany. Lipa’s love and desire for men, as presented in “Begging,” only serves to give depth and dimension to her feminist anthems. Loving men can only make you hate them even more!
After all, when talking to your friends about relationships, you want to know the whole story, right? Without knowing the rose, the thorns do not pierce you quite as badly.
I now felt bad for not wanting to know why Lipa had to come up with her iconic rules in the first place. I never stopped to think, “Wow, who hurt her?”
When viewed in this light, Lipa’s self-titled album does in fact tell a story.
In the first track, “Genesis,” Lipa says that she needs her muse’s love. She does not just want it; she supposedly needs it. In “Lost In Your Light,” she only gets more infatuated with whomever she is writing about. She wants him to hold her and trust her, which sounds directly contradictory to what “New Rules” tells us we should want. This message from Lipa is so pure; she just wants to love and be loved in return.
After a few more sappy and sexy tracks, I finally found what I was looking for in “IDGAF.” All of that romantic and sexual man-loving tension finally exploded into a crescendo of independence.
“So I cut you off, I don’t need you, love,” Lipa sings and yells in “IDGAF.” She also uses more colorful language to get her point across, but this track makes it clear that there has been trouble in Lipa’s Garden of Eden; ironically enough, the track following “IDGAF” and “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” two jams that correspond with the message from “New Rules,” is titled “Garden,” in which Lipa questions whether or not she and her man are leaving the “Garden of Eden” phase of their relationship behind.
Later, in “No Goodbyes,” she expresses her desire to just pretend that there are no problems or complications in her relationship.
By exploring the hopelessness, fear, extreme affection and disconnect from reality that came from her past relationships, Lipa gave me a valuable window of study into the life cycle of love.
In a way, I am extremely comforted to know that even Lipa believes in love; if the same woman who wrote “New Rules” can be still be vulnerable and dare to hope for something more from men, then who among us cannot?
By not picking up the phone for our romantic partners that treat us like garbage, we leave the line open for the romantic partners that will treat us better; by not letting them in, we protect our vulnerable hearts and preserve them so that we actually have the capacity to trust those worth trusting; by not being their friend, we save ourselves from that vicious cycle of letting those who shatter us glue us back together.
Dua Lipa was not telling us to hate men; she was telling us to know our worth and to not spend time on those who do not deserve our time, which is even more empowering than simply hating men could ever be.