Mary Lamberts song “Secrets” embodies many aspects of what we have talked about in class. First and foremost, she talks about social constructions of a woman and how it ties in to the social constructions of sexuality. She expresses how she does not embody the typical characteristics of a female intoday’s society. A typical female description would be nurturing, submissive, caring for family, accommodating, and beautiful in all aspects. But, Mary can easily say she embodies so many things that go against that gender role.
I’ve got bi-polar disorder
My shit’s not in order
I’m always late
I’ve got too many things to say
I can relate this part of her song to what we learned in class when we talked about adolescent girls’ sexuality, a chapter in the book “New Sexuality Studies”. In which Deborah Tolman talks about how girls are told to wear less to be more and more sexy. But, Mary Lambert says she does not identify with this, stating in her song that,
“she rocks mom jeans, and wears cat earrings”.
This is Lambert resisting the unfair conceptions and social norms that society gives females. This is her claiming her sexuality, not being like everyone else. She then states,
“They tell us from the time we are young
to hide the things that we do not like about ourselves
I know I am not the only one
who spent so long attempting to be someone else
well I am over it.”
She is tired of following the social constructions of gender just to try and fit in society, which she has been trying to do for the majority of her life. She is going to do what make her feel most comfy in her own skin. She knows that being herself will affect her future in many ways but she is willing to take that chance. In the chapter, “Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual politics in the United States”, it says that “Laws, institutions, mass media, and social policies shape and regulate are sexuality” (55). Meaning that if you do not fall into certain regulations you will not receive all the same privileges as the straight society. These privileges can include things like going out in public and not having to be worried about getting assaulted for one’s sexual orientation, job security being a problem, being able to live together and marry in any state, and/or trying to explain ones sexual orientation. This stigmatization happens only because our society is extremely heteronormative. Heteronormative means that the society you live in believes that being straight is the normal and the preferred sexual orientation.
Next, I was curious about Mary’s life so I decided to do a little research on her. If you look up Mary Lambert online, many of her stories and songs she has performed draw on her life experiences growing up as a lesbian. Mary grew up in a religious family of a Pentecostal church and went through many hardships while she was younger. All her hardships began when her mother decided to divorce her husband and come out as a lesbian. This got their family kicked out of their church and lost all friends and community connections. But, this did not hold Mary back. This was the spark.
Mary ended up coming out as a lesbian at the age of seventeen.
“Coming out was an AHA moment for me. Everything made sense. For the first time. I felt so good in my own skin, like now I fit”.
During this time, she was trying to stay involved in the church she was attending with her girlfriend. Which is a part of this interview that I can connect with our classes SPEAK OUT! Panel discussion with the Office of LGBTQI life. This part of Mary’s life can connect the life of one of our speakers, who also came out while attending a church and who also fought to stay within the church. But, then realized like Mary…
“We are so worried about judgment that we end up judging other people”
While they (Mary and “speaker”) were so worried about the church judging them, they were creating their own judgments about the church. Initially the girls would think that the church is being evil about their thoughts on sexuality and their relationships. But, they then realized that they “do not see it as being hateful, or hurting a community. They have good intentions (Lambert).” In Krista McQueeny’s artice, “Multiple Identities”, she talks about homosexuality in the Christian church. She states that the dominant view in these religious is that homosexual sex is an abomination before God (294). But, then says that “the lesbian and gay Christians redefined their sexual identities and practices as compatible with Christian belief” (295). Which I think is what the speaker was getting at, being a religious studies student in the divinity school at Vanderbilt University.
Next, to relate to this Mary says “I always just wanted to find my soul mate” Which every participant in the panel wanted. They did not want a hard time; they just wanted to live their life happy just like straight people do on a daily basis. They want to date around and find the perfect match for them. They are just like everyone else, all they are asking is for every straight person to allow them to do so without trouble.