I didn’t expect to come across a song that embodied the female rage so many have carried for years on the TikTok page of a woman swaddling her cat like a baby. Then again, I can’t say that upsets me, either. If anything, it feels appropriate and totally in line with my goals for life.
TikTok Strikes Again
I discovered the previews of Paris Paloma’s ‘labour’ on TikTok, and the clips stuck in my head until the song came out. Something so terribly empowering and relieving about hearing these thoughts and feelings stated so eloquently and beautifully embodies the prison that can so often represent life as a woman.
If our love died, would that be the worst thing?Paris Paloma, labour
The chanting in the background, a united choir of women sharing this pain with each other, embodies the unity often seen at marches where women scream ‘enough’ as society pushes us back down.
I’m twenty, but I’ve known for a long time that I don’t really fancy having kids. The idea of being responsible for a tiny human that is half me is enough to cause nightmares. I don’t have that pressing desire to look after a kid with a death wish that is partial to running into oncoming traffic on a whim. Feel free to send me a link to this if I change my mind but for now? I don’t enjoy the attempts to bingo me over my life choices.
Women are expected to follow this very linear path in life, even if the world denies it exists. We’ve come leaps and bounds over the years, with women now having a place in the world outside of mother, wife, and servant to those around them. But that’s not to say the world is perfect – not that perfection exists, but we can do better. That’s what I feel ‘labour’ embodies.
maid.Paris Paloma, labour
The double standards of living in a world where we’re supposed to be everything without complaint. One line that clung to me like smoke was ‘nymph, then a virgin’ – the purity of women but the desire for us to be sexually ravenous and able to satisfy every need of men. Female sexuality is a point of shame and contention as much as it is something to brag about. It demonstrates the no-wins situation we face.
Acknowledging, Then Improving
In acknowledging the failures of a world that should protect me, I’ve also come to accept that I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing a daughter into this world. Nor would I feel able to bring a son into it, knowing that the likes of Andrew Tate will circle him like a hawk, teaching him to hate women and shame them for their ‘promiscuity,’ ignoring how they were groomed and trafficked into such a position.
So, I don’t want a life of unpaid labour. Where I find myself a full-time babysitter to men that can do better, were it not for the forced incompetence they lay at my feet. Where it is my job to raise a daughter to respect and love herself whilst also telling her that the police will not help her if somebody were to inflict the worst pain upon her.
If we had a daughterParis Paloma, labour
I’d watch and could not save her
I would rather dance around with a cat swaddled at my chest, single, childfree, and happy. I don’t need a man to save me, to continue to perpetuate the vicious cycle we find this world in. A thankless and unending job that lasts a lifetime.
Songs that embody the female rage we’ve been taught to keep within us are the way to start healing. The way to grow past these expectations and become who we wish to be. I believe can do this.
This is not to condemn the women that have children. I am proud to be my mother’s daughter and recognize that I cannot begin to demonstrate the strength that a mother has. If anything, it is more a desire to call attention to the fact that this generation does not need to devote their life to children if it is not a decision they make wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. We are not there to build the white picket fences for men, to continue the illusion of legacies as the world crumbles around us.
It’s not love if you make her, as Paris Paloma sings.
For ‘labour’ is not a song that condemns men; it condemns systems that one could argue they are also victims of.
Like all women, I am more than just what I can do for men. I don’t want to live under the looming axe of dominance under a guise. I want to be more than an object for sex, a body to scorn as it ages.