Is Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin… Offensive?
I’m going to be blunt about this:
No, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman is NOT Offensive.
There have been articles swimming around suggesting that someone finds the song offensive.
It appears to have all stemmed from a satirical post by Trans Cultural Mindfulness Alliance – a Twitter account exclusively dedicated to parody and satirical content…
Of course, when writing about this – the likes of the New York Post linked back to the original tweet where several people had pointed out the satire in the responses. Sky News Australia, Daily Mail, and MSN all fell for the bait.
Seven days later, after several news organisations didn’t pick up on the satire, TCMA updated their account to indicate they are a Parody/Satire page and responded to the original tweet letting everyone know it was satire.
Now, while I love a bit of satire – I have to give news agencies the benefit of the doubt; maybe they didn’t do their job well enough to realise it was satire. How can we expect them to do their jobs as Journalists, after all? It’s rude to think it…
See what I did there?
With this kind of commentary, it’s always a better option to speak with the original source. It’s the number one rule of good journalism. [Good thing I’m not claiming to be a journalist at this moment…]
That being said, because it was a Trans person/organisation that decided to make the comment, people are losing their minds.
Besides news outlets talking about the non-news, far-right activists and general transphobes have come out of the woodwork to defend Aretha, which is ironic considering how much racial hate Aretha was known for getting from the same people…
So, I repeat, nobody finds Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin, written by Gerry Goffin, offensive.
Now, onto whether this joke should’ve been said…
No. At the very least, it shouldn’t’ve been done without an immediate understanding that it was satire – by saying it was satire or giving the joke a punchline.
This is the type of incident that often causes more distress than good. I know all press is good press, but it’s really not when our human rights are in the process of being removed…
While I don’t think we should be to police our content online, I think we need to be mindful of what we’re posting when claiming to be an organisation or activist.
As someone who has a small following on a few socials (mainly Facebook and TikTok), as an Activist, it would be irresponsible for me to pull something like this. Especially so bluntly.
My satire and parody work are all identifiable as such by the end of it. This was not.
Which begs the question of whether this person genuinely thought others would agree it’s offensive…
We may never know, but as a trans person who’s spoken with other trans people about this and also checked the replies of the tweet only to find hundreds of Trans people disagreeing… I think it’s a consensus that Trans people do not find the song offensive…
And for that reason, I’m going to play it on my radio shows at least once a week – because Aretha Franklin was excellent, and it’s a fantastic track.
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