This morning, my alarm woke me up with the song “Never Again” by Nickleback. I’ve heard this song lots of times and don’t really pay attention to the lyrics all that much. But this time, they did catch my attention. For example, here are the first two verses:
He’s drunk again, it’s time to fight
She must have done something wrong tonight
The living room becomes a boxing ring
It’s time to run when you see him
Clenching his hands
She’s just a woman
I hear her scream, from down the hall
Amazing she can even talk at all
She cries to me, Go back to bed
I’m terrified, That she’ll wind up dead
In his hands, She’s just a woman
After our discussion about patriarchy in class, I thought this song was a particularly well-timed example of the ideology of patriarchy. First of all, it demonstrates violence against women (or a repressive state apparati, to use the terminology from the course). Her boyfriend/husband/father/whomever is drunk and beating her up. But more insidiously, this song also demonstrates an ideological state apparati: the line “She’s just a woman” appears over and over again, implying that the woman is inferior, and helpless. While the end of the song’s story shows that she is not helpless, as she deals with the problem once and for all, this line appears six times within the song’s lyrics, and two of these instances are after she’s dealt with the man.
The full lyrics can be found here.