"It's different for girls when their hearts get broke
They can't tape it back together with a whiskey and Coke
They don't take someone home and act like it's nothing
They can't just switch it off every time they feel something
A guy gets drunk with his friends and he might hook up
Fast forward through the pain, pushing back when the tears come on
But it's different for girls"
One of my favorite songs of the summer was the critically acclaimed hit by country superstar Dierks Bentley featuring up-and-coming songstress Elle King, "Different For Girls." The song has blared through my radio countless times in the past few months, King's sultry voice a soothing contrast to Bentley's deeper one against a melodic blend of guitars and drums.
"Different For Girls" explores the different ways people experience break ups, it's main message being that while guys can act like everything is okay and have fun with their friends after a break up, potentially bringing a random girl home and hooking up with her, girls don't behave the same way because its "different" for them. Elle King even sings, "She don't have the luxury to let herself go" and "When the going gets tough, yeah, the guys they can just act tough".
I love this song. I am a fan of both of the artists that collaborated to sing it, and I admire it's catchiness and the tune behind it that includes all the elements of a hit single. I realize the genre is, of course, country, and that country music is universally known to be laid-back and fun, as opposed to being serious and trying to make a statement.
However, for as good as the song is, one quick assessment of the lyrics prompts the question: "It's 'different for girls'? Is it, though? Really?" Do guys and girls actually go through break ups in the way that Bentley and King suggest? A study done by Binghamton University and University College London suggests otherwise, implying that men actually have a more difficult time recovering from a break up than women.
While the guitar-heavy track is, indeed, just a song, it's message perpetuates the idea that women are delicate, dainty creatures overflowing with emotion that should see fit to coming off put together and okay at all times. The idea that girls can't walk into a bar in an old t-shirt "looking for a bandaid" is an antiquated misrepresentation bordering on sexism. Girls actually can process things that way, and they do, as I have seen many girls and women have their hearts broken and react just as the song implies guys do.
So, really, what it comes down to is that break ups aren't different according to your gender, they're different according to who you are as a person. I'm sure the song's intention was to come off as honest and real, not offensive and sexist, and a few of my friends dropped the term "feminazi" when I offered my take on it, but I think it's worth mentioning that girls process their emotions in a variety of ways. Girls shouldn't be expected to go through a break up, or to go through anything, in one, cookie-cutter formula, just because they're female. They should't be categorized into perpetually tender beings void of anger, getting drunk, and lashing out. Girls can act however they want to, and, contrastingly, guys can, too, grieving a break up at home for a few weeks as opposed to going out.
It's "different for girls"? No, not really.