Leave it to feminist academics to make a lesson out of a Zumba class, that popular form of group exercise for the decidedly hyperkinetic. Some well-meaning feminist-leaning people have already questioned our participating in Zumba and other forms of female-dominated Jane-Fonda-esque aerobic activities to be a sign of our having patriarchal body image problems and self-loathing, so perhaps turning Zumba into a feminist lesson (and blog post) might make up for any misperceptions along those lines.
Two fun pop songs played in Zumba classes these days are Meghan Trainor’s “No” and Trainor’s duet with LunchMoney Lewis “I Love Me.”
In the song “No” Trainor advises women to recognize their right to say no, offering multiple ways to do so:
“All my ladies listen up/If that boy ain’t giving up/Lick your lips and swing your hips/Girl all you gotta say is/My name is no/My sign is no/My number is no/You need to let it go/You need to let it go/Need to let it go.”
Of course we self-defense advocates know and celebrate this sentiment. But it’s the words LunchMoney Lewis sings in “I Love Me” that drive home a perhaps equally important and complementary lesson for men, so that they can take no for an answer. In his part, LunchMoney Lewis sings:
“Oh hey-ey-ey, I love me/Hey, hey, hey, I love me/’Cause I’m sexy and it ain’t my fault/I ain’t waitin’ on nobody’s call/You don’t want me, baby that’s your loss/I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, baby.”
Men need to follow the example of LunchMoney Lewis and develop their own self-love, self-care, and sense of centeredness. For having all of those things makes taking no for an answer, and respecting another person’s boundaries, a non-issue. Of course, it’s possible to take no for an answer and respect someone’s boundaries anyway (like, because it’s the law and all), but what a wonderful place from which to listen and respect. As LunchMoney Lewis so clearly says, being rejected might not be fun, but it’s FINE.
And, as for being a feminist who goes to Zumba, well, I love me.