What if I’m nothing like her?

I love Robyn’s ‘Who’s That Girl,’ for many, many reasons (including that it’s a solid pop song by The Knife). I don’t want to take away from the song’s interrogation of problematic social expectations of women, but I think it works more broadly as cri de coeur in response to the pressure of social expectations.

I think one of the things that makes it is so rich and effective is its psychological complexity, and I think this aptly captures the experience of the weight of social expectations. The song’s central conceit is that this woman is a fiction, a myth. But the argument cracks, and the song simultaneously expresses the anxiety that maybe there are women out there who better live up to these social expectations, and that we’re nothing like her.


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