Canadians often define themselves as being not American. The Canadian rock classic “American Woman” on the face of it appears to be one of those typical rock songs about beautiful and powerful women that nevertheless, in decidedly un-feminist fashion, use their bodies to seduce rock stars that can’t avoid their beauty.
“American woman/Get away from me,” Burton Cummings sang in 1970.
But a closer examination of the lyrics reveals that the American woman is more like a metaphor for the USA, even if stereotypically.
- More aggressive including invading other countries, participating in wars such as Vietnam at the time (“I don’t need your war machines”);
- Culturally imperialistic, wiht Hollywood ruling the entertainment globe (“Coloured lights can hypnotize/Sparkle someone else’s eyes”);
- And lacking in compassion for those less well-off, especially in comparison to social program-laden Canada (“I don’t need your ghetto scenes”).
Some people understood the message. The band was not permitted to play this tune at the White House. But rocker Lenny Kravitz may have missed the point, including barely dressed women in his video for his cover of this song, missing the message completely.
See also: The Guess Who, Share the Land