AKB48 – Kimi Wa Melody

Infectious bubble gum pop ecstasy, or borderline “ear worm” annoying?

AKB48 (pronounced A.K.B. Forty-eight) is a Japanese pop act, a super-group not just in their popularity throughout Asia, but because somehow the band has more than 100 members.

The group has found controversy for seeming to use underage sexual imagery in lyrics and videos, and at public appearances such as in their own theatre. For example, a magazine photo showed a member with her naked breasts covered by what looked like a child’s hands.

AKB48 is also seen as providing examples of strong female role models to Japanese culture, in a larger society that is seeking to make gains for gender equality. But another member shaved her head as some sort of apology, after she stayed over night with a man.

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Helen Reddy – I Am Woman

A million-plus seller from 1972 on women’s empowerment that later became used at beauty pageants and on beer commercials…

But even if Reddy came to resent being mostly known for it, the influence on popular culture and feminism is tremendous.

The lyrics call for not giving up in seeking gender equality, that setbacks only embolden, and that this is just a start (“I’m still an embyro”). In this respect, feminism, as an ideology is often characterized as “post materialist.” That is, it concerns itself with matters of self-fulfilment. Too, feminism doesn’t stop: gains made are paths to seeking more improvements for women. This makes feminism and other ideologies such as environmentalism more evolving and dynamic than historical forebears such as liberalism, socialism and conservatism.