GoldieBlox is a toy company on a mission to inspire the next generation of female engineers. This awesome video features an elaborate Rube Goldberg device and is set to The Beastie Boys “Girls,” one of the group’s earliest and most misogynistic songs. Naturally, the lyrics have been rewritten as a girl power anthem, and they are fantastic. I’ve posted them below.
I won’t deny that I didn’t revel in “Girls” and its lyrics when I was a teenager, but we all evolve and mature (or at least we should). ;) As a Beastie Boys fan, it was nice to see them express regrets about their sexist past.
Jessica Valenti of The Nation reflected on MCA’s Feminist Legacy after his death in 2012:
In the Beastie Boys’ anthology The Sounds of Science, Adam Horovitz wrote about “Song for the Man,” and how it was inspired by men he saw harassing a woman on the subway: “Sexism is deeply rooted in our history and society that waking up and stepping outside of it is like I’m watching ‘Night of the Living Dead Part Two’ all day every day. Listening to the lyrics of this song, one might say that the Beastie Boy ‘Fight for Your Right to Party’ guy is a hypocrite. Well, maybe; but in this fucked up world all you can hope for is change, and I’d rather be a hypocrite to you than a zombie forever.”
When the band won an award for “Intergalactic” at the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards, Horovitz used the opportunity to talk about the rapes at Woodstock, urging muscians and promoters to priortize women’s safety. (The year prior, Yauch spoke out against anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.)
Hearing the Beastie Boys speak out against sexism made me feel like if these men who had once sung about getting girls to “do the laundry” and “clean up my room” could understand, maybe the rest of the world would follow suit. It made me hopeful in the best way.
Maybe the shift of a band from seemingly misogynist frat boys to thoughtful messengers of feminism isn’t the most transgressive, radical thing in the world. But for women who love hip hop—or who love pop culture—and are denigrated by it every day, it was validation. For one of the first times, the music I loved loved me back. I know that Yauch’s passing doesn’t mean the Beastie Boys will stop their musical or activist contributions. But it does mark the end of seeing these three boys turn into men, watching them grow up together into incredible allies for women.
Here are the new lyrics. (I transcribed them, so please let me know if there are any errors or things I may have heard incorrectly):
You think you know what we want
Pink and pretty it’s
Just like the 50s, it’s
You like to buy us pink
And everything else is for
And you can always get us
And we’ll grow up like them
It’s time to
We deserve to see a
Because all our toys look just the
And we would like to use our
We are all more than princess made!
Who build the spaceship
That code the new app
That grow up knowing that they could engineer that
That’s all we really need is
To bring us up to speed it’s
Our opportunity is
Don’t under estimate