Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

No one ever says it about men, so why say it about women?

Share

The pop-star Lana Del Rey denied this week that she had “slept her way to the top”. This was the patient response to an interviewer’s question about her song, “F***ed My Way Up To The Top”, in which Lana addresses the sort of wholly idiotic, culturally acceptable trope that occurs whenever a young-ish woman is found being successful at, well, literally anything.

“It’s a commentary,” Lana explained, coming across in print as more affable than I’d be during similar dimwitted probing. She wasn’t, Lana underlined, saying she DID sleep her way to the top, she was saying she was aware of that general tedious mumbling which drips from people’s mouths whenever a woman has acquired something another man - and often another woman - hasn’t.

Yes, women are just as guilty of this. It drips from our gobs so freely when we’re faced with our own shortcomings. The mythical concept of the all-powerful, bewitching vagina which can give leverage to any pay deal or promotion is so entrenched in earthly society that even women stare at other women’s success and mutter, “Who did she sleep with to get that?”  

Obviously, nobody glances at William Adams - Will.i.am - who is currently enjoying the financial boost of being a partner in Beats headphones - recently acquired by Apple for $3bn - and mutters, “Pfft, who did he sleep with to get his place in THAT meeting?” Nobody glances at Will, feeling a mixture of jealousy, admiration and vague insecurity at their own relatively petty successes and invents a story, to comfort themselves, in which Will.i.am has probably slept with a lot of music industry men. And that these imaginary music industry men flipped open their laptops and said, “That was delightful. Now, how can I reward you for this?”

Nobody supposes this about successful men because when men’s achievements are focused upon, people are generally wholly reasonable and logical about the hard work, talent, determination, sacrifice and steely will it requires to rise higher than other humans.

Of course, people don't think that a man can screw another man and then the next day demand a job. Because, outside of wibbly wobbly porn land, how does this work exactly? Isn’t it more likely that the shagger would actually want rid of the shagee from his daily life once the act had taken place?

READ MORE:
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Lana Del Rey: The latest powerful woman that we want to see as just another toy

Is the shagger going to explain to all his underlings that an unqualified person is taking the role because of a sexual encounter several months ago that he's still paying installments on via a meeting here, a reference there, a promotion later. Nobody says this about men, because, logically, it makes no bloody sense at all.

You can’t “shag your way” anywhere. Yes, you can flirt your way - men and women - into a lot of places. Light flirting oils the squeaky wheels of commerce the world over. But having sex with people is a guarantee of nothing. If a sexual act acted as a binding document of trust then women wouldn’t have been sitting beside telephones waiting for him to call since approximately 1877.

I sat at a dinner recently amongst intelligent sorts hearing a very successful female friend being picked to pieces over her reported sexual history. A number of potato-shaped men were framed for 'giving her one' and thus boosting her financial acumen.

I sat with my face resting in my hands thinking of all the times I've heard this about women, not wanting to be the party pooper because they really were having a magical time self-soothing their own failures. What I wanted to do was scream, ‘How does this 'fucking your way to the top' thing actually work? And if you know, please tell me as I’ve worked almost six days a week and almost every Sunday since the 1990s and if there is a wonderful shortcut which involves me lying on my back waggling my ankles in the air, let me into the secret, as I’m really jolly tired.’ I didn’t say that of course. Feminism and the cheese and digestive course at dinner make very bad, boozy bedfellows. 

I rather like Lana Del Ray as in pop star terms she's a one-off. She’s a tricky soul who doesn’t quite play the game. She denies any interest in feminism, she poses being strangled, she hovers on stage awkwardly and is a patchy but enigmatic live singer. She is still dealing with fury from music critics who, since her initial hype, have worked out she isn’t actually a genuine 50’s waitress who rollerskated through a time tunnel. She isn’t smiley. She seems a little loopy. She’s a wholly fascinating presence. I think this is why she’s so famous. Or maybe she just had sex with some people. One or the other, you choose.

READ NEXT:
I was a Woman Against Feminism too
Boko Haram is a vicious sideshow - Nigeria's self-serving elite is the real culprit
We need to talk about homophobia in the police

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A pack of seagulls squabble over discarded food left on the beach at St Ives on July 28, 2015  

Number of urban seagulls in Britain nearly quadruples: Hide food and avoid chicks to stay in gulls’ good books

Tom Bawden
 

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life