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The Student News Site of Oregon State University

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Femcel Pop: An Emerging Genre

Femcel+Pop%3A+An+Emerging+Genre

Femcel: n. a girl with a Megan Fox poster listening to music from a CD player in her messy room, often found scrounging on Reddit forums.

In all reality, the exact meaning of a femcel differs from person to person. Much like her male counterpart, the incel, femcels are involuntarily celibate. Unlike her male counterpart, femcels blame their struggles on patriarchal expectations for women. That being said, femcel subculture can dangerously dip into toxic femininity and ‘man-hating.’ However, there is a side of femceldom that is full of hopeless romantics, hyper feminine aesthetics, and debilitating self awareness. Femcel music is Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple, and Mitski. They are sad, angelic, and can do no wrong. Femcel pop, more specifically, is a campy manifestation of women pining for love interests in their lives. 

Chappell Roan’s new album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess catapulted her into queer musical superstardom. Her whole album is a rich femcel text. Honorable mentions include “Casual,” “Red Wine Supernova,” and “Naked in Manhattan.” However, the peak of her femcel synth power is “HOT TO GO!” where Roan sings a mix of self-conscious lyrics, “well, I woke up alone staring at my cеiling/I try not to care but it hurts my feelings” and relentless flirting, “what’s it take to get your number?/what’s it take to bring you home?” It is incel but glittery, so it’s femcel. 

A pop anthem with rock prowess, “Bubblegum Bitch” by MARINA gushes 1960’s pinup girl femininity. Marina is dopey with love for a boy who “made [her] doll heart light up with joy.” Among this bubble gum pink imagery, Marina saturates girlhood to mock the stereotypical projections of women. That being said, at its heart, this track has the pining, hyper feminine, and innocent lyricism that makes this an exemplary femcel pop song. 

To be entirely honest, including this track was merely an excuse to talk about the 2023 movie Bottoms. An impeccable balance of Fight Club, Mean Girls, and Superbad, Bottoms follows two highschool girls on their journey of creating a fight club to sleep with girls. Without a doubt, these girls are femcels. “Yes No Okay” by Charlie XCX, a song from the soundtrack, is the perfect underscore for their indecent and raunchy endeavors. Charlie XCX sings the same six words with a moody indifference over a rock anthem reminiscent of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. This song is trying to play it cool but is too pop rock to be casual. You should fear the girl who listens to this on repeat.

With the pounding beat and loud vocals, “Maneater” by Nelly Furtado is the ultimate power trip. This is true for everyone, but especially femcels. Furtado’s sex appeal in this track is a vicarious experience. For femcels, lines like “she’s a maneater, make you work hard/make you spend hard, make you want all of her love” is freeing to dance to, but also makes it easier to forget you’re still alone at the end of the night. Regardless, “Maneater” is essential hype music for anyone needing a confidence boost.

From lyrics to vocals, “DQ” by Charly Bliss is flush with young naivety, self-deprecation, and internalized misogyny. The rough guitar and vocal tone adds an edge to an otherwise ‘girly’ song about a girl falling for a guy. With that in mind, lyrics like “I’m too sad to be mean/I’m gonna end up working at Dairy Queen” and “does he love me most now that his dog is toast” emulate desperation. Maybe this desperation is a knock to women everywhere. Maybe being jealous of a significant other’s pet is a historically nuanced literary take. Either way, “DQ” is what happens when a femcel has a crush. 

The clear and iconic precursor to many artists, including Chappell Roan, is Lady Gaga. With the utmost respect and appreciation for Lady Gaga, “LoveGame” is a femcel pop song. Her analogies for sex and pleasure are hardly veiled and the pulsing synth adds to the intensity. Unlike most other songs about female sexuality, “LoveGame” gives Gaga all the power with none of the shame. Knowing what you want and being “educated in sex” is only ever seen as fun, creating a healthy framework for thinking about sex. Unapologetically camp and powerfully feminine, Gaga is the femcel idol. 

Want to keep listening to femcel pop? Check out the “Femcel Pop” playlist on KBVR-FM’s Spotify. 

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