“I like to sing and write songs and poems and dance (badly).
I also like to talk about things that are uncomfortable, because they are usually important.” – Mary Lambert from marylambertsings.com
On March 19, 2018, East Carolina University students and faculty members were fortunate enough to witness bold, beautiful, and talented Mary Lambert perform about topics such as LGBTQ, body image, mental illness, self-love, and acceptance.
Making Light of Heavy Situations
Lambert freely and vulnerably spoke of her life experiences that helped shape the woman she is today. Starting with stories of being a Christian lesbian, she shed light on what it was like being in her shoes as a young woman attending church. She frequently experienced situations where she felt unaccepted, leading to her questioning herself and her identity. Lambert also began feeling depressed and started secluding herself from the world.
In many readings we have come across in sociology this semester, including that of Lennox and Waites (2013), we learned how acceptance is not an issue merely Americans in the LGBTQ community deal with, but people all over the globe. In many countries, LGBTQ individuals face marginalization, generalization, stereotyping, and are subjected to jail-time. It is those types of cruel behaviors that stigmatize and dehumanize LGBTQ individuals and individuals they feel do not fit their norm.
Many of Lambert’s songs also consisted of lyrics covering the topics of body image. One of her songs used a metaphor of fitting into a prom dress to describe the stigma’s women feel about having to look a certain way for society. Not only that, but society also tries to shape the behaviors of women, including trying to obtain a level of perfection that does not exist. Although we do not specifically talk about body image, Cathryn Goodchild (2017) discusses society in her article about abuse. She discusses how perpetrators are made and not born; they are shaped by society. I think that is one point Lambert was getting at. Society has shaped people to be accepting or un-accepting of factors that benefit society, rather than individual people.
Free From the Chains of Society
By the end of the show, Lambert performed songs emphasizing being comfortable in your own skin, embracing flaws, and sharing secrets with the world. Unfortunately, the world may always be filled with discrimination. At the end of the day, people must decide when to stop letting society control their happiness or unhappiness. Society will always want you in chains. Sometimes we just need to sit back, laugh a little, realize that “they tell us from the time we’re young, to hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves, inside ourselves, I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else,” but “I’m over it” and scream..
“I don’t care if the world
knows what my secrets
are, secrets are- I don’t
care if the world knows
what my secrets are,
secrets are- So-o-o-o-o
Goodchild, Cathryn. 2017. “Why Does He Abuse? Why Does She Stay? Social and Cultural Roots of Domestic Abuse.” Pp. 221-238 in Women, Law and Culture: Conformity, Contradiction and Conflict, edited by J. A. Scutt. London: Palgrave-MacMillan.
Lambert, Mary. 2010. “Secrets.” Retrieved from https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/marylambert/secrets.html.
Lennox, Corinne, and Matthew Waites. 2013. “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the Commonwealth: from history and law to developing activism and transnational dialogues.” Pp. 1-59 in Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change, edited by C. Lennox and M. Waites. London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies.