At the tender age of ten years old, I can still recall the hot shame on my face at hearing the Hall & Oates hit song ‘Maneater‘.
‘Ohhhh here she comes, watch out boys she’ll chew you up’… ‘Maneater’ was a song about the evils of a powerful woman who will ‘eat you up’.
A top hit in 1982, it was a catchy song but carried a misogynistic warning about women not being too powerful, too strong, too independent.
I took a dislike to the song at that time without knowing why – though of course I realise now that ‘Maneater’ made me feel bad – and ashamed of my female power.
So imagine my surprise to recently discover that although early on the song was about a woman, it was never the duo’s intention to write an anti-female song.
In fact, the subject of the song was actually about a place; New York City.
Yup, Hall & Oates are on record saying that ‘Maneater’ was actually written about the dark side of a beautiful city that was watching and waiting to chew you up and spit you out.
Skip forward to 2000 and Nelly Furtado’s ’empowered’ version of the song is a huge hit as she gyrates about in a sweaty underground club and generally ‘owns’ it.
It would seem that we have a new maneater about every twenty years, which makes it due to drop anytime now – we did have Miley’s rocking out cover – but perhaps the next one will be another musical evolution that includes a wider gender expression than those of the past.