In a previous blog post, I talked a little bit about the country song “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” and how I thought the points that the artist made were not only childish but also somewhat dangerous to its listeners. Today I wanted to take a look at the seemingly unsettling message behind another country song that’s been gaining popularity recently, “Follow Your Arrow”.
“Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves is yet another catchy tune sung by a young lady who has become known for her “unique” lyrics that tend to break typical country music stereotypes. This most recent song has become the new anthem for the do-what-you-want, do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good, relativistic society we find ourselves in today.
I don’t have the time to write (nor do you have the motivation to read) everything I noticed that was unsettling in this song. In this post I want to start off by specifically focusing in on the first verse and the second half of the second verse which will give you an idea as to how the rest of the song progresses.
“If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore. You don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a horrible person. If you won’t have a drink, then you’re a prude. But they’ll call you a drunk as soon you down the first one…You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t, so you might as well just do whatever you want.”
I want to take a look at just her first example and try to make sense of the argument she appears to be making. I will slightly change the wording of the lyrics to make my point, though I don’t think it will mess too much with the song’s original intention.
Premise 1: If you save yourself for marriage, many people will think you of you as a bore. (You’re damned if you do.)
Premise 2: If you don’t save yourself for marriage, many people will think of you as a horrible person. (You’re damned if you don’t.)
Conclusion: You might as well just do whatever you want.
Essentially what she seems to be saying is that no matter what your moral standards are, people are going to make fun of you for them. Therefore you might as well just do whatever it is that you feel like doing and not worry about anything or anyone else. Just “follow your arrow” and do whatever you want to do. Moral relativism at its finest.
Here is how I would object to the claim and overall message that Musgraves appears to be sending. Let’s continue to look at her first example regarding pre-marital sex. It’s true that there tends to be a double-standard from society for people when it comes to this issue. If you say that you are saving yourself for marriage, then many people will make fun of you for it (girls as well as guys). If you have sex before marriage, you’ll find just as many people telling you that what you did was bad. But it does not then logically follow that therefore you should just do whatever you want simply because you can’t please everyone.
In keeping with this one example, if you happen to truly believe that it is your moral obligation to abstain from sex until marriage, then it shouldn’t matter what people say (both those who support and those who oppose you). The point of making a moral decision should not be about choosing which option will be most supported by your peers or which one will help you avoid the most amount of name-calling. For this example, if you happen to believe that you should wait to have sex until you are married, then anyone who tries to draw you away from achieving that goal should be seen as a challenge to your character, not an excuse to do whatever you want.
You will never be able to please everyone with your decisions. Some people will disagree with you if you do something and others will disagree with you if you don’t do that same thing. But to me, the whole point of “following your arrow” is not about doing whatever you want and whatever makes you feel good, but doing what you truly believe to be right despite the challenges that come with it and the criticism that follows from others.