Wordsmith Wednesday: Fugazi’s “Suggestion”

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Wordsmith Wednesday this week features the lyrics to Fugazi​’s song “Suggestion” from their record “13 Songs,” released on Dischord Records​ in 1989. They read:

“Why can’t I walk down a street free of suggestion?
Is my body my only trait in the eyes of men?

I’ve got some skin
You want to look in

There lays no reward in what you discover
You spent yourself (boy) watching me suffer
Suffer your words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands
Suffer your interpretation of what it is to be a man

I’ve got some skin
You want to look in

She does nothing to deserve it
He looks at here ’cause he wants to observe it
We sit back (like they taught us)
Keep quiet (like they taught us)

He just wants to prove it
She does nothing to remove it
We don’t want anyone to mind us
We play the roles that they assigned us

She does nothing to conceal it
He touches her ’cause he wants to feel it
We blame her for being there
We are all here
We are all
Guilty”

The use of rhetorical question and perspective in these lyrics introduced me to issues of objectification of women, victim blaming, and bystander responsibility well before social media and viral think pieces made the discussion these topics ubiquitous. Hearing the intensity of Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye deliver these words, my view of masculinity was directly challenged as a teenage boy. That is the strength of these lyrics: they are straight-forward and indicting yet give implied suggestions on how to undermine the systems of oppression highlighted within them. I owe a lot to these words for helping me consider what it really is to be a man.

– NR

Fugazi

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