Whether Americans realize it or not, pop culture has a large influence on how members of society view diversity. The songs they listen to, movies they watch, and their favorite television shows all portray different messages that can alter their perspectives. The song “It Pulls Me Under” written and performed by artist Butterfly Boucher, epitomizes self-discovery and self-acceptance. The song’s lyrics express feelings of confusion and being torn with one’s identity, while the music video illustrates a woman’s battle with gender orientation. The song and music video “It Pulls Me Under” by Butterfly Boucher exhibits the hardships those of the LGBT community often endure and how this can lead to self-discovery for those individuals.
The lyrics of the song represent the strength it takes for those who are struggling with gender identity to come to terms with their true selves. In the first verse, the line “The skies have opened and delivered a mess. What do we do when it’s out of control? My hands are worn. My heart is torn” is a powerful statement describing conflicted feelings one may experience upon realizing their sexuality or gender orientation (Boucher). These men and women are often afraid to come out because they fear they will not be accepted by their friends and family over something that is far beyond their control.
Experienced LGBT counselor, Madhavi Kulkarni states, “We receive calls from youngsters from the LGBT community who refrain from coming out because they don’t want to hurt or disappoint their family, or cause shame in society. They would rather live unhappy lives than tell their parents about their sexuality” (Fernandes). They often believe this best kept a secret which leads to estrangement and anxiety. They may also feel torn or forced to not feel or think this way due to personal conflict. The compelling chorus, “We stand, we stand, we can’t stand to fall down. Here comes another. It pulls me under. Don’t pull me under” (Boucher). These lines are repeated numerous times through out the five minute song. This represents unification among the LGBT community standing together and not letting society undermine their identity, or metaphorically speaking, ‘pull them under’. The second verse states, “My heart is waiting to figure it out. Throw me something. Help me turn it around. What do we do when we’re out of control?” (Boucher). This pertains to those who are still experiencing self doubt and trying to figure out who they are. They often wish these feelings could go away. These individuals often feel alienated from the rest of society due to their differences. It is indisputable that the lyrics to this song express diversity and discrimination within the LGBT community.
The music video portrays a beautiful woman who is on her own personal journey of self-discovery and how empowering it is to become the person she wants to be. The video begins with actress and LBGT supporter, Ruby Rose applying her makeup. It shows her deeply staring at her reflection in the mirror clearly unsure of herself and unhappy. She then begins cutting off her long blonde locks until they are almost completely buzzed off. After she is done cutting her hair, she dyes it dark brown giving her a completely different appearance. Next, she takes off her heels and gets into the tub. She dramatically pours a bucket of water over her head and begins washing her skin. Tattoos begin to emerge all over her body. This represents a spiritual enlightenment. She is cleansing herself of the past and the person she once was and is focusing on who she wants to become. The camera pans into a close up of her smiling and laughing. When she gets out of the tub, she is shown in front of the mirror removing her fake eyelashes, red lipstick, and nail polish. Next, she is shown getting redressed in more masculine clothing. Before she fully buttons her shirt, she is seen wrapping her breasts so she can appear less feminine. Finally, the music video ends with her smoking a cigarette while fiercely looking into the camera. It is evident she feels liberated and is happier with herself as a result of self-acceptance and the physical changes she made. The music video inarguably displays a positive message regarding the outcome of those transitioning.
“It Pulls Me Under” is the perfect depiction of the challenges and complexities faced by those coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity. Those of the LGBT community are often scapegoats dealing with the trials and tribulations of society’s prejudices. They deal with countless adversities including self-conflict, isolation, and fear of not being accepted by loved ones. Nevertheless, these hardships sometimes lead to self-discovery. The lyrics and music video to this song allow us to view those of the LGBT community and those who transition in a more positive light; thus proving the influence pop culture and the media have on society’s perceptions.