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Your Best American Girl: Repressing Desire

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #11)

A month or two ago, in my Modern History of Japan class, my professor talked about some principals of Buddhism, which really reverberated with me. In order to find happiness and enter nirvana, according to my professor, you must take the step of relinquishing all desires. Of course, this is far from realistic. We must eat. We must sleep. We must hydrate. These are basic desires that each human inherently has within them in order to survive. Then, there are the material desires, like clothes, books, cars, expensive/junk food, and jewelry. But going in even deeper, into the emotional and the personal, there is a desire for human connection, to be loved, and to be the perfect version of ourselves. Mitski explores these desires in her song, “Your Best American Girl” and shows us through her lyrics that sometimes we don’t get to fulfill our desires because we don’t believe we’re worthy.

Mitski sings “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me” and “I’m not the moon, I’m not even a star”. It’s really all self-deprecating to be honest, why should she feel unworthy of someone’s love? Besides the fact that he’s in a relationship, she is a talented, beautiful, young woman with a lot of potential to be this guy’s Best American Girl, but I do empathize with the whole putting people on pedestals and yourself on the level right beneath whale excrement. We live in a society where we’re fed with all this imagery of beautiful, perfect, young women with bodies and faces that aren’t realistic to every individual. We feel the need to achieve this impossible dream of beauty that only leads to vain desire.

In the music video for “Your Best American Girl”, the director, Zia Anger, depicts a strong representation of what it’s like to want something really bad and what that experience is like when you don’t get it.  We see Mitski in a red blazer and red pants siting on a stool and far across from her is a (super cute) man who is flirting with her. He winks at her and looks deeply into her eyes, you’d think it was destiny, until… a woman shows up beside him. Uh oh, do I smell trouble? Mitski continues to wave at him but her happy facial expression soon deteriorates. Sometimes our desires, like in Anger’s and Mitski’s music video, are forbidden and shouldn’t be pursued. I’ve been there before. I think we all have. Scum’s Wish, am I right?

My aunt and business entrepreneur extraordinaire, once told me that you should never let anyone limit your desire to want to connect with people. I totally agree with this; human’s thrive on social, spiritual, and emotional connection and sometimes we can’t help but be magnetized to people’s auras and vibes. Repressing the desire to connect is not something we should do, but be wary of the intentions of these connections. I live in the big, cold city— New York — and sometimes I spend nights lying in bed thinking about whether I’m alone or lonely. I’ve been in Mitski’s place. Repressing desire and making out with the back of my hand just to see if it feels like the real thing (it doesn’t). My conclusion is: to desire connection is human, but if you want to receive love and be someone’s Best American Girl/Boy/Human then think twice of the repercussions of releasing the repression. Sometimes it’s better just to feel the connection in the now and then, like Mitski in the music video, walk away and don’t look back.

– Kathryn Fornier