“Mummycore” band I, Doris returns with a song and video called “Wonderwomen,” which is a DIY live action comic book treatment everyday challenges women all over the world face. You know, the mundane tasks that too often aren’t expected to be fulfilled by men like getting the kids to school after keeping after them to get all the little things done like basic hygiene and homework, then putting up with heaps of nonsense from power tripping bosses who are essentially useless middle management types who would crack under the pressure they put upon others. But if you’re a woman you’ve been conditioned to take on the blame for maybe not taking on all this work and completing it in some imaginary perfect fashion. I, Doris say a big p’shaw to that and not internalize a narrative of failure because “You’re doing fine.” That the band performs the song in a sort of camp, new wave punk version of the theme song to the American TV series Wonder Woman that ran from 1975-1979 and starring Lynda Carter is just a fantastically irreverent bonus. That the members of the band appear in the video as women who could be someone you run into walking down the street, in the school, in your crap job that everyone hates, at the grocery store or anywhere but wearing super hero costumes really turns the idea of women needing to give themselves more of a hassle or accept such from anyone else than necessary on its head. So many things in life don’t require your full attention and effort and this song is about cutting yourself a break for not giving it your all with everything all the time because that’s the path to self-destruction. If that messaging isn’t a form of radical feminism that anyone can get behind, it’s difficult to say what is.
I, Doris claims to be “the world’s first middle-aged girl-band.” And so it seems. What makes this interesting beyond a mere gimmick is the fact that Western culture generally encourages everyone to “grow up” and give up doing anything creative or having a real identity or personality after 35, much less 40. And if you’re over 40 and not rich or famous there is no public place for you in society. Especially if you’re a woman. Which is what makes “Just Some Doris” a delightfully cheeky indie pop gem taking aim at the notion that all women over 40 are basically interchangeable. The refrain “Just some Doris, you can just ignore us, don’t need to know my name, girls are all the same, birds are all the same, chicks are all the same, Doris is our name,” spills such notions back out into the world to send it up as the absurd conceit it is. But instead of screaming these sentiments, I, Doris takes the sarcasm a step further by delivering the message in a pleasing, accessible form as a nice pop song. Is the subtext that just because someone is polite and pleasant doesn’t mean they’re not telling you arch truths you need to acknowledge? It’s a playful pop song with layers of meaning both overt and covert and the melody is too catchy to resist. Watch the video for “Just Some Doris” on YouTube and follow I, Doris at the links provided.