Full, legally copyrighted lyrics to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N' Roll" are currently unavailable.
|"I saw him dancin' there by the record machine / I knew he musta been about seventeen"|
The original song by the Arrows talks about seeing a seventeen-year-old girl by the record machine. Is objectifying (and ultimately taking home) a seventeen-year-old creepier coming from a group of guys than from Joan Jett? Equally creepy? Or is it not creepy at all?Deep Thought
Shmoop decided to take the legal route to answer this one, and found that age of consent is like driving age: it varies from state to state. No U.S. state has an age of consent lower than sixteen, and only a few listed it as high as eighteen at the time of research. Legally speaking, Joan Jett is pretty safe. So, it emerges that this less-than-innocent little line raises a few interesting issues. The difference between law and ethics is one key question (ethics often drive laws, but laws in turn can define ethics—after all, the English age of consent when English colonists came to the Americas was twelve, but that doesn't make it right). States' rights and the Constitution is the other interesting issue: when something this important is determined on a state-by-state basis it can seem arbitrary, but it is actually one of the basic tenets of the Constitution.
|"And I could tell it wouldn't be long / Till he was with me, yeah me"|
This line is pure rock star cockiness.Deep Thought
Back in her all-girl band days, Joan Jett saw that women weren't being taken seriously in rock and roll, so she put together a new band – this time with men. Jett showed the world that she could rock as hard as any man, and paved the way for other women to follow. But this song was originally written by men, so Jett is literally reversing the situation of a confident man picking up a young woman in order to make the song her own. In other words, she's embodying a male ideal. What does this mean for Jett's legacy? How does the fact that she played the role of a man in order to be a powerful woman complicate the story of women in rock and roll?