I remember dancing like a robot to this song alone in my room, at my friend’s house, and in public. The thing is, I wasn’t only dancing to it, I was yelling the lyrics, and now I really wish I didn’t.
The 1983 song “She Bop” reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in ’84, meaning that everyone was rocking out to another Cyndi Lauper hit.
The catchy lyrics had everyone saying “she bop, he bop, and we bop. I bop, you bop, and they bop.” If you look up the definition for “bop,” it means to dance to pop music. That’s literally all we were doing.
At the time, who were we to judge anything the rock and roll legend was releasing. After “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” Lauper was the definition of female power. Her album She’s So Unusual received overall positive reviews from music critics, but “She Bop” started raising eyebrows.
As the song started to get more popular, many people were quick to point out the song’s controversial lyrics…
The song and the music video are said to have sexual lyrics and references to female masturbation.
So many people agreed with this claim that there was a Parental Advisory sticker on the track, and it was included on the Parents Music Resource Center’s “Filthy Fifteen” list, along with “Darling Nikki” by Prince, “Dress You Up” by Madonna, and “Let Me Put My Love Into You” by AC/DC.
There’s nothing blatantly inappropriate about the song’s music video, but apparently there are some subtle sexual meanings. For example, the magazine she looks at is called Beefcake, which is a male erotica magazine. The vibrating motorcycle has also raised a lot of eyebrows. She points to the idea of “female liberation” with the “self-service” gas sign and references to “Uncle Siggy’s Masterbingo”. Let’s not forget the scene where Lauper’s legs are flailing behind a foggy car window, and then she sits up holding a magazine (probably Beefcake.)
In fact, Lauper doesn’t shut down these claims about “She Bop.” It’s clear that the message of her song was meant for an older audience, but concealed with catchy lyrics so that the track could receive airplay and kids could dance to the song without having to worry what it’s actually about.
Fun fact: On several occasions, the singer-songwriter confessed that she recorded the song while she was naked and tickling herself. That explains the giggling…