Tag Archives: Joe Camilleri

“The Girl in the Mirror” – 80s pop and #feminism

Today on Youtube, while doing grunt work on the PhD (goes quicker with a soundtrack), I stumbled on something I don’t think I’d ever heard – a political (feminism) pop song from the 1980s. You can watch it here, followed by my attempt at lyrics and a John Berger quote that seems to fit….

“Following Jo Jo Zep Clifton once again collaborated with Joe Camilleri in the recording studio on her first solo single ‘Girl On The Wall’. The Camilleri produced track was a fantastic pop-rock song with really clever lyrics, which took a sharp edged look at the whole question of self image for women. The inspiration for the song came from Jane Clifton’s role in the Robyn Archer penned cabaret show ‘Pack Of Women’.”

Lyrics (if anyone can figure out the bits I couldn’t, lemme know please)

Every time I go to catch a train
An image stares down at me
Oh every time I buy a magazine
An image stares out at me
And I feel so insecure
Cos I know one thing for sure
That the girl in the mirror
Ain’t the same as the girl on the wall

Baby’s….. to know
He says that it must be love
In bed when he closes his eyes
Is it me that he’s thinking of?
Because everything I say and do
Is all from his point of view
And the girl in the mirror
Ain’t the same as the girl on the wall

Cos I’m overweight, underweight
Too strong, too frail
I got lifeless hair and dirty finger nails
Too dry, too greasy
I’m a prisoner locked in a body cage

Flat chested big busted
Flat footed flat face
Big-bottomed short-legged and my nose is out of place
Too pretty too ugly
Too forward too shy
I got no self-image and I wonder why

Every day I’m walking down the street
I feel every eye on me
Everyone that I meet
I wonder who do they see
Perfection in disguise
With regimes and alibis
And the girl in the mirror
Ain’t the same as the girl on the wall

The girl in the mirror
Ain’t the same as the girl on the wall

“A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another….

One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
― John Berger, Ways of Seeing