October 29, 2020

Verba ex Machina

Words From The Machine

I Am A Woman in School (But I Think I Don’t Need To Be)

2 min read
Sheet Music

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

“I Am A Woman in School (But I Think I Don’t Need To Be)” is a song that features lyrics such as “I’m a girl who’s just a baby/And I’m a girl that’s been born/I was born to be a girl” and “My dream is to grow up, but I think I don’t need to be/ And I’m a boy that never should have been.” The lyric was written in a recent New York Times op-ed by the singer/songwriter Katy Perry, who was asked what the song means to her. Her response was that she hopes the title refers to the idea that, although women might come of age during adolescence, they won’t necessarily grow up. “It feels like we were conceived as girls and then they gave us this amazing experience of being human,” she wrote. “I think that’s how I wish this song was to my sister’s generation of young girls: I just want her to have that feeling.” Her sister, Rihanna, tweeted a video of Perry singing the song back on Oct. 13. “To the girl who’s just a baby, I’m so proud.”

The song was named for a character named Lady Bumba in the novel, “Lady Bumba and the Bunch of Babies.” Lady Bumba is referred to in the book as “an ugly duckling who has a very particular way,” while the Bunch of Babies describe her as “a tall, skinny, pretty little duck.” Lady Bumba and the Bunch of Babies are both referenced in the book “Sisters and Sisters,” an autobiographical account of two sisters: “And a lady named Bumba, and a pretty girl called the Bunch of Babies.” The lyrics of the song, “I’m A Woman in School, But I Think I Don’t Need To Be” in its current iteration, refer to the idea of growing up with the assumption that one does not need to grow up and is therefore free to express herself. Lady Bumba and the Bunch of Babies also reference another character in Lady Bumba: a mother who has “a particular way,” who “will not shut you out.”

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