I play a game where I gender bend song lyrics. When I recreate a song with female pronouns or gender neutral pronouns, a new world opens because the song is no longer just for cisgender men. I create. I re-imagine what I know. I speculate on what could be and who could be included in the conversation.
One of my favorite lines and songs to gender bend is “I’m Still Here” by the Goo Goo Dolls, featured in the Disney animated film Treasure Planet — a science fiction version of the book Treasure Island.
Instead of the line: “I’m a boy, no I’m a man” I re-imagine it as “I am here, I’m human.” Yes, I changed the meaning, but my imagining of the hero Jim’s growth into an adult, is now a character arc I have a greater stake in. This could be my story, just as much as it could be a traditional male hero’s.
Music, can be it’s own inspiration to make the traditional unfamiliar in our writing.
I’ve been listening to Styx recently, and “Renegade” in particular.
To be honest, I have not found a way to gender bend these lyrics. But I’ve started to imagine what a female renegade would look like. What if, instead of gender bending a song, I gender bend the trope that a renegade individual must be male?
There are limitless possibilities. As you let music inspire you to speculate, check out a few other speculative (space themed!) songs:
“Come Sail Away” Styx
“Rocket Man” Elton John
If you can think of any more speculative songs(especially songs by female artists!) I’d love you to add to the list.