God’s Watching (If You’re Into That) | “Ignore Tenderness” by Julia Jacklin


Mckenna Lounds, Program Director

In these woefully trying times of instant, wide access to any media imaginable, some so-called age of innocence was effectively dragged out the window and shoved off the balcony years ago. If you’ve been considering the long-term ramifications of being exposed to Tumblr porn back in 2013, it seems Julia Jacklin has been as well. 

Off her latest album, Pre-Pleasure, comes the standout track “Ignore Tenderness,” which explores the everlasting struggle between shame and pleasure, along with the shadow which early life experiences cast over our sexualities into adulthood. Jacklin confides in us with these lines:

Ever since I was 13, I’ve been pulled in every direction / 

Such a good student, of all that conflicting advice.”

She initiates a listening experience akin to a group therapy session and proceeds to list off tips and tricks no adolescent should be made privy to. Now, let out a horrified sigh of relief knowing you weren’t the only preteen to stealthily study Cosmopolitan magazines with neon colored headers reading something to the effect of HOW TO TEASE AND PLEASE YOUR MAN. Furthermore, you weren’t the only one convinced God was preparing to smite you there on the spot. 

Make some noise in the crowd if the sex education you received was inadequate at best! 

In those crucially developmental coming-of-age years, shoving chastity down young girls’ throats proved itself to be harmful. However, so did feeding them aggressive sex advice disguised as empowerment, and many of us fell victim to both extremes. Addressing the permanent influence of these clashing messages, she continues: 

“But leave no room for doubt that /

You are brave /

Beneath the sheets, you’re just a cave /

A plastic bucket, or a grave /

Who said, ‘You’re not what you get /

You are what you gave away?’”

Dear Reader, what became of the something-teen year old trained to perform desirability despite their understood consequence of eternal damnation? Julia and I invite you to unpack how your understanding – or misunderstanding, rather – of sex at a young age is still dampening your relationship with your now adult body. First, try listening to “Ignore Tenderness” four or five times and then see about booking an appointment with your therapist to confront the repressed sludge this song will churn up inside you again. 

TL;DR – You’ll eat this song up if your recent Google searches include “is porn bad for our brains?” and “catholic guilt.”