To gain a broader understanding of how a song functions in society, it is essential to examine live performances, videos, and other media content in which the song takes place. In doing so, considering the audience and fan reactions can shape our insight in relation to the meaning of the song. In my third listen of “A Living Human Girl” by The Regrettes I have explored a live performance and TikTok videos. 

The live performance of this song took place at The Echo in Los Angeles, a concert venue known for hosting punk rock shows. The video opens with three young women of the band, standing together at the front of the stage, holding their guitars as they begin singing their doo-wop style vocables. Although what appears to be a small stage, the venue is crowded with people, both men and women alike; not uncommon for a punk show. The presentation of the band, standing tall and proud, strengthens the song’s lyrical message, one about confidence and taking up space. 

As the video continues and frontwoman Lydia Night bursts into the chorus, it’s made clear that she is performing while barefoot, wearing a short black dress. This representation of the frontwoman was particularly interesting to me because it embodies the song’s message about breaking societal norms, while continuing to be herself and wear what she wants. While many people would think that’s strange, it did not stop Night from confidently expressing herself. 

This live performance video also includes short clips of the concert goers moshing and crowd surfing, both staple moves in the punk rock scene. The movement of an audience often indicates a positive reaction towards the music. More specifically, mosh pits and crowd surfing illustrate the crowd’s enjoyment while also ensuring a safe space for individuals to express themselves. Furthermore, this type of dance can seem too aggressive or dangerous to mainstream culture. However, in the punk rock scene it has developed into a ritual. The imagery elevates the song’s message, encompassing the idea of freedom to self expression. 

To my surprise, I found that this a sample from this song had become part of a trend on TikTok. The song is featured in about 3,500 videos on the app. 

The sample of the song used in most of these videos is the first verse, 

“I’ve got… pimples on my face

And grease in my hair

Prickly legs, go ‘head and stare

An ass full of stretch marks and little boobs

A nice full belly that’s filled with food”

Each video shows a young woman displaying their own version of those characteristics on themselves. Every individual woman seen in these videos confidently shows themselves off, encouraging others to embrace their natural qualities. The comment section in a majority of these videos were mostly positive. Replies like, “this made me feel so comfortable,” and “this is my safe space” flooded the comment sections. Especially in the context of social media, many young girls are exposed to influencers who shape the current beauty standards, albeit unrealistic. This trend with the song’s use is a refreshing one, particularly because TikTok is infamous for having an effect on one’s body image and self esteem. This type of reaction to this song highlights how meaningful this song can be for others, reminding young women that it is absolutely normal to have acne, greasy hair, hairy legs, for example. Undoubtedly, it is significant for young women and girls to see their bodies represented and to hear that it is okay to not look like a perfect barbie doll. All things considered, “A Living Human Girl” is well received by their fans and TikTokers alike.