Regardless of the controversy surrounding Jennifer Lopez’s latest single (due its Dr. Luke-produced beats), the song has undeniable value when it comes to the very important matter of tearing the Oedipus complex a new asshole.
Highlighting the issue that most non-fifty year old men have–looking to their girlfriend as their mother–“Ain’t Your Mama” brings to life the vision of a relationship that starts out romantically enough as J. Lo laments, “We used to be crazy in love, can we go back to how it was?” in contrast with the current tableau of her home life, which has digressed into her urging, “Wake up, rise and shine/Let’s get to work on time.”
The portrait she paints of a boyfriend essentially glued to a piece of furniture most of the time, expectant of her to do the things associated with a 50s era mother–cooking and laundry–is a grim one, and not the sort of thing that Lopez can abide. For, ultimately, the novelty of being in love always wears off for a woman when the object of her affection puts her in the role of mother by acting like a grotesque man-child who begs the question, “When you gon’ get your act together?”
The timing of “Ain’t Your Mama”‘s release is particularly apropos for the current landscape, populated by a sea of men that can’t seem to transcend past the state of college-level behavior and into the realm of the type of adulthood that their fathers were capable of embodying. A shortage of masculinity has left women in the unfortunate circumstance of being the caretaker in a relationship, not just from the more literal perspective of finances, but also needing to offer emotional support that goes beyond the norm. And, because many men can’t see their female significant other as anything more than simply a person to replace the mother figure in his life, the potential for unsatisfying and unequal dynamics has greatly augmented in the twenty-first century.
Thus, when Lopez emphasizes to her boyfriend, “I ain’t gon’ be cookin’ all day/I ain’t your mama,” it is with the best of intentions: to remind men everywhere that once your mother pops you out, it’s time to stop trying to go back in.