‘Build a Bitch’ is the debut single of Bella Poarch. Age 24, Poarch is one of the more original personalities to breakout from TikTok over the past year. Her videos often play with the expectations more conventional TikTok influencers create. Which makes her move into pop a more exciting prospect than what music fans have already seen from tamer contemporary Dixie D’Amelio.
What is ‘Build a Bitch’ About?
What does Poarch have to say as a pop act? Quite a lot it turns out. ‘Build a Bitch’ plays out like a musical version of Billie Eilish‘s 2020 short film Not My Responsibility. Its core message is that women should accept their bodies as they are.
“You don’t get to pick and choose,” Poarch sings, “Different ass and bigger boobs, if my eyes are brown or blue. This ain’t Build a Bitch. I’m filled with flaws and attitude. So if you need perfect, I’m not built for you.”
During the song Poarch discusses the virgin and vixen dichotomy placed on women by men’s expectations. This is a theme she also explores in her TikTok videos, often shifting from innocent and devilish alter egos in an instant. In doing so, Poarch voices the generational anxiety of women who have lived with social media since before they were teens. They are tired of being judged on looks alone. The self is more than an image on a screen.
Can Bella Poarch be taken at face value?
‘Build a Bitch’ carries an important message. Of course, it is healthy to not always take social media personalities at face value. Poarch is not wholly a humanitarian or feminist revolutionary. She also wants to be famous.
Poarch cashes in on sentiment. Can she practice what she preaches? Pop artists, like the poets of ancient times, have a common habit of failing to place their money where their mouths have been.
As the philosopher Plato pointed out more than 2000 years ago, people who win widespread public acclaim are often beautifully ill informed on the subjects they discuss. Instead, they appeal to the lower, less rational parts of our brains. This can be a dangerous thing. The audience often admires and imitates the faults these figures represent. Followers can become cocooned in dreamy thoughts, the kind filled with desire and judgements about how things “ought to be”. In the process, they become cut off from the reality of life.
Poarch here is the suffering hero. The sense of drama this song carries with it creates pleasure. And while Poarch is not an accomplished vocalist she has enough attitude to hold it down. Like Dixie, Poarch’s massive platform will ensure people will listen no matter what. Fortunately, Bella Poarch seems to have a lot more to offer than other TikTok contemporaries. What is more, her Filipina-American identity broadens the perspective she can bring to popular culture. Whether Poarch can hold the music world’s attention long enough to do so? That remains to be seen.
Final thoughts on Bella Poarch
‘Build a Bitch’ is fun. It has a message. The world is better off for hearing it. Placing ‘Build a Bitch’ next to the work of Billie Eilish’s ‘Your Power‘ or Ariana Grande’s ‘God is a Women‘, however, suggests Poarch may have to dig deeper as a songwriter if she wants to establish a unique and lasting musical presence of her own.
Poarch's attitude works well in a pop context
Still has some way to go as musical act
Can the music outmatch the celebrity?