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Jul/Aug-Hunger Makes Me.. (2016) > Good Music but Lyrics Disrespectful of Women

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message 1: by Jade (last edited Jul 29, 2016 02:50PM) (new)

Jade Louvat (jadekimcannelle) | 21 comments Hello guys!
I am a music fan and a musician and as this book is about a musician, it made me think of an issue I've noticed for a long time.

I have noticed that in commercial music and modern music in general, the language used to describe a woman is not enhancing their inner beauty but more their outer beauty, they often talk about women's bodies and a lot of insults towards women are used such as "b****", sometimes even in music sung by women. I have a lot of examples in mind but it would take long to write.
I think men and women singers should change their language and their views on women in their lyrics. The word b**** is used a lot in music, and it has almost become normal, however, ever since I was young I have never liked this word and never accepted it as normal. To change society, we have to change our language.

I think it is a real shame because instrumental-ly, musically, the songs are good and I enjoy listening to them. but it puts me off to know they are not making things go forward regarding Feminism and respect for women. I pay attention to the music but I also pay attention to how it makes me feel as woman to listen to it.

Tell me your thoughts about it and if you agree !


message 2: by Tim (new)

Tim I don't think the word "b*tch" is inherently misogynistic, but to use it to refer to women in general is something else, especially if it follows a possessive pronoun. One thing I find strange though is that more often than not, men are called "dog" as a compliment; it's used to express sexual prowess. Yet, calling someone a female dog expresses indecency? I'm seeing some consistency errors here. Now, I know that in recent months, the word "dog" has come to be more of an insult, which I think is good for reasons of consistency, but "b*tch" has been an insult for hundreds of years now so I think it foolish to suggest this is a "feminist victory" of any sort, at least until men decide calling each other "dog" should not be a compliment if "b*tch" shouldn't be a compliment either.

As for music, however, what can you do about it? What's written is written. You can still enjoy the music for its sound, I won't fault you for that and I don't think anyone should. Besides, it's not like songs can't express somewhat sexist views without using insulting words. The song "Girls and Boys" by Good Charlotte is a very particular song that I do very much like for its musical value, but nonetheless think is quite iffy in its depiction of women and their psyche. You might give it a listen before you continue reading, but that's not a requirement.

Anyway, I suppose you could say it's something of an attack on consumerism and/or materialism, but you don't have to blame women for it in order to do it efficiently. A particular line that interests me is one in the chorus that says "boys will laugh at girls when they're not funny". this is one I think is open to interpretation, because (despite the obvious fact that women also laugh at men's bad jokes) this line can also be seen as a way of saying guys have to make believe, as opposed to just saying that women aren't funny. After all, under our patriarchal values, men do have a lot of make believing to do, to themselves and to the rest of the world, which tends to be detrimental to both.


message 3: by Agustin (new)

Agustin | 223 comments Reggeaton is an utterly sexist music genre, and not only that but also superficial. It makes women look like nothig but sex toys.


message 4: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Lovegreen (lynn_lovegreen) I agree there are a lot of songs, in several popular genres, that sound good on the surface but have misogynistic lyrics. Personally, I won't spend money on those songs, but it'll take an actual campaign to encourage musicians to stop.


message 5: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 37 comments Evie Part 1 sung by Steve Wright-- pretty much an ode to jailbait. It may be that the character telling the story is meant to be closer to her age but it doesn't quite come across that way. Anyway, I find it creepy when grown men show sexual interest in young girls. I hate the cultural insinuation that women's presence in public is as an object for the male gaze. Evie Part 1 is the song equivalent of a random guy telling you to smile.


message 6: by James (new)

James Corprew Yea, not a big fan of stripping away freedom of expression which is what music, film, art, and writing books is all about. If you start treading down that road it becomes a very slippery slope. At the end of the day if something a particular artist writes about bothers you simply dont listen or partake in that type of entertainment.


message 7: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I would be careful about making blanket statements about entire genres of music, as with anything else. The characteristics assigned to different genres tend to refer mainly to the sound, so lyric content doesn't necessarily always adhere to a certain set of standards (meaning, there are of course trends in certain genres but if something SOUNDS like country music even if it doesn't have typical country lyrics, it would still most likely be categorized as country). Not to mention, the characteristics that we associate with different genres are always subjective!

I have very complicated feelings/thoughts on this issue, as it is part of my academic research interests. In my everyday life, though, I tend to avoid music with blatantly sexist lyrics. But sometimes it's just so catchy, I can't help but to enjoy listening to it. The power of music ;) In all seriousness, though, it's especially complicated because people use music for different purposes and enjoy it in different ways. Sometimes it can be almost entirely divorced from lyrical content.


message 8: by James (new)

James Corprew Katelyn wrote: "In all seriousness, though, it's especially complicated because people use music for different purposes and enjoy it in different ways. Sometimes it can be almost entirely divorced from lyrical content. "

Nailed it. Perfectly said.


message 9: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments It seems that what is happening in this discussion is that the people who are saying they don't like how women are portrayed in contemporary music are being quieted and told #notallmusic Google #notallmen. Today, there are problematic songs and entire records, and listening to music as a girl or a woman can be a difficult and complex experience, like you have to make a deal with yourself about what this experience means to you. This experience is very real and should not be trivialized.Just because some of you don't take lyrics too seriously doesn't mean that others don't have complex experiences listening to problematic songs that are everywhere. Music, just like other art forms work within the gender binary. The objectification of women is part of the gender binary, a system which we all live in, these songs are a reflection of it. To the person who spoke about Reggeaton, I encourage you to listen to Las Brujas, it is a feminist response to these songs. Thankfully there are people making sexually liberated AND empowering music such as Carrie Brownstein.


message 10: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (last edited Jul 30, 2016 01:08PM) (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Mariana wrote: "It seems that what is happening in this discussion is that the people who are saying they don't like how women are portrayed in contemporary music are being quieted and told #notallmusic Google #no..."

If you're referring to my response here, I want to make clear that the point that I was making is the same one you are: Genres are diverse, as you suggest with your Reggae example. Also, listening to music is a subjective experience, and there are definitely ways that listening to some popular music can be a challenge for many of us. Not everyone has the same priorities or aesthetic values when it comes to music, though.


message 11: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "It seems that what is happening in this discussion is that the people who are saying they don't like how women are portrayed in contemporary music are being quieted and told #notallmusic Google #no..."

No one has told anyone to "quiet" down. Only that when you go and try to imply there should be some kind of censorship when it comes to expressive freedom that does pose a huge problem. And that problem can work both ways. While i enjoy a couple of songs from bands like Rage Against the Machine or System of the Down i dont care for their political ideology driven in their lyrics. However, i would never attempt to squash their voice and tell them they cant sing about stuff that they have a passion for.

It would be like people coming out and telling Brownstein that she should not sing about the things she sings about. Like i said, its a slippery slope when it comes to artistic expression no matter if the message is something you agree on or not. I dont care if you are ICP or Taylor Swift, i would not want other people telling me how i can and cant express myself through my music and art. The problem is, if you start down one road it will just lead to another and less freedom of expression.

You dont have to like the message being put out there with a particular artist, but you also dont have to view, listen, or look at it. As you have already pointed out, there are other types of entertainment out there that clearly are more in line with your own thinking. I have no problem with people not liking a particular artist because of the subject matter they sing about, but i also have no problem with those artists expressing themselves the way they want to. At the end of the day i can choose to listen to it or not listen to it.


message 12: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Katelyn wrote: "Not everyone has the same priorities or aesthetic values when it comes to music, though."

This is very true. I rarely hear the lyrics, but have to pay extreme attention to them if I feel I'm "supposed to" know them for some odd reason. For me it's about the instruments, voice, etc. and bluntly put, the lyrics make up 5% or so of the value for me.


message 13: by Gerd (last edited Jul 31, 2016 02:50AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Generally spoken, I don't think that Meredith Brooks' "B*tch" is disrespectful to women, take on the other hand the Country Song "She's single again" (though, Country is in generally not though to be terribly empowering, is it) - so, no, it's not (just) the words by themselves that degrade women, it's the notion behind them that counts.


Mariana wrote: "I encourage you to listen to Las Brujas..."

"The Witches"?
Usually calling women witches is not thought polite either... tee-hee.


message 14: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (last edited Jul 31, 2016 05:02AM) (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
Hey! Interesting topic here. Personally, it's not like I've ever really listened intently tp music which lyrics were disrespectful of women...but I also have to admit, feminism was not the main reason behind. The main reason was, well for example in the case of reggaeton, which is wildly popular in the Spanish-speaking world, the music is just awful most of the times, haha. The lyrics are usually sheer crap, even if you decide to turn a blind eye to the many sexist pearls.

...That being said, we all have our skeletons in the closet, hehe. My working out music folder in my iPad has some real contradictions with my feminist ideology, particularly this infamous song, El taxi. Have any of you guys heard of it? Not sure whether there's an English version, because you could listen to the Spanish one but if you don't understand the lyrics then your ears won't bleed as much haha. The lyrics of this piece of art salute 'all women who make wine' (making wine=ahhh, I dunno, prolly equals making men come or whatever), because they 'stopped my taxi', although you should know that 'they want dough, cash, dollas', but you should be fine because 'I don't mind whether they make wine somewhere else'. The clip is rather vulgar.

...Hey, when you're drunk with your friends at the local fair, you'll dance whatever and then it'll stick to your head. O//O

But there are many other instances of great music where lyrics could be reviewed under a feminist light and basically ruin the song for you. Sadly not many of you, if any at all, will have heard of Loquillo, who could basically be defined as the Spanish king of rock'n'roll. The man is one of those classic, old-school rockers who never disappoints live. Well, one of his (great) old songs is La mataré..."I Will Kill Her"

A snippet of the lyrics:

Quiero verla bailar entre los muertos,
[I wanna see her dancing among the dead]
la cintura morena que me volvió loco,
[The dark-skinned waist that made me go crazy]
llevo un velo de sangre en la mirada,
[My sight is veiled by blood]
y un deseo en el alma,
[And I carry a wish in my soul]
que jamás la encuentre.
[May I never find her]
Sólo quiero que una vez
[I only wish that something]
algo la haga conmover.
[will move her, at least once]
Que no la encuentre jamás
[May I never find her]
o sé que la mataré.
[Or else I know I will kill her]

Por favor sólo quiero matarla.
[Please, I only wanna kill her]
A punta de navaja
[At knife point]
Besándola una vez más.
[Kissing her one last time.]


...Not only this is not one of his minor songs, it actually was a massive success back in the 80s, when it catapulted Loquillo to fame and glory! However, several feminists groups complained about the lyrics because they claimed it was an apology of gender violence. One of the members of Loquillo's band said that they had wanted to convey the exact opposite message...but Loquillo ended up not singing that song until just a couple years ago, when he made a statement saying that while had he written the song now, it would have probably had a different take (all the band members were in their early twenties back then), he also thought the backlash had been crazy.

In his words, 'if we are to eliminate all songs that talk about these issues, then we'd better toss a large part of tango and rumba, not to mention all the modern, mass produced crap where much worse stuff is sung, filmed and portrayed.'

Being a hardcore Loquillo fan, I would never think that the guy was presenting an apology of gender violence and sexism with his song. However, even now as I was listening to it for this post, I couldn't help but feel a little conflicted. It's similar to another song by a somewhat famous Spanish songwriter, Albert Pla. Now it wouldn't have been such a big deal, or maybe it would have been doubled, now that I think of it, but anyway back in the 90s, when the terrorist group ETA [Basque Country independentists] made it to the news almost monthly in Spain, he had the balls to sing a song called La dejo o no la dejo about a guy whose girlfriend was a terrorist -and clearly belonging to ETA.
One dead cop is just one less cop, one dead militar is just one less militar, one dead politician is just one less politician.
Some songs can be rather problematic and I think sometimes you need some real critical thinking skills to discern whether the lyrics are a very intelligently worded criticism or harmful, dangerous crap indeed, not to mention being aware of the historical context.


message 15: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments What I am trying to add to this discussion is that some people have complex feelings and experiences around problematic songs that objectify women. I am in no way speaking about freedom of expression and censorship. I am not even saying there shouldn't be songs with problematic lyrics. What I am saying is that, yes people have complex experiences when they hear these lyrics. It's difficult and this is a real experience. If you belive in freedom of expression, it would make sense to also support people speaking out about their experiences hearing this type of music. And of course there is music, even mainstream music that empowers women, but it is truly extremely difficult to escape problematic music. It plays in retail stores, restaurants, bars, in your friend's cars. So I think speaking about your complex feelings around hearing these type of lyrics is something to be supported, because it is difficult to talk about since it is so entrenched in our culture. There is also music women are making, even mainstream wise that is meant to empower women in a sexually liberated way and for me personally hearing these songs is a totally great experience. These topics are important to me specifically because I remember being about 10 years old and hearing music performed by men which objectify women, it played on the radio in school buses, on tv, and at school dances. I remember feeling really weird hearing these songs because I as a girl was going to be growing into a woman and I felt like society was telling me, this is what it is like to be a woman, being objectified by men ALL the time. This is a real experience I had and I was not far off because when I turned 12 and had to walk home from the bus stop, I started getting followed by men in their cars, screaming objectifying things. My sister just turned 12 and now she tells me this is her experience as well. As I said before, music is a reflection of the society and the gender binary. Thankfully I did find other types of music with empowering messages, but I haven't been able to successfully avoid problematic music, because I step outside and go into the world. But as a person that goes into the world, you should be able to speak about what your experiences and opinions are about the world.


I think it is very difficult to speak about what things make you uncomfortable, especially when they are societal norms, so what I mean with these posts, is only this : I support those who speak out about their experiences and feelings about music that makes them feel objectified or as of they are contributing to the objectification of women.

LISTENING to someone's difficult relationships with certain things is just that, listening. Being there, offering support, letting them know that they've been heard, that their feelings are valid.

Because to you it may just be an interesting discussion of censorship and freedom of expression, but to someone else it may be a reaction to real experiences, experiences that you may have been lucky enough not to go through.


Gerd: I made a mistake, then name of the band is called Las Sucias, I realized I made a mistake because they describe themselves as brujas. You see, I am a Latinx (Latina) woman, Reggeaton is popular Latin American music genre that often times has problematic lyrics that objectify women, made by men. This band is a Reggeaton noise band that includes lyrics about street harrasment, there by taking Reggeaton back and making it empowering for Latinx women. This is similar with what is happening with the term "bruja" (witch). In our countries, much like in many others, this word was used as a way to other a woman. Meaning, separate this woman from the rest of society, having negative connotations. BUT now, many Latinx women like myself are proudly calling ourselves brujas and we are empowering ourselves with this term, without the permission of the rest of society.

You can read about las Sucias and this movement here: http://remezcla.com/features/music/la...


message 16: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "LISTENING to someone's difficult relationships with certain things is just that, listening. Being there, offering support, letting them know that they've been heard, that their feelings are valid. "

I dont take issue with listening to people's experiences while hearing lyrics that they feel to be offensive. But the quote below from the original poster is what i do take issue with and what i was talking about and what ive been addressing. If the original poster had not made the statement below i wouldnt of had any issue with the viewpoint.

"I think men and women singers should change their language and their views on women in their lyrics."


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Mariana wrote: "What I am trying to add to this discussion is that some people have complex feelings and experiences around problematic songs that objectify women. I am in no way speaking about freedom of expressi..."
Your experiences very closely resemble mine. Many of the songs that are in the charts objectify women and generally push typical gender roles (at least that's how it was when I still listened to the TOP something, I don't anymore but I doubt that things changed dramatically...). And those songs are the ones that are played EVERYWHERE and that teens mostly listen to. That is soo worrisome!

I still remember "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke (I think that's his name anyway) being played in all the major radio channels and stores, being featured in magazines, and so on and most of the people my age (I must have been around 15 then) loved it. But it's so sexist and I don't even want to know what values this song alone imparts in a teenager's mind.

Is there really nothing one can do about it? I may go too far by stating this, but it also seems like a capitalist problem to me. As sad as it is, sex sells... STILL. Are we, as people, not able to control what sells?


message 18: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments I think Mariana has some good points.

Ana mentioned workout music or such. I have stuff on my playlist that probably is super offensive at times - and yes, I'd take issue with the lyrics if I started analysing some of it - but on the other hand it is almost like a reaction against its core message. If they were to basically throw women under the bus in their music, I'm sort of taking it and turning it against them.

Because beast mode, sweaty, panting, red-faced, physically and mentally performing, pushy, unapologetic force of nature type of running etc. is far from the perfect Stepford wife without any desires and dreams of her own apart from docile servitude. Kind of like kiss my ass, there's the door, don't let it hit you on your way out. You know? There's something unabashedly victorious in using sexism against itself. I watched the CrossFit documentary the other day, and that is happy, raw and authentic beast-mode extreme, and if I were to participate in even a fraction of such activity, I need music that kills doubt. Some anger against sexism is sort of useful too, but it's more like showing the middle finger whilst donning a wide, sweet smile.


message 19: by James (new)

James Corprew Jo wrote: "Mariana wrote: "Are we, as people, not able to control what sells? ."

I suppose there is always commercials we could sing to. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVYAr...

Not sure how much that would last though.


But you are correct, sex sells in many avenues when it comes to entertainment and advertising. Everything from Robin Thicke and Chris Brown to Salt N Pepa and Lady Gaga. The image in both presentation of musical artists and other celebs plays a big role in advertising for their trade as well as the concepts of their lyrical content.


message 20: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments James, there are some songs that are made by women about sexual empowerment that I find very liberating while other women have negative experiences hearing these songs and I respect and support their experiences and opinions, because we have different contexts around these topics. Opinions in these instances are shaped by your experiences. If someone has a negative experience hearing these lyrics it would make sense that they wouldn't want others to have these experiences and therefore they have that opinion that these lyrics should change, it makes sense that they wouldn't want others to be affected negatively by these lyrics. That opinion makes sense based on those negative experiences, experiences that you are choosing to ignore when you speak about censorship. Because you are missing the point, this isn't about censorship, it's about an opinion based on a real life experience. If you don't want to censor anyone than why don't you try to understand the experiences behind these opinions? No one is asking you to agree and it's fine that you don't agree. To you this might be just a discussion but growing up as a girl and into a woman, it is part of a women's identity, how they are seen through the eyes of society. This is not something you've experienced and you are privileged for that. I wouldn't wish it on you. So it makes sense that when you hear this opinion, you think that this is a matter of censorship, because you have not had these negative experiences around these songs, it hasn't happened to you. So to you it is just about censorships, because it hasn't meant anything about your identity. I have had negative experiences around these songs and I am still not advocating for censorship but because I have had these negative experiences I understand why someone would feel this way, it's very real to me and I wouldn't start a discussion about censorship when for some people it's about experiences they've lived through, which has affected their opinions.


message 21: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Jo wrote: "Is there really nothing one can do about it? I may go too far by stating this, but it also seems like a capitalist problem to me. As sad as it is, sex sells... STILL. Are we, as people, not able to control what sells?"

I don't mind if sex sells as long as there are options for those who don't wish to let sex sell. A free market means choice and sex is a valid choice. It shouldn't shape children's experiences, though.


message 22: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Mariana, do you think you could split up your text into paragraphs? Walls of text are quite difficult to read, and I do appreciate your opinions.


message 24: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "No one is asking you to agree and it's fine that you don't agree. "

I dont agree Mariana, thats why ive been stating such. It has nothing to do with whether or not i feel sympathy or anything for anyone who has had negative experiences. Not once in this thread have i told anyone not to state their opinion or experiences, not once. All i have done is taken a portion of something that was said and stated my own opinion on it. It kind of sounds like though you are trying to "quiet" me down because of my opinion.


message 25: by Jade (new)

Jade Louvat (jadekimcannelle) | 21 comments Mariana wrote: "What I am trying to add to this discussion is that some people have complex feelings and experiences around problematic songs that objectify women. I am in no way speaking about freedom of expressi..."

Hello, I appreciate the responses I got on this topic, I just wanted to know how much people paid attention to lyrics and what they actually convey in songs.

I can relate to what Mariana said that we cannot escape music, it is a big part of our lives, every public places you go, radio music is going to be played and you can't always escape it.
Maybe that is what is bothering me more is the fact that WE can't choose what is going to be played in public. So we have to listen to these songs, and the songs that usually empower women are mostly less heard on radio.
I have a very good example in mind and it is also probably the reason why I started this topic in the first place, for example Major Lazer's new song : "Boom", I love the music, it is energetic and makes me want to dance, I really love it. However, the singer goes : "Baby got ass like a trunk", "She got a body like Baywatch", "Told her move her ass to the tempo", "Back it up like yass, bitch", "Two of my bitches in the club". That is why it sort of made me think twice on the song. Can we still make good music without insulting and reducing females?
I really liked your sentence Mariana : "I as a girl was going to be growing into a woman and I felt like society was telling me, this is what it is like to be a woman, being objectified by men ALL the time."
This is how I used to feel as well growing up and still feel sometimes listening to some of today's music. But I always had in mind that this wasn't the truth of how women are and should be considered as I was lucky to be raised in a very aware family but for a woman who wouldn't have that in mind, she might be tricked into thinking she has to be the man's object. (Selena Gomez's song "when you're ready come and get it" for example)
In the music industry, women even objectify themselves too in their lyrics and I'm not even talking about the music videos side of music industry. I feel it is hard for a woman to not feel like you have to be sexy and beautiful all the time.
In a way we can say it is the fault of music industry and which music they decide to choose to put forward.
I can't ignore the lyrics of songs, whether I want to ignore it or not, it conveys a message, culture plays a big part in identity of males and females. I know there are organizations such as HeForShe who make things move forward regarding female rights but what about their identity?
It starts with changing the media and how they depict us and it goes for music too because belive it or not, people hear A LOT of music and see A LOT of music video clips, probably more than they go on the HeForShe website. That's precisely why it should start there too.


message 26: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments Algaea, you are right!! I tend to just write and write.

For me personally, I find certain songs by women very sexually empowering.

I think that songs that hold the narrative that women are only sexual objects are very different to songs that are about women expressing what they like sexually and how they want to be seen.

Algaea I think it's great that you feel empowered when you work out with your playlists, I know I definetly have similar experiences! Particularly when hearing Beyonce's Lemonade or self titled album.

Jo: "Blurred Lines" made me feel complex emotions as well! I love Pharrell, I've even seen him perform live a few times, the song was super catchy, but the implications just really left me in a bad place, but I couldn't escape it, it WAS everywhere!


Because I love pop culture but I am an intersectional feminist, I've always sought to understand these topics, and what I found is that, because of the internet, the public now has an outlet to share their experiences around pop culture and this is extremely powerful.

This is how the criticisms surrounding "Blurred Lines" reached the mainstream media, because the public was vocal about it though the internet.

What is great is that right now there are female artists who are sin ginger and rapping with empowering lyrics, sexual or not and they are getting a center stage, rather than b3ing only a part of an underground movement, and I think part of the reason for this is because the public canot use the Internet to be vocal about pop culture AND they can actually educate themselves about these subjects just using Google.

There have always been empowering female artists, but I think the more we use our voices to speak about what is important to us, the more popular culture will reflect that and female artists will have a center stage to be able to communicate their empowerment and male artists will have more of a center stage that will celebrate their voices when they communicate their vulnerability.

I don't think it's anyone's responsibility to speak on these matters, but I do celebrate the ones that do because I know how difficult it can be and I am telling you, it is making a difference.


message 27: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments I think we keep coming back to the conundrum of sex. No, it shouldn't be everywhere. Yes, people should be able to choose. Yes, people should be able to un-choose sex. Yes, people should be able to choose sex.

When a sexual woman decides to put herself on display, there will always be people telling her she's part of the problem, she shouldn't, she should, she can choose because she is a role model, no she can't choose because she is a role model, and on and on. People have opinions, there's talk about objectification and talk about choosing sex on one's own behalf. And then I didn't even mention men who objectify yet.

We don't have much music in the public space at all. Must be exhausting to deal with, if it is unwelcome.

Jade, I do have an objection to what you said though. A woman doesn't objectify herself. If she puts her sexuality on display, it is just that. If she does so voluntarily, that is her prerogative.


message 28: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments Correction:

What is great is that right now there are female artists who are singoing and rapping with empowering lyrics, sexual or not and they are getting a center stage, rather than being only a part of an underground movement, and I think part of the reason for this is because the public can use the Internet to be vocal about pop culture AND they can actually educate themselves about these subjects just using Google.


message 29: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments


message 30: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments Jade: to me personally there is a difference when a woman is speaking about herself and how she wants to be seen than when a man compares a women's body parts to an object.

According to the gender binary, a woman's worth is based on being marriage material, part of that means being sexually attractive so the man will want to have sex with you.

Songs found in pop culture about women are often about a woman's body or what the man can get the woman to do, showing his power, which is playing the male gender role.

Though to me when I hear songs by a woman talking about what she wants and who she is, it personally empowers me and I can relate.

The gender binary dictates that women are to be seen and they are for the sexual pleasure of men, so its empowering to hear a woman sing about her own sexuality, as being her own, not for anyone else.

I also love hearing music from men about their vulnerabilities, these are songs that go against the gender role of men.

I think that the issue for me is gender roles and how we define each other by them.

To me sex isn't the problem, but how we are restricted about how we talk about sex because of the gender roles we are still affected by.

Though Jade, I understand and support you on your experiences around during pop culture.

I think beauty standards about women are ridiculous. And it is ridiculous that a women's worth is still often times measured only by her sexual attraction.

Women can be sexual beings but they are not only sexual beings. Men can be individualistic, but they can also be vulnerable and nurturing.

The gender binary is a system that we all have lived with. Pop culture often reflects that system. So it's great to question the rules that were put in place by that system. I do think that some female and male artists are doing that, much like Carrie Brownstein.

The gender binary is restrictive and we just don't all fit under its rules. I can attest to this because I don't fit completely into my gender role, I'm a woman and I am assertive among many other things women are not taught to be like.


message 31: by James (new)

James Corprew Lady Gaga and R Kelly- Do What You Want

“You can’t have my heart and
You won’t use my mind but
Do what you want with my body
Do what you want with my body”

Not really empowering if you ask me, especially considering R Kelly's history with former pop icon Aliyah. (RIP)


Taylor Swift- Better than Revenge

“She’s not a saint / And she’s not what you think / She’s an actress, whoa / She’s better known / For the things that she does / On the mattress, whoa / Soon she’s gonna find / Stealing other people’s toys / On the playground won’t / Make you many friends / She should keep in mind / She should keep in mind / There is nothing I do better than revenge.”

Not sure slut shaming would really constitute as empowering here.

Sure, there are plenty of female artists who have some very strong and empowering voices and messages. But there are some out there that are as equally as bad as some of the male artists in entertainment.


message 32: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments For some reason I'm thinking of hipsters right now. I find it refreshing to see how a group of people are doing their own thing, without caring much about opinions of others.

The aesthetic is far from Grace Kelly or Michelle Yeoh, to mention two rather similar faces from different parts of the world, and they don't care.

They clothe themselves however they please, they listen to a particular kind of music quite often, and they just do their thing, even though globally it is almost an insult at this point to say that someone is like a hipster.

Indeed, this defining oneself is admirable, as is the lack of seeking the world's approval. In general, I think things go south for many when they care to extremes about the opinions of others, and true freedom is detachment from all that external nonsense the way I see it. If the world tells women how to begave and look, why listen? Why not just say shove it somewhere where the sun doesn't shine and proceed to please oneself only?


message 33: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments Totally agreed Aglaea!!


message 34: by Alexis (new)

Alexis Marie | 200 comments I agree. I hate it when I find out that some of my favorite songs depict women horribly as they are nothing more than a booty call or a bitch. It's disgusting, and the music industry really needs to step up its game and prevent the sexualization of women as well as its slut shaming.


message 35: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments James, I don't think anyone is saying that all female artists have empowering lyrics? Sidenote, Taylor Swift has apologized for this lyrics because she realized they were slut shamey and also Lady Gaga received public criticism for that song through the Internet which reached a mainstream platform.

Like I've been saying, we ALL live with the gender binary. Gender roles and rules have affected us all, men and women.

That being said, if a woman feels empowered by whatever song from whatever artist, it is not up to you to decide what should probably shouldn't empower her.

Which is a statement I'm sure you can understand with your focus on freedom of expression. Different things affect us in different ways because our contexts differ and we differ.

It's always great when people speak about their experiences with certain things because that's how real experiences are brought to light and we can consider each other further.


message 36: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "Different things affect us in different ways because our contexts differ and we differ. ."

Exactly.

And no, i have zero problems with Swifts or Gaga's lyrics only pointing out it happens on both ends of the spectrum.


message 37: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments James, it doesn't mean these experiences are not shared though, which is why it is great for people to speak out about these experiences and share with each other, because we are the consumers. This is how we use our voices for change.


message 38: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "James, it doesn't mean these experiences are not shared though, which is why it is great for people to speak out about these experiences and share with each other, because we are the consumers. Thi..."

And i think that is just going to be our one hangup regarding this issue. Im just not for forcing people to change they way they express themselves through their art. If you want to try and make change at the media level (something i dont think will ever work) than by all means let your voice be heard. Is it possible for the media in general to determine what gets played/viewed/shown, etc? Sure. But that will just end up opening up another can of worms for the artists themselves and how they make money and a living. Sex is a commodity and its used to sell a product no matter how minor the use of sex is applied. And this applies to both men and women in all facets of entertainment. If you are trying to make a change at the corporate level than go for it i say. If you are trying to force artists to change what they want to sing about no matter if its based on experiences or just for shock value than i cant support that type of cause.


message 39: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments James, who said anything about forcing anyone? What I am simply saying is that, we the people are the consumers, by speaking out about experiences and use our voices, we challenge the status quo.

We are the market. Responding to music or whatever is being sold to us is a great thing to do, because othershe might share in our experiences and not realize that they aren't alone. There is power in numbers as well as power in public knowledge.

Women are half of the population and I assure you, these experiences are shared, which is exactly why criticisms of the songs you mentioned were spotlighted through the mainstream media.

Artists can sing about whatever they choose, but we can use our voices to speak about our experiences in being exposed to pop culture.

We like the artists also have the freedom to express ourselves in response to what pop culture is putting into the world.

We are using our voices, just like they are. We are allowed to have critiques to what we are being sold.

And yes, these critiques and public knowledge have led to change of substance.

I am not in anyway shaming sex content in music, as I've said, I've felt empowered by certain songs that contain sexual content.

Whatever artists want to play or not play, we are the market and the market reflect the people and the systemsong in place.

For instance, the people who bought most of the albums in the black community in the 90s were men and a lot of the music being sold to them had a lot of popular male artists that had lyrics about what they can get women to do, six wise.

Today, the market in the black community haservice changed and women are the ones earning more so they are the ones that the market is geared towards, so what is being sold to them has changed a lot. You see more female artists talking about what they want in sex and their own identities, as well as male artists having lyrics about what they can do for women, sex wise.

We are all the market, we are the consumers. Anyone is free to make the music they want, and women are free to have a say about it, our voices do matter and they do contribute to a changing market.


message 40: by James (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "James, who said anything about forcing anyone? What I am simply saying is that, we the people are the consumers, by speaking out about experiences and use our voices, we challenge the status quo.

..."


Ok, So what changes would you like to make that doesnt impose on personal freedom of expression? How would you approach this particular issue for you?


message 41: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 13 comments One last thing that I will let you know James before I stop interacting with you is that, YOU ARE EQUATING NOT BEING ALLOWED TO MOVE THROUGH THE WORLD UNCRITICIZED AND UNCHALLENGED WITH THE GOVERNMENT PREVENTING US FROM EXPRESSING OUR VIEWS IN PUBLIC.

You're point of view on this topic is a point of view that has been used for a long long time, when a woman speaks about her experiences.

Whether you are a part of it or not, women will continue to use their voices to express themselves about what is being sold to all of us.

As you see, currently more and more female artists are putting out more feminist conscious music, which is reaching pop culture.

This is no mistake, our voices are being heard and reaching artists as well as markets. This will only continue as we keep using our voices in the struggle to see more identities reflected in our culture.


message 42: by James (last edited Jul 31, 2016 03:23PM) (new)

James Corprew Mariana wrote: "One last thing that I will let you know James before I stop interacting with you is that, YOU ARE EQUATING NOT BEING ALLOWED TO MOVE THROUGH THE WORLD UNCRITICIZED AND UNCHALLENGED WITH THE GOVERNM..."

See my question above.

I wont bother responding to this post as i find it very dismissive of my own point of view which i find to be a huge problem. Ive not once in this thread have said that people cant feel a certain way about lyrical content. NOT ONCE.

I have only challenged the notion that was originally presented in the first post of this thread. The only person that has been dismissive about opinions or experiences has been you against me.

But ill ask again, what answers to you have that are actually viable to your particular concerns regarding the music industry and its setup? If you dont want to answer than great but dont be condescending and sexist against me for simply following the thread and the way it was presented. Im not going to play that stupid game with you.


message 43: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments The music industry is an industry and is there to make money from the customers. The content we accept by buying it are the limits that are set. So artists will make the music they make and if it takes off the industry steps in.

This is the dilemma of the artist and the audiences what is acceptable for art.

The harsh truth in the current climate I feel is that anything that has overly misogynistic content should not be supported commercially it may get out there but society thought the commercial mainstream should not support it.


message 44: by James (new)

James Corprew Ross wrote: "The harsh truth in the current climate I feel is that anything that has overly misogynistic content should not be supported commercially"

So what would be your solution for this? Back in the 80's the PMRC were able to get warning labels put on the records/cds/cassettes about the lyrical content, etc. What further steps would you like to see put into place that wouldnt violate an artists (male or female) freedom of expression? Would you want this expanded to other entertainment avenues such as movies, books, art, or even comedy? Where and how should you draw the line when trying to regulate something like this?


message 45: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments James wrote: "However, i would never attempt to squash their voice and tell them they cant sing about stuff that they have a passion for."

Not sure about that, if one expresses "a passion" for objectifying women, then I think we should tell them how we feel about that and should do our best to limit their influence.

However, I think you exaggaerate what the OP said, there's no notion of censoring these people. She clearly stated that _she thinks_ these people should find different ways to express themselves.
Though, that's where I would beg to differ. I've you only change the words but not the tune - if you allow for a metaphor that just begged to be used in this instance - we make no progress at all.

As for how to tackle the problem.
I think the posters did outline the most valid option. Speaking out about and against that type of music, tell people to start listening closer to the lyrics because "but the tune is catchy" is not much of an excuse, and not to buy the music if they don't feel like supporting the message it transports.

And that's not censorship.
That's making a choice, and if enough people make that choice those "artists" just have to live with less money or change their tune.

And that won't keep a single person who's passionate about something from doing it.
Which means people who see it as their passion to objectify will continue to do so, they will just hopefully have less impact over time.


message 46: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Mariana wrote: "You can read about las Sucias and this movement here: http://remezcla.com/features/music/la..."

Never heard of Reaggieton (doesn't sound like I missed anything by that, though).

Okay, well, that sounded a lot like my speaker was dying, hence the name "Noise", eh? - to borrow some immortal words:
“I'm too old for this shit." :D
(but the tune is catchy, sometimes)

Just looked up what "Sucia" means, another Spanish word I better not use it seems...


message 47: by James (last edited Aug 01, 2016 09:24AM) (new)

James Corprew Gerd wrote: "James wrote: "However, i would never attempt to squash their voice and tell them they cant sing about stuff that they have a passion for."

Not sure about that, if one expresses "a passion" for obj..."



“Not sure about that, if one expresses "a passion" for objectifying women, then I think we should tell them how we feel about that and should do our best to limit their influence.”

By all means you tell them how you feel. The same can be said for those who oppose other types of influence through their music (religion, death, politics, feminism, etc). You wont get an argument out of me in terms of speaking your mind so as long as we are not talking about trying to pass laws that suppress expressive freedom.

“And that's not censorship.
That's making a choice, and if enough people make that choice those "artists" just have to live with less money or change their tune.”

Indeed.

Its also making a choice not to listen to the radio when said song is being played or buying such records, etc. This we agree on and I have never wavered on that thought process.

“And that won't keep a single person who's passionate about something from doing it.
Which means people who see it as their passion to objectify will continue to do so, they will just hopefully have less impact over time. “

Absolutely. And as I said to Mariana good luck with that particular fight. If people feel that is an avenue they want to pursue I encourage them to try and do so. Im sure there will be some push back that will go into other areas of music as I pointed to above but as you said everyone has a voice and can use it.


message 48: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments James wrote: "You wont get an argument out of me in terms of speaking your mind so as long as we are not talking about trying to pass laws that suppress expressive freedom."

Gods no!
Not that I personally would mind if they did, a lot of modern music is to me just air pollution, so I would hardly miss it. :)


message 49: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I see two main conflicts happening in this thread:

1. Aesthetic vs. Ideological expression and value

2. Music as Product vs. Music as Art

Music contains both in number one and is both in number two. It seems that different people are conceptualizing music as being one or the other, or prioritizing one or the other, and you have to consider ALL of these elements.

The real issue is that if we want music to both allow freedom of expression from the artist as well as act as a reflection of the desires or demands of public sentiment, then those things need to match up. This leads us back to a larger issue: sexism in general, not just within a song or even within the industry or consumerism. If public understanding of gender and sexism change to reflect the values that we hold, then there would be no discussion or censorship at all because lyrics would not pose as much of a problem. Unfortunately, this reality is a long way off.

At the end of the day, music will be made and people will listen. Some will be unhappy about certain lyrics and avoid that music. In some cases, as in the case of Taylor Swift apologizing for that lyric (I had't heard about that before!), the artist will evolve to reflect those values. I think that's the most we can hope for.

Bottom line: Music is both art and consumer product, and it contains both aesthetic and ideological elements, and individuals need to decide for themselves where they draw the line on where their priorities lie. Often this is a subconscious process. But being critical of the music itself does not equate to censorship. And inquiring about another person's enjoyment of a particular song despite problematic elements is fine as well as long as it is done politely and with the understanding that these somewhat contradictory elements of what makes up popular music make the entire discussion extremely complicated.


message 50: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 37 comments Question: Where in public is this music playing? Where I live, the playlists in public are often a mix of hits from the 1970s on--so it's mostly pretty innocuous and offensive songs are fairly rare. When are people forced to listen to these songs? And if these songs are truly bothering a significant portion of the population, can those people organize to create change?


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