Thursday, November 15, 2012

Music and Lyrics: Am I Wrong For Liking That?

I love my music y'all. Music is how I start my day; I wish I was one of those folks who starts it with the news or NPR. I tried that but came back to my music.

I listen to a broad {in my opinion} mix of genres and artists. Back in the college days I listened to a lot of rap and R&B both of which have a disproportionately large number of misogynistic lyrics. I don't really listen to those types of songs anymore but hold the ones of my youth in a special place.

Great! I'm not endorsing or listening to {at least regularly} music that has blatantly sexual and demeaning lyrics about women. Super. But wait....that's not all we have to look out for!

Who has heard, in the last hour, a song about a woman who doesn't know she is beautiful, that is what makes her beautiful, or one who doesn't love herself but that's OK baby cause

Is that so bad? I'll be the first to admit that some of those songs are darn catchy and I love them but I recognize their messages: a woman is incomplete until a man loves her; she is not beautiful until someone tells her so; its ok to think negatively about yourself as long as a man is there to validate you.

Therefore I'm torn: of course someone caring for me is nice and desired; heck, it could be argued its a human imperative BUT the moment it becomes an issue for me is when the message takes on the tone of a 'benevolent benefactor'; in this case a man who elevates you somehow by caring for you or attributing a characteristic to you that you don't. In that benevolence, you are whole, complete or better. I'm all about better but why does it have to come from another? Songs with this message disproportionately feature a man/men singing about a woman.

Songs like these are both a product of and producing the current zeigeist wherein many women have low self-efficacy and look to bolster it externally.

Basically, this is what I look like when listening to these songs:

So my compromise with these catchy songs that are stuck in my head: I listen when they're on the radio; I will not buy them. Most importantly, I make subtle faces when they are played and I'm with others; after rolling my eyes, I continue to jam. If people want to know, they'll ask. :)


What do you all think? Find yourself jammin to these tunes? Hey, I'm not judging; just pointing it out so we can be conscious consumers.

- A

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