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Humans, we need to talk. There’s a problem in the music industry that I can no longer stay silent about and I would like it very much if you were on my side.
And before you go dismissing me as some preachy feminist based on the title of this piece, I ask that you give me a little more credit than that. Think of this more as a straight up convo between two pals about some bullshit realities that really need addressing. I promise to not give you regurgitated man-hating content if you promise me your attention for the next 600 words.
So here goes…
For a society that is so progressive and open to equality, we seriously need to sort our shit out when it comes to the kinds of music we let grace our airwaves. Some of the music we’re letting saturate our top 40 literally promotes not only general sexism, but domestic violence, victim-blaming, male dominance, objectification, and the perpetuation of an already despicable rape culture.
“But I don’t listen to that stuff!” I hear you firing back at me, to which I respond, “Oh yes, you do”. How do I know? Because I too am guilty of singing along to such songs, oftentimes obliviously. My case in point, a song we deemed worthy of the number one spot on our charts for 11 consecutive weeks back in 2013—“Blurred Lines”. Now, I know for a fact you’ve at least hummed along to this bop some point in the past two years. With a hook so catchy it shouldn’t have been legal and a superstar lineup, we somehow seemed to glaze over the fact that this song is the definition of everything wrong with the industry right now. With lyrics like “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” and “I know you want it”, I’m disgusted that we let anyone under the age of 16 listen to it.
But I’m not here purely to criticise Thicke and his comrades, they’ve had enough grief already. What I am here to ask is why we continue to embrace it when we know it’s wrong? There is so much academia out there proving the effects negative themes in music have on us, yet here we are, in 2015, still not actively doing anything about it.
In a nutshell, listening to derogatory music on the regular desensitises us. The more we consume, the less we care and the less we notice. A “bitch” here and a “hoe” there start to slide by under the radar and the crude music videos become just music videos, and so the cycle continues.
In what reality do we want young women to think that submission is a desirable trait? Or that being treated as an object to be lusted after is more rewarding than being acknowledged for your intelligence and wit? Yes, what men make of such music is a big part of the issue, but this kind of carry-on is just as damaging for us females. When women become desensitised to it, their perception on things such as sexual harassment and rape are altered, often leading them to believe that anything they experience isn’t as bad as they think it is because they’ve seen it portrayed in music in a more low-key manner. I don’t know about you guys, but I think that’s goddamn terrifying.
So who are they? Well, the list of offenders is long and there are definitely some unsuspecting characters in the mix. If I had my way we’d blacklist them all, but, alas, I am a realist and I know that simply wouldn’t be sustainable. Instead, I ask just a small favour. I ask that we all agree to pick out just a few of the repeat offenders and be done with them. Who’ve you got to choose from? Plenty. Eminem, Jason Derulo, Robin Thicke, Meghan Trainor (deceptively anti-feminist), Usher, Yeezy—it takes little more than a quick Google search to find yourself a sizable list. Kick ‘em to the curb and encourage your pals to do the same.
It makes me feel physically ill that this kind of blatant misogyny exists in such a universal medium, and if you don’t agree with me on that then I hope I never meet you. We all know that one person can’t change the world, but we can start chipping away at it. If Perez Hilton can successfully implement and execute a one-week Kardashian ban, then we, the well-informed students of Victoria, can, at the very least, clean out our playlists for the greater good. ‘Nuff said, I’m out.
Kate is a lover of 90s boy bands and all things basic. Her Mum once told her she has too many opinions for her own good so here she is.