I saw this video awhile ago and I loved it. The powerful message stuck with me for a long time so I wanted to go back and watch it today. When I looked at the comments on the video, I was disgusted. What this woman has to say really should be an eye opening concern. Instead, people think she’s being over-sensitive and- like always, ranted off topic about religion, which has nothing to do with the overall message in the video whatsoever.. Let me explain just how concerning degrading music should be for everyone!
In America, we live on the idea that “sex sells.” Companies go to extremes to sell their products, the question we should be asking is “Who are they selling to?” considering the majority of the media is directed toward adolescent girls and falling on young ears. The whole point of this video is to address the hedonistic society we live in today.. and frankly, I think she does a damn good job at capturing the issues and putting them into a powerful song. It seems to me that many people have lost their morals and the values they once had. Honestly, I don’t claim to be a feminist, but I guess you could call me one, and I have no problem with it. Why is being a feminist such a bad thing anyway?
The thing I am concerned about is that people seem to remain apathetic to the idea of objectification and sexualization. When I speak of objectification, I am mostly speaking of those who constantly monitor themselves and their appearance, thinking of how others will perceive them based on how sexually desirable they appear rather than their own desires in which they feel comfortable. People passively accept the lyrics that are pounded into their brain over and over while listening to the radio, or going out to dance at a bar. Some people will say.. “Who cares about the lyrics? We just want to dance and have a good time.” It’s fine to want to dance and have a good time, but in doing so, you are accepting the messages being spread around by these songs, meaning they are only going to keep making more. Before you know it, those songs will be the only thing you hear on the radio, or in the club. Oh wait.. it’s already come to that. So now what?
Well, with the portrayal of over-sexualized females, girls seem to think that’s the role they must play in order to be socially accepted, or have a good time. And guys seem to expect that role from women as well. (I’m not saying all guys and girls… but there’s definitely a scary amount). I mean, I’ve personally seen numerous times girls wearing next to nothing, shaking their asses and grinding all up on guys for the guys pleasure. I’ve also personally heard guys talking after the fact about how girls compete with each other to be the sluttiest for attention, and the guys just love it because they get a show and they don’t have to put in any effort. I’ve had guys say to me “What are you going to give me for that?” And other statements along those lines. That’s where I begin to become offended. I shouldn’t have to do a damn thing for you for some common courtesy, or just any form of respect.
Why do guys just expect something from girls now days? I don’t get it- but I’m guessing it might have something to do with the music they are listening too, and the way women are portrayed in the media. Women used to be looked at as pure, and beautiful souls. It was a pleasure for a man to get to know a women they desired, one on one, none of their “bro’s” around to objectify the lady. Women used to desire respect, they would turn a man down that showed disrespect, and they didn’t flaunt their goods to any man that would turn their head.
Call me feminist if you want, call me boring, call me a priss, call me old-fashioned.. I don’t care. At least the people around me have respect for my opinions and my personality. I don’t need to act a certain way to get attention. In my eyes, being smart, having an opinion, and having a little class will get you a lot further than twerking in your thong at a bonfire for the mere pleasure of everyone around you but yourself, and posting selfies everyday with your boobs hanging. Sure, it’s okay to go a little crazy every now and then- take risks, have fun… I have no problem with that. Probably because of the society I grew up in. But when it’s a weekly routine and you see nothing wrong with your impulsivity.. that’s when I consider it a problem. Everyone craves adventure, I think it’s healthy to let loose every now and then and do your thing, but you don’t have to degrade yourself in the process in order to be adventurous.
Women have become so sexualized that young girls now grow up thinking that they must conform to fit in with the rest of society. That they should act like an object of debauchery, and they shouldn’t think about anything but partying, sex, and drugs while remaining submissive to the oppression they’ve gained. Adolescents tend to “police” their friends into conforming to attractiveness and sexiness, along with judging other girls who do not conform (Pollack, 2006). They have no problem trying sexual things at a young age, and they don’t see what the big deal is if an older man wants to sleep with them. There’s even research that shows a correlation between sexy magazine ads, and the idea of men thinking it’s okay to abuse women. Additionally, child sexual abuse may become more prevalent as the frequent exposure of grown women dressed with pigtails and a lollipop in ads may result in thinking about sex with young girls. For those who already have a desire to cross age boundaries, they may find the media as justification for their views (Machia & Lamb, 2009).
All of these things affect society as a whole. With teens becoming more and more sexualized, they are likely to engage in sexual intercourse at a young age. This leads to the risk of pregnancy. If a teen gets pregnant, there is a likelihood that they will either not finish school, or not continue their education, meaning they will not be able to contribute as much to society. They are also more likely to depend more on public assistance. Sexual harrassment alone, which typically goes along with the objectification of women, has cost the Federal governement $327 million in losses with job changes, sick leave, and productivity (Impact of Sexual Violence, 2010). It is a common finding that the degrading depictions of women has lead men to be more accepting of rape myths, sexual harrassment, violence, and adverse beliefs about relationships (Machia & Lamb 2009).
To explain further just how prevalent sexualization is: 77% of primetime TV programs contain sexual content- that translates to roughly six sex scenes per hour of sexual talk or physical acts (Kunkel et. al. 2005, as cited in Starr & Ferguson, 2012). Less than 10 % of the content viewed discusses the consequences of sexual activity (Lowry and Towles 1989, as cited in Atwood 2006). Today, 50% of girls as young as 10-13 years old in Atwood’s (2006) study reported they had engaged in sexual intercourse.
Consistently listening to music with degrading lyrics generally shapes adolescents attitude toward sex (Martina et. al. 2006, as cited in Machia & Lamb, 2012). Now days it’s all about instant self-gratification, there’s nothing left for the imagination. It’s more like, give me what I want and accept it, no questions asked. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one- all I’m asking you, is to really listen to the messages that are being sent by certain genres of popular music.. do you really think there is no problem and we should carry on in our fairytale land pretending everything is okay? If so, be my guest. I just hope you will realize the damage that’s being done- maybe even learn to critically analyze song lyrics in order to gain an understanding of how realistic any song is when you hear it. The messages are basically manipulation and mockery. I have presented the issues that have been researched and proven to be harmful, so what are you going to do about it?
Expressions that impacted me from this amazing video (Which is ultimately saying the majority of music we listen to is bland- it’s all the same and their degrading lyrics that are looked at a “just words” do in fact have consequences):
“Good beats are the noise behind which singers hide as they beat a woman up inside.”
“Might have been left unsaid if it had been left unheard.”
“What can she do to ease her strife, every song on the radio is a soundtrack to her life.”
“Imagine a girl- smart, funny, well-rounded, walks into a club and finds herself surrounded by men acting like they’ve got something to collect, they’re just listening to the words that tell them she’s an object.”
“All those women who paid with their bodies to survive, 200 years later are portrayed as sex-crazed and deprived. Please forgive me if I think music needs to be revived.”
Atwood, J. 2006. Mommy’s little angel, Daddy’s little girl: Do you know what your pre-teens are doing? The American Journal of Family History.
Machia, M. & Lamb, S. (2009). Sexualized innocene: Effects of magazine ads portraying adult women as sexy little girls. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2010). Impacts of sexual violence.
Starr, C. & Ferguson, G. (2012). Sexy dolls, sexy grade-schoolers? Media and maternal influences on young girls self-sexualization. Sex Roles.