Smack My Bitch Up – Two Different Points Of View on Sexism In Music
This is by Joe Paterson ( @thejoepaterson ):
In my place of work (once it has closed to the public), we inevitably listen to the monotonous tones of a radio station that despite not being based in the CAPITAL city, decides to pretend that it is, so names itself thus.
This radio station plays the same playlist on a seemingly unshuffled from week-to-week basis, and it did not take me long to start listening to what all the ‘rappers’ and ‘singers’ were talking about.
The vast majority of the time: Women.
Now this in itself is obviously not a bad thing, but like the adult style comedy hidden underneath a seemingly innocent Disney film, there’s always an underlying message.
In a 2hr subjection to the so called ‘music’, I heard a few songs in particular that bothered me. One of these said songs was ‘International Love’ which appears to feature some breed of dog as the leading artist (I am of course talking about the rapper Pitbull). One of the verses in the song features the lyrics:
“In Romania, she pulled me to the side and told me “Pit, you can have me and my sister”. In Lebanon, yeah the women are bomb. And in Greece, you’ve guessed it, the women are sweet…”
“En Cuba la cosa esta dura, but the women get down, if you know what I mean…”
“In Brazil, is freaky big o’booty, and they bounce, blue, yellow, and green…”
All of this from one song, and frankly, these are some of the more respectable lyrics found in mainstream music today. Is it really any wonder why teenage girls and younger are becoming more self-conscious about their image? Is it really any wonder why many feel the need to present themselves to the opposite sex as objects?
Music videos are no better. In 99% of music videos today you will inevitably see women wearing next to nothing and bumping and grinding against the artist or fellow women, as though they were playing bumper cars. This glamorisation of acting in a slutty way only contributes more to the sexualisation of young women, and encourages young men to view women as nothing but shagging machines. Horrible, but true.
Obviously, I can’t say that this is true for every young man and women in the world, but for a great many in Western society it is.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that music will not change. ‘Shawty’ is apparently here to stay. I don’t know quite who ‘Shawty’ is, but she seems to have a lot of rapper boyfriends…
And even if a change was made, it’s not as if the general public would find Pitbull rapping about dating a girl, taking her to the park for a picnic, and not having sex before marriage as particularly entertaining.
Sometimes I despair at society.
Oh, and as a musician/songwriter, I funnily enough don’t feel compelled to mention ‘Shawty’ in any of my songs…