Monday, February 18, 2008

So this may be an overdone topic but I figure I'll see what my favourite girls have to say about it. That means you.  I'm wondering what you think of the frequent objectification and disrespect of women portrayed in popular music, especially rap and hip hop. I am a big fan of hip hop and listen to it frequently. I try to listen to artists like Kanye West and other lesser known artists whose work, I feel, is more respectful toward women (not always, mind you).  Examples of lyrics I noticed just today while riding in the car with a friend.  These are somewhat explicit just so you know:
"You got me so hypnotized / The way your body rolling round and round / that booty keep bumping, boobies just bouncin up and down." ~ "Hypnotized" by Plies
"Imma say that I prefer them no clothes / I'm into that, I love women exposed." ~ "Low" by Flo Rida
"Because she mine, and so fine / Thick as can be ... In her mind she fantasize about gettin wit me" ~"Kiss Kiss" by Chris Brown



Najma said...

Rachel, good topic
I agree....but I just saw the movie Step Up 2 tonight and it was amazing. the music was pretty explicit but I cant help but like the songs because they just make me want to get up and DANCE.
the music videos are pretty disturbing nowadays
and the weird song that is like saying some girl is really freaky and something about the front seat of a hummer? you know which one right?
totally stupid.
why would people LIKE to listen to that stuff (I know I know, I do it too)??
anyways, I have no real point to this comment so I'm just gonna stop .....

Casey said...

My friends and I all listen to KTIS 98.5. (Third Day, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Natalie Grant, Sarah Groves and Toby Mac rock!!!)
I totally pay attention to lyrics and I don't listen if I don't like what the lyrics say. There are plenty alternatives out there. You just have to know where to find them. I also listen to Weird Al and I like to compare his lyrics with the originals and often, I like his clean versions better. I like songs I can relate to AND dance to.

My friends and I started paying attention to lyrics when (okay... this was back when Radio Disney was cool. :-}) that song by Aaron Carter (or was it his brother??) came out about Candy. We really liked it beause stupidly, we all thought it was really about something eatable. It wasn't until we heard each other repeating the lyrics "I like candy wrapped in a sweater" that we realized it was about a GIRL named Candy. - rather ridiculous for someone in what - 3rd grade?? - to be singing. I felt rather stupid and since then have ALWAYS paid attention to what the words are.

Annie said...

Hmm..this is tricky. If I listen too closely to the lyrics, they disgust me. But these songs are difficult to get away from (not that I'd want to necessarily...Like Najma said, they just sound good, and are catchy.), since they play all the time on the radio and at school dances.

I don't know...I'm torn, because, it's kind of like this music just part of teen culture, but it is really incredibly offensive and degrading. I think hip hop artists/rappers should be able to be more creative in their subject matter...but there's no way to change how Chris Brown and all those guys write songs. (Or perform them, I guess...they have people for songwriting)

I don't know if I could do what Casey does, just not listen to these it wrong to listen to them anyway, and just ignore the lyrics? (Half the time, you can't even tell what they're saying...)

Rachel Q! said...

yeah that's my whole thing. I LOVE this music. I dance to it, it's on in my car, my iPod. Life would definitely not be as cool without hip hop and rap but some of it just seems to me to be unnecessarily degrading. I'm a hypocrite though because I keep listening to it and endorsing it.

HaNNaH said...

This may be repetative, being that i share similar views, but here's what I think. I LOVE music. Music's purpose is to make you feel something (similar to many of the media adds we looked at during earlier workshops). People like to listen to music that feels good. Personally, lyrics like that don't make me feel great, so I don't listen... but at the same time -- some of these "crass" songs are good and catchy... so my dillema is the same as everyone elses. i guess that because there is music I love, as much if not more, i can make the concious effort to listen to those songs. It's sad such objectification is so accepted by society -- but like what we try to do with TVbyGIRLS and TV -- the "crass" music doesn't need to be replaced, there just need to be other options... and there are. So i'll just listen more to those "other options".

Maddy said...

What I think is interesting is the whole freedom of speech and expression part of this. for some of these artists maybe that's what they enjoy and want to express. Because seriously, not everyone is as conscientious about objectifying women. I think that just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean you have to shut it out and say, "bad bad bad". They way you act can say a lot (being strong and smart, no ditzy, etc.) too. I think if you can hear other people's opinions and have your own at the same time.

Annie said...

I agree with you Hannah..but then sometimes, I don't want to listen to these "other options", I want to listen to KDWB. Then what?? Ahh!

Annie said...

Ooh...Maddy, that makes so much sense! I'd never thought of it like that before.

HaNNaH said...

Yay maddy!

bein' m3 said...

omg! Am I like the last person to post!?

Well being that i listen to hip hop, rap and all that jazz. It just so normal to me. I mean we talk about it in every day life where I live. I mean I no it's so disrespectful but thats the way our generation was rasied, I wish we were raised a little better so that we wouldn't disrespect people including ourselves so much! But like if you listen to like a female song like Trina I think she dogs guy just as much as the next Male rapper does. So I mean it's a balance lmao. Lately I've noticed that they have loosend up on the word B**** which is great, I mean atleast they've learned that b**** is not a proper way to describe a lady.

I mean there is no way I can change the music I listen too, I mean it is but im ADDICTED like lol seriously! Yea, I listen to Kanye West and he talks about totally different stuff but some of his songs is like degrading to I mean now a days any music you listen to has something that is degrading someone. What do we suggest not listen to music anymore!?

hahaha i wish! lol. I don't have any songs for examples but I've heard songs that were none rap genre that was degrading.My favorite artist right now has to be Chamillionaire only because he has recenlty started to cut vulgar words out of ALL of his lyrics which other rappers should follow into his foot steps DUHHH

I mean it's the 21st Century <--- I think lol and I mean if we just step up (I WISH I COULD RAP) and just change things that would be like the best bet like nobody ever gets ahead by sitting on their behind right!?

Everyone is getting in to the blog WOOT!( :

Anonymous said...

A few random and quick thoughts.

You are all addressing great questions that not only pertain to music but to external influences in general. We are inundated with images, words and outside actions that have major impacts on our lives as well as society's perceptions. We are drawn to a catchy tune and later discover a meaning that is offensive or not true for our experiences. We are drawn to a piece of clothing to later discover who made it, who wears it, what the company ethics are... what models represent them, etc.
And how do we deal with that?
Do we cast aside these items and do our best to reject them when they have become such a prominent part of pop culture? Do we speak our feelings or create something in response that reflects how we are impacted by it's message? Do we seek alternatives? Do we continue to enjoy it with a guilt or embrace that we like the beat but the words are offensive?
How many times have you walked around with a song in your head and not known where it came from... They are made this way for a reason. The battle between the beat making your body move but your mind irritated.
There are many good questions one could ask and you are doing just that.

But what do you feel your responsibility as a youth is?
If people don't speak up can you expect change? If they are sharing a story authentic to them but it offends you as well as sets a standard for what is okay... How do you deal with that?
A side note to aid the point: Superbad could be seen to some people as an offensive movie.... However it was an authentic movie sharing the lives and stories of 2 people.

Of course, with the many alternatives out there it might be easier to just tune out the bad. I rarely listen to the radio for music and if I do, it is a station I find online. We live in a digital age... Online stations, podcasts, mP3players, online music stores with more samples than you can imagine. I guess one chooses their battle. My choice has been to not support or give strength to the ones I do not like but to raise power to the ones I do.

And as for rap and hip hop. Well, certainly offensive passages are not confined to this genre. But if you like the groove of Rap and HipHop but not the words of some of the artists....There are many artists with great messages and an amazing beat. A few to explore:
KRS One, De La Soul, Spearhead, Mos Def, Dead Prez, The Roots....

Okay, enough blabbering and occasional incomplete thoughts. -R

Casey said...

That's kind of what I was trying to say earlier. I think it is fine to go somewhere and hear a song and enjoy it for the beat, danceability or whatever even if it does have bad lyrics. You don't have to stand against a wall and trash talk people who don't mind the lyrics. It is their right (freedom of speech and all that) to sing those songs and it is your right to enjoy it and not care. But, just because we have freedom of speech, does not mean I am obligated to listen. We have a voice in what types of music are out there with what we purchase. So, if all we buy are songs with bad lyrics, producers will be more likely to produce more songs with bad lyrics because we have said (by buying it) that that is what we want. If, however, we want more choices/artists who aren't so vulgar, we need to take time to locate and support artists who aren't vulgar. If more people purchased non-vulgar music (I don't know about Chamillionaire. I haven't listened lately but I'll have to check it out.) then producers would produce more non-vulgar music.

I think that if my friends didn't think this way, too, it would be a lot harder for me. Well... maybe not. I am pretty stubborn and I would rather be myself, have no friends and try to find some somewhere else than compromise who I am to make my friends happy. We just kind of went through that with the Golden Compass. All my friends went to see the Golden Compass but I wouldn't.

I don't know if you know anything about it but in the books, the main characters kill God and then everyone lives happily ever after. I think that if someone made a film/book like that about someone else's religion, people would be outraged. But, because it is against God and the Christian church, it seems like no one really cares. Anyway, I chose not to go because my only voice in it is to not purchase another ticket. Are they going to miss my $8? Probably not but I can feel good that I stood by what I thought and ... my friends still like me. They understand why I didn't go and I understand why they did go. No problems. So... maybe even if my friends and I didn't agree about music, it would be okay. Sorry ... I'm rambling and class is over. Gotta go before I get caught blogging. :-)

Anonymous said...

I hear all your push pull. Good music makes my body move and me feel something and I want that...but do demeaning lyrics about women get inside my head in ways that unconsciously affect what I think (just like ads do as Hannah says). Or maybe they don't change you--but how about all those other people who don't think as deeply about this stuff.

so now what? what do you do? you don't want to stop listening but you also don't want to feel guilty that you do listen. And every choice we make has an impact on how we want to shape the world. You can't shove the genie in the bottle--it 's already out.. But you sometimes want to just dance!

Is there anything you can do together that gives power to how you feel and even more importantly THINK?

Could you have an ongoing section in the website that guides us to music that both makes you want to dance and says something you want to think?
Could you encourage girls to visit and vote for music that does that--could you really do something to influence your favorite artists? I actually think you could...what do you think? what could you do?


Rachel Q! said...

I think there are a great many things in the world that could use changing. But in the case of popular music, (as with many things in life) I put up with some of its negative aspects to get the positive ones. I feel a little guilty that I pay for music, and thus endorse, artists with disrespectful messages but that seems to be the culture we live in. It's hard to make a living as a musician and once you get to the big leagues, its hard to keep the music your own; you've got producers, editors all breathing down your back to make the money. It seems that a lot of music has become horribly adulterated in the desperate need to make a quick buck. What does it say about our culture that the music that scores top on the charts is full of hate and disrespect?

Najma said...

I think people seem to do it for the shock factor.
I've noticed that artists keep trying to "top" others with their vulgarity or "offensiveness"
everyone is trying to sell us something nowadays
but many people seem to like it???
I don't know.
WHY do we like listening to it??? besides the catchy beats and stuff.
I have been trying not to listen---but so much of what is "cool" is centered around hip-hop and, that is what they play at clubs, and dances, and that is what a lot of friends at school like to listen to and such.

Maddy said...

I think while it is important to draw line of your comfort zone/beliefs, there are so many things to take seriously in life, why add one more worry? Can people say things without having to be taken completely seriously? I see what people mean... it's not always that tangible, like "this song is just in fun" or "this one is purposely trying to offend women and put them down"...

How hard would it be to add some sort of music (embed it in the website) for an ongoing discussion? Because that would be interesting...