Despite priding myself on a highly unique and distinguishable music taste, I’ll admit that I like to indulge in the Billboard Top 100 hits. I’ve found myself absentmindedly bopping my head to hip-hop songs in spite of my constant proclamations that my personal music preference is much too “sophisticated”. It was actually while listening to the raspy voices of Post Malone and Migos that I realized that the lyrics blasting out of my earphones, although pleasing to the ear, were surprisingly retrogressive.
For instance, take a look at the lyrics of Post Malone’s Rockstar (#2 on the Billboard Top 100, October 7, 2017):
Dude, your girlfriend is a groupie, she just tryna get in
Sayin’, “I’m with the band”
Ayy, ayy, now she actin’ outta pocket
Tryna grab up from my pants
Hundred bitches in my trailer say they ain’t got a man
And they all brought a friend
An all too common feature of most hip-hop songs is the marginalization and dehumanizing of modern-day women, a hallmark of a 1950s American society. Most up and coming rappers illustrate women as sex-crazed, uninhibited, and interchangeable creatures and Post Malone is no exception. Post Malone further contributes to the stigma that women only seek money, notoriety, and, of course, sex. Women are glorified as nothing more than mere sex objects to the benefit of male singers in the music industry. These demeaning ideals only perpetrate the objectification of young women. Not to mention, the chauvinist lyrics indirectly exacerbate the rape culture of today’s society.
Although I do enjoy listening to classic rap, artists like Post Malone aren’t exactly up my alley. I am, however, a self-declared fan of Jason Derulo and his break-out song Talk Dirty used to be one of my favorite songs. That is, until I understood the true meaning behind the smash hit.
Just read what Derulo has to say:
Been around the world, don’t speak the language
But your booty don’t need explaining
All I really need to understand is
When you talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Talk dirty to me
Get jazzy on it
Instead of depicting a normal and healthy relationship between two people, one full of love and consistent communication, Jason Derulo illustrates that forming relationships is insignificant when compared to having sex. Indeed, the lyrics “But your booty don’t need explaining” further exemplify the sexualization and objectification of women. Glorifying certain anatomical parts of the female body instead of a woman’s mind and soul succeeds in promoting non-consensual sexual activity and further explains the increase in sexual assault in the U.S. today.
Needless to say, if you were to look at the Billboard Top 20 hits you would unsettlingly find that the majority of the songs that are trending today share one common theme: the marginalization of young women. Now, the real question is why don’t we bat an eye when listening to these dehumanizing lyrics? We’re all socially conscious and we should all know better than to jam out to the blatant, sexist messages in today’s music. Never fear, though, because there are numerous ways we can combat these dangerous messages.
- Identify the Message: Before we start fighting the chauvinism in today’s music, we have to be able to identify that there’s something wrong to begin with. Make yourself aware, listen carefully, and identify the message expressed in a song.
- Gradual Transition: If we really want to fight the objectification of women in the modern music industry, then it’s incumbent on us to gradually alter our music preference. That’s not to say that we should altogether stop listening to the likes of Lil Pump but we can slowly but surely start listening to similar artists that don’t promote sexual violence.
- Spread Awareness: As mentioned before, I absentmindedly enjoy most pop music and I never truly digest the lyrics. In contrast to my mindless entertainment, we should all be vigilant of what’s being sung. The truth is in the music, find it.
This article was previously published on NYAToday.com.