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Why pop culture is inhibiting women from moving forward

Submitted by Victoria Mugambi on April 14, 2016 – 11:04 amNo Comment

Music is part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s on the radio, Spotify or playing in the background at Target, we are constantly bombarded with the latest hits and big name artists. And although I’m not one to shy away from singing along to a catchy song while I’m driving around Little Rock, I rarely stop to process what a song is actually saying.

I was made all too aware of the lyrics in popular music one day while running errands with my little brother.

The song “Talk Dirty” came on my Spotify and we both enthusiastically sang along. It wasn’t until the end of the song that he jokingly made a comment about saving a few friends in his phone as “Big Booty.”

I asked him why he would save them under that name, to which he simply shrugged and said “To remember who’s pretty and who’s not!”

That was when that I realized not only how objectifying the song was being, but how much of an impact it was making on younger kids who were listening to these songs.

As much as we women would like to admit that we are strong, patriarchy-stomping, flawless beings who are repulsed by songs objectifying us, we still sing and dance along to songs that do just that.

And trust me, I’m not pointing fingers or judging anyone, but, we need to stop and really listen to what these songs are saying, and realize the impact they’re having on how society sees us (and will continue to see us).

Take the song “Animals” by Maroon 5, for example. I admit the song is extremely catchy, and Adam Levine sounds amazing in it, but the actual lyrics are terrifying.

He’s basically singing about stalking a girl who is trying to move on from him. Instead of doing the adult thing and letting her go, he continues to stalk her, using the excuse that “we get along when I’m inside you.”

Another song I have an issue with is “Hotline Bling.”  Although Drake’s smash hit came with some priceless dance memes, the song is just a thinly veiled story of assumed control.

In the song, Drake states that “ever since I left the city” the girl he used to be with went and got herself a new life and how this hurt his feelings.

Though he’s not blatantly stalking her like Levine, the fact is that he left and expected this girl (with whom he had a friends-with-benefits situation going on) to wait for him to return; and when that didn’t happen he got upset and started judging her new lifestyle.

Songs like these, and countless others, not only objectify women sexually, but also pigeon-hole them into the stereotypical social roles we’ve been fighting to debunk for decades now. We are all strong, independent women, but often we’re portrayed as weak, dependent women who need someone else to define us.

Now, I’m not saying we should boycott every song on Billboard’s Top 100, or start listening exclusively to classical music. But it is important to realize the impact music makes on all of us, and to not let that perception of women in the media affect how we see ourselves.

Because, although women have come a long way when it comes to fighting for equality of the sexes in our culture today, it’s still an on-going battle, and music is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how women are portrayed in society.

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