Sexist music. Okay to like?

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ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299
Sexist music. Okay to like?

You're listening to the radio or your ipod or whatever - there's a song you really dig because the beat/music is your thing. But, the lyrics are a bit or a lot sexist, or even border on rape-ish. Like, Blurred Lines is pretty controversial right now (as in the link below). What do you do? Listen to music because the beat is catchy and ignore the lyrics or just refuse to listen altogether? Do you turn the station when the kids are in the car with you so they don't hear the words?

Is it ok to like songs you find sexist? | Q with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio

This is a small excerpt from the article, but there was lots of video clips in it and I couldn't copy/paste it all:

CBC Music's Andrea Warner and Frannie Kelley, NPR Music's rap and R&B editor, take opposing views as to whether Blurred Lines is actually sexist ... and how feminist music lovers should respond to songs with questionable lyrics.

Warner argues that we've "inherited this view that women are props, and sometimes naked props," and explains why the song, though catchy, is troubling.

Kelley counters that the song is a realistic portrayal of sexuality, and says the issue is more about musical freedom than misogyny.

"We have to give people freedom to joke around and play with these lines," she said.

Responding to Robin

The song showcases the frustrations of a man who can't seem to tell if a "good girl" is interested in his advances.
I hate these blurred lines!
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl!
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

Several critics of the song have created spoof versions. A group from Halifax points out that blurred lines can be cleared up by asking for consent.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I have to admit that I LOVE Blurred Lines, the beat is super catchy. Dh was the one that pointed out what the lyrics are, and we dont let the kids listen to it. But if it comes on and I am without kids I crank it way up!

As to the actual debate, I do not normally like songs that treat woman as objects. As a family we do try to be really careful with what our kids listen to as I think a lot of songs send messages that are not in line with our belief system. But as my oldest is in her teens now she really does like listening to country music and we are expanding what we listen to quite a bit

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

I think a great deal of rock & roll is sexist, and that's just how it is. If you like a song, you like a song. It's okay to like what you like. Having your kids listen to it is another issue and the best thing you can do is talk about it with them when it comes up.

The link you posted made me laugh though...I went to high school with Jian Ghomeshi. The last time I was in Toronto I was waiting at the airport and they kept running some interview he did with Shirley Jones on the tvs in the lounge. Very surreal.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

After reading this today we were in the car and Carson starts singing in a really deep voice "I wear your Grandpa's clothes, I look incredible" Pretty funny

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I want to start out by saying I do not care what anyone else does in their family. Me personally, we do not listen to any secular music. We only either listen to Christian or Classical music.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Awwwww we be bumpin it in our family. Our kids don't understand half of the lyrics and when they do we talk about them. I would never, ever, shelter them from what their peers are doing ~ they hear half of this stuff in school and at the gym.....

the other night I let my son have his "curse time". He blushed and said "Stupid. I hate you. Dumb. Shut up". At 6.5 I'm pretty cool with that being his entire come to mind "cure word" list.

We have great dance parties in our basement. The kids love "Call me Maybe", "Dynamite", Ice Ice Baby", and other relatively innocuous songs. They love the one in the OP, so do I. I admit that I didn't even known the words......we are too busy laughing and dancing to really hear them. This just isn't a trigger point for me.

I'm not going to be that mom who stigmatizes music and finds my kids sneaking it behind my back. I;m actively looking for a hip hop class for my 5 year old as she so wants to go to dance party classes like Mom.

People want to rape women because they are rapists. Because they are ill. Now, hardcore ugly stuff? Just doesnt appeal to me. Are there sexist undercurrents in ALL music? Of course. Its prevelant in country, bluegrass, pop, R&B, you name it. Talk to your kids. Like anything.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I love this song. I guess I never saw the "rapey" side to it. I wasn't taking the lyrics that way.

Like Melissa, we listen to pretty much everything. I did draw the line at "Blow my whistle" or whatever it's called because the littlest kept singing the words and it just sounded weird from a 3 year old. That kid loves "Call Me Maybe", lots of Taylor Swift (meh to me)and knows more pop songs than I do now.

I grew up singing Madonna and Paula Abdul and what not. I had no idea what half the stuff I was singing was about. My first tape I bought was Def Leppard because I loved "Pour Some Sugar on Me". Yep...I was 8. No clue what it was about.

bunnyfufu's picture
Joined: 10/21/05
Posts: 203

Makes me think of last summer.

Hubby was travelling and heard FloRida's Whistle song. There is a lot of catch-y whistling, but ultimately is about bj's. He didn't hear the words at all and told me to look it up and play it for my 4 year old daughter who loves whistle songs.

What a funny conversation that was!

I have made HER whistle song Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's "Home." And that is still questionable, but she has no idea and won't have any worries about that till she's older.

Smile
Here is our whistle song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHEOF_rcND8

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

Am I the prude here?

I have never heard of this song before today so I looked it up on Youtube. Let's just say the barebreasted women are the least offensive parts of that video. I have no desire to listen to the song again.

Last year the dance club at my kids' school, not in an English-speaking country, danced to My Humps. Are the lyrics offensive or sexist? Not really. But it is completely inappropriate for small children. There is so much good music out there that is appropriate, why not choose one of those instead?

I don't exactly shelter my kids, but I do make conscious decisions to listen to music that they are old enough to discuss. I love Salt'n'Pepa but I don't think my kids are old enough to chat about "Let's Talk About Sex" in any but the most general terms.

Sometimes I enjoy a song more than I would if I really thought about the lyrics. Like Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground. But if I knew the lyrics beforehand I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy the song.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

You just made me laugh because I sing Let's Talk About Sex to the kids but I do it when I'm packing their snack for school, and I sing Let's Talk About Snacks. Juliet sings along. They've never heard the real version!

Let's talk about snacks, baby, let's talk about you and me.........

When I was a kid and I listened to songs with sexual lyrics I just glossed over it or assumed they meant something else. I remember listening to Paul Simon's "Duncan"...

Couple in the next room
Bound to win a prize
They've been going at it all night long

I seriously had no idea what he was talking about! lol I think I thought they were having some kind of contest.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

We love to change words to make songs appropriate here also. My oldest was singing the song the other night about "Im up all night to have fun, shes up all night to have fun, we're up all night to get lucky" but she was singing it to her brother and singing "Im up all night to pet dogs, shes up all night to pet dogs, we're up all night to pet puppies" Pretty funny.

We dont sing songs that have overtly sexual language because 2 of my children listen to the words and question them, I just dont want to discuss BJs or things like that with little kids.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

My kids do hear songs with overt language. If they ask about it, I explain it, if not, I don't sweat it.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Claire from the back seat "Cause your sex takes me to paradise, yeah your sex takes me to paradise...." What can I say? I love Bruno Mars. Blurred Lines I listen to all the time with the kids in the van. I never considered the lyrics that sexist or whatever. I guess some people just read what they want to read into song lyrics. "If You Want My Body" by Rod Stewart could be regularly heard in my house when I was a little kid. Didn't eff me up and make me all "I'm just gonna give myself to the first guy that comes along" because of the music my parents listened to. Marvin Gaye was pretty popular with my mom.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Claire from the back seat "Cause your sex takes me to paradise, yeah your sex takes me to paradise...." What can I say? I love Bruno Mars.

My son loves that song, mostly because he loves to the do the uh part throughout.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

So who remembers when "I Want Your Sex" came out back in '87??? I LOVED George Michael (still do :oops: ), and my sister and I kept trying to watch the video on MTV while were on vacation, visiting family. I was 11 at the time.

Jessica, I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't get the "rape" vibe from the lyrics of "Blurred Lines". I listen to it in the car with the boys, although they usually tune at song out. And we LOVE Macklemore in our house. "Same Love" was a good teaching moment, too, when they really listened to the lyrics.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Carolyn~I kept thinking it was just about being out and not knowing when to make another move....not forcing yourself on another. Ah me....guess I'm just not as "with it" as a I thought ;). But I found out my dad likes that song....so now it's just awkward lol.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

My nieces love that Bruno Mars song too!

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"ange84" wrote:

My son loves that song, mostly because he loves to the do the uh part throughout.

Yep. Ben calls it the 'oooh' song. Every time that part in the song comes he shouts "ooooh" from the backseat and pumps his fists.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

The only line in Blurred Lines that makes me cringe a bit with the kids in the van is "You the hottest b!tch in this place".