Does Music Influence Misogyny? | Teen Ink

Does Music Influence Misogyny?

July 11, 2014
By ahopley SILVER, Abu Dhabi, Other
ahopley SILVER, Abu Dhabi, Other
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As centuries fly by, music tends to ride right behind it. From Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong to Kanye West and Drake, the style and type of music that our parents once listened too when they were in high school, has changed immensely. Although owning up to the fact that I also listen to todays newest rap songs has become quite mortifying, it wasn’t until recently that I realized how derogatory and minimizing those lyrics are towards women. “…But you’re an animal, baby its in your nature, just let me liberate you, you don’t need no papers, that man is not your mate, that’s why I’m gonna take you…” (0:37-0:46) and so on and so fourth. Although those lyrics, from the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell, could be referring to a man, the chances of that being actual are quite small. Despite the realization that those lyrics are solely used in music generates an excuse, the fact that those words were even thought of, more importantly presented in a music video, takes this popular song, played on the radio at least three times a day, and turns it into the most direct example of gender inequality.

It is often said that todays music is not even music, but instead trash. In some ways, especially with todays recent rap songs whose main lyrics include repeating the word “Versace” eighteen times, that statement is not only true, its completely accurate. In other ways, where women, like Taylor Swift, sing merely about the struggles of being a teenage girl, obsessed with boys, it is still true. Therefore, the constant question of why misogyny and gender inequality are so prevalent in todays time is realistically quite vacuous, as the lyrics drained into our brains everyday while driving to work or traveling to a different country could possibly play a much larger role then we think.

From the 200+ girls that have been abducted in Niger, to the two teenage girls gang-raped in northern India, I not only feel scared but also deeply saddened that there are people inhumane enough to commit such atrocious crimes. The question of why women are looked at as sex symbols is beyond me, but the realization that gender inequality still plays a key role in society, after being fought against for such a long time, is truly frustrating. Back in the day, if a women was spoken too, looked at or referred too on the same social and/or economic level of a man, it was not only seen as a lack of respect towards men, but also as an uncivilized community. Although the influence of religion and culture is used as an excuse for that injustice, today, that offense, where women are stoned to death for marrying who they please or strangled for rejecting a prom proposal, should no longer generate any explanations, as the sincere power of a woman has definitely surpassed a mans. My mother, one of the biggest feminists I know, along with my grandmother who lead the NOW, National Organization for Women, in Connecticut, recently showed me a video of an eighteen year-old girl from Florida named Brittany Wenger. Brittany was given 50,000 US Dollars from Google to improve her creation of using programing to ameliorate the process of diagnosing breast cancer. Often times, when oncologists or gynecologists execute biopsies by removing a sliver of fibroadenoma, a lump inside the breast, and testing for breast cancer, the results can be inconclusive. Unfortunately, when that situation occurs, the doctor must remove a larger part of the breast, something my mother refers to as “extremely painful.” With Brittany’s new contrivance, doctors will be able to perform the fine needle aspiration, a test that is quick and painless, but dismissed by most oncologists as the results are indeterminate, by removing a tiny sample of the lump and recording its characteristics on her website called Cloud4Cancer.com.

Although Brittany’s quest for making the diagnosis of breast cancer less painful, slow and heart-breaking, may seem irrelevant to the idea of music and misogyny, it is women like Brittany Wenger who represent the intelligence of not only human-kind but also woman-kind. Her idea and implementation is just one example of many where women all over the world have been driven by passion to help better society, so why is it that women are still looked down upon and sung about in such a horrific way? Why is todays music focused on the physical aspect of a woman rather then her intelligence and creativity? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are beyond me, but the cognition of misogyny is something every women experiences as soon as she hears the lyrics behind most of todays music.

As stated earlier, the music our parents jammed too, or still jam too, like my parents, is extremely different from what most young adults listen too today. Tupac, Nirvana, John Lennon, Aerosmith and Biggie Smalls are some of the greatest artists in music history, writing and singing lyrics about real topics, like poverty, depression, drugs and family, instead of money, sex, and women. “Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac, one of his many popular songs, talks about women and the belittlement they face everyday. “And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think its time to kill for our women. Time to heal for our women, be real to our women.” (0:51-1:06) Those lyrics, known and sung quite frequently, were most popular in the 90’s, a time period where gender inequality and misogyny weren’t as prevalent as they are today. Ergo, the constant shootings, hateful statements and killings along with people like Elliot Rodger, who recently shot and killed six people as a result of how repulsed he was with women because they wouldn’t have sex with him, have lead todays society into a misogynistic world far from gender equality. Of course, this injustice we hear about every day did not commence from todays rap music, nor is it the reason as to why misogyny is so rampant around the world, but without a doubt, it most definitely plays a large role in the influence of discrimination towards women.



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