WARNING: THE CONTENT IN THIS POST MAY UPSET SENSITIVE READERS.
An integral part of reaching a Utopian feminist society involves the participation of men, thus I thought it would be interesting to explore how men talk about women, especially in the music industry.
Songs produced, written and performed by men don't have the best track record when it comes to respectability of women. Many song lyrics demean and objectify women. Songs like, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Animals by Maroon 5, have been labelled as problematic for their lyrics that insinuate forcibly persuing women.
"Here's our beginning
While analysing the Blurred Lines lyrics, many people found that phrases used in the song such as "I know you want it" and "You're a good girl" are common phrases rape victims identified as being used while their perpetrator raped or attempted to rape them. The music video caused mass outrage. The explicit version of the video (which I'm surprised is so easily accessible on YouTube, especially to young viewers) contains the three models dancing around topless while being eyed by all three musicians (Pharrell, T.I and Robin Thicke).
Maroon 5's Animals is quite disturbing overall with an intensely explicit music video and lyrics that seem quite dark and morbid. The music video reflects Haematophilia - best described as the blood fetish - and sets the scene for some pretty scary fantasies as Adam Levine goes on to stalk the girl (supporting the lyrics of the song) and envisions her body drenched in blood. The 'character' Adam takes on in this video (a butcher) shows us where his Haematophilic desire may possibly stem from. This makes everything in the video even worse as Behati (the video girl) is then literally reduced to a piece of meat.
"You can't deny, ny ny ny (You can't deny)
Some may argue that these lyrics are nothing more than the harmless stringing together of words to create a catchy song. That may be true, however the visuals for both songs beg to differ. They are both explicit in their own way and objectify women equally.
Though patriarchy continues to perpetuate itself in media, there are a lot of men who try to actively make music that highlights the importance of women and the multitude of roles they fill. Here are my top 5 picks of songs written/performed by men celebrating women.
TOP 5 SONGS BY MEN THAT CELEBRATE WOMEN (in no particular order)
1. Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
"She got her own thing
That's why I love her"
2. Make Me Proud (feat. Nicki Minaj) - Drake
"I know things get hard but girl, you got it, girl, you got it, there you go"
3. Woman - HONNE
"This place wouldn't be the same without you
You could say that it would be a little worse
There's just something about you
With you it is all more worth"
4. You Deserve Better - Denimadic
"You're a strong little lady and I know this might be crazy,
but just do yourself a favour
and stop thinking it's okay
to be a victim of a man who doesn't love himself just yet"
5. Hearts Don't Break Round Here - Ed Sheeran
"She is the flint that sparks the lighter
And the fuel that will hold the flame"
It takes more than just the hard work of women to reach a just society. Men play an integral part in helping achieve any change because, ultimately, we can't exist without each other. I commend and respect men in music who try to change the narrative and portray women as more than just big booty's twerking in a mansion.
Written and edited by: Vidal Thaver