If I had to guess the number of Vanderbilt students who attended the Quake concert this past Thursday, my guess would have to be somewhere around way more than half of the student body. I mean think about it, who wouldn’t want to see Ludacris, Iggy Azalea and Jeremih performing live right here in Nashville?! However, in an attempt to of been able to sing these songs at the concert on Thursday, I started really listening to the lyrics of these songs I was about to be hearing live. And the question I ask is, has anyone actually truly listened to the lyrics to these songs? People everywhere, myself included, start to hum and sing along to these catchy songs as we stroll around with our iPods in. However, I would be willing to bet none of us have ever stopped to listen to message being portrayed by these artists now a days. While images and ideas in songs are not always degrading, much of our music industry over the past few years has built its identity on their ability to outright objectify, insult and degrade women in lyrics and modern pop culture images.
Just using the artists at Quake last Thursday as an example, each artist is guilty of producing songs that objectify women:
“She can go lower than I ever thought she could – face down – ass up
The top of your booty jiggling out your jeans, baby pull your pants up
Like it when I see you do it better than I’ve ever seen done before
A lot of, women, drop it to the ground, but how low can you go?
Lower than your mama’s ever seen it in her lifetime
…I may not wanna get low, so I’m posted up kinda like a playa do, but
if you come to the crib then I might show you girls a thang or two”
Yep…we were all so excited to hear this being sung. In today’s world the objectification of women is so frequently sung about that we almost overlook it. We get carried away by the catchy tune or the refrain that just gets engrained in our head without really realizing what’s being said. Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person merely as an instrument of sexual pleasure, making them a “sex object.” Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object, without regard to their personality or their dignity.
Now what about Jeremih? He’s equally as guilty as Ludacris when it comes to content of songs. His most well-known song is a prime example. “Birthday Sex”: if the name isn’t questionable enough, wait until you hear the lyrics. This song we know all the words too, but have we ever really processed what’s being said? Why do we allow lyrics like this take over our music industry? These songs so blatantly align with the heteronormative society we live in.
“You say you want passion (I think you found it)
get ready for action (don’t be astounded)
we switching positions (you feel surrounded)
just tell me where you want your gift girl”
Not only does this song, once again, outright objectify women, but this song encourages heteronormativity and solidifies gender roles within society. This song is a perfect demonstration of the practice of the patriarchal world we live in, and conforming to societal expectations. While music is a form of self-expression, we have seen it be used to express and reinforce the inferior status of women. Women are too often seen as just a sexual object in the modern world today. Although sometimes female artists put this ideology upon themselves, why do we as listeners condone this music? Iggy Azalea is a well-known female rapper who often sings of her sexuality. From Black Widow to Fancy to Bounce to Pu$$y, Iggy is never singing of anything except sex.
“You know bitches envy me
cause you won’t get rid of me
when you cum, I run
this cat’s got you missin me
bad boys get a mouth fulla pussy
Songs like these make it okay to think of women only as a sexual being. When in fact, it’s not. The way in which women are so sexualized in all aspects of our culture is a serious problem. How often do you hear of men being hyper sexualized in songs or simply anything these days? Not very often… So why should women? This is a question we might never find an answer to.