Pick of the Parody Videos

What if men were treated the women are in music videos? Women are paraded around as play things, seen as body parts, and blatantly over sexualised and objectified. As mentioned in a previous post parody videos are a great way to get the message that misogyny in music is not okay. I’ve already shared the amazing video by a New Zealand law revue group parodying the song ‘Blurred Lines’. With lyrics like:

‘We ain’t good girls/ We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic/ Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind! / If you wanna get nasty,
Just don’t harass me: You can’t just grab me/That’s a sex crime!’

The group has cleverly changed the lyrics and elements of the music video to get their point across. With videos reaching 100,000s they are great way to spread the message of equality in a creative way. These are my pick of some great videos that show how effective a medium parody can be to get a message across to such a wide audience on YouTube, and other outlets.

These videos show that messages of equality can be powerful in the form of parody:

Using Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, this parody video created by the Women’s Party honours the women that fought for the right to vote in 1920 in the USA.

Taking off Taylor Swift’s 22, this video has over 150,000 views on YouTube. The MS Foundation for women used this as an outlet to express their frustration at the 22 men who voted against a violence against women bill in the U.S.A senate.

Any other great parody videos that fight for equality that you know of?

Do you think it’s an effective way to reach a large audience with your message?

Love to hear your thoughts!

-Rocheen

 

 

 

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The Coercion of Charlotte Church

One way I know that fighting sexism in music is necessary is by searching for the term “sexist music”. Every day there’s something new. And every day there’s something actually classed as “news”. 

The most recent of these is a story about Charlotte Church, a Welsh singer whose attack on sexism in the music industry over national radio made headlines yesterday. 

Having experienced coercion from male label bosses to wear revealing clothing and act in a sexually demonstrative way, she is angry about women being forced to show their sexuality as “a prize to be won” and a toy. 

She said her “history” in music videos has almost certainly limited her ability to market her music in certain areas where it would probably be best received. 

She also said her performances and appearances led to internet and social media harassment, seeing her called “slut”, “whore” and a “catalogue of other indignities”. 

This is a common phenomena, where women are both forced into taking their clothes off for music footage and performances, while simultaneously being vilified for it by viewers. 

She said the backlash against Miley Cyrus is a good example. 

What do you think? Promiscuity in video clips – liberating or limiting?

Justifying our guilty pleasures

I look back on music I loved when I was in highschool and I cringe like hell. Mariana’s Trench, The Fratellis, Cobra Starship, even Fall Out Boy. Their music was catchy and made me feel lots of things and was generally pretty decent. The songs I still remember the words to, even now. 

I almost have the attitude that, well, if I didn’t know the songs were sexist or misogynist back then, maybe neither did they. Wanting to forgive so I can still enjoy. I am so disappointed when I listen to songs that I love (in a nostalgic way…) and can barely justify the way I used to think. 

I am better disciplined now. If music I hear sounds like the singer judges women, objectifies women, hates women, or has unrealistic expectations of women (that last one is somewhat flexible, and I don’t know how to feel about Cake’s Short Skirt Long Jacket because, frankly, it’s just a bit confusing with that deadpan, melody-free voice he’s got) I generally can’t listen to it.

When I’m in clubs (on my biannual visits), I know I just have to deal with it. I make mental notes of how much I’m not enjoying myself, and that I probably just shouldn’t come back, but I know I can’t change it. 

I try to avoid criticizing friends’ choices of music because it’s one of those “pick your battles” kind of situations, and I’d rather keep my friends than feel morally superior for ten minutes. 

But when it comes to music I choose to listen to, I am selective like crazy. I know there is a popular way of dealing with skeazy music, which is generally to “compartmentalise” as Ann Friedman writes about in her article, Blurring the Lines: How to Enjoy Maybe-Sexist Music, but I am unable to abide. 

I am so angry at Thicke and West and Timberlake for their disrespect, laziness and unoriginality, that I can’t even WANT to listen as a guilty pleasure. It would be too guilty and not even close to pleasurable enough to bother forcing.

What do you think? How do you justify listening to music with an iffy moral message? 

Shit people say to Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts

Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts wrote about what she hates experiencing in the music industry. Along similar lines to the last post on our blog, she deals with frustrating phrases, tones and treatments she has had to put up with. 

Being told that she shouldn’t be so upset at these things is the first one she mentions. Sick of being told how she should about things by men, Loveland says:

“Don’t tell me I should be excited that I can’t wander the beautiful cities we visit on tour alone at night, that I’m consistently belittled by promoters and security or that you have any idea what it’s like to read about the way your butt looks in jeans in a music review.”

Being told you’re “too much of a girl” to handle things, constantly being asked if you’re “just the merch girl”, or being accused of being a gimmick your band uses to sell records are all up there as well on Loveland’s list of crappy gender-related jibes.

The “did you see what she was wearing” line rates a mention as an irrelevant preoccupation people have with assessment of female musicians. 

“I should be able to wear a pair of shorts without later reading comments about the way my butt looked (good or not), or how I’m sexualizing myself to sell records. I shouldn’t have to feel disgusting and violated because I have a female body and it is in front of you in clothes that don’t always fit right.”

To sum up, Loveland acknowledges the sexism is not the biggest part of her musical experience, but equally, that it’s worth mentioning. 

“Someone’s weight or ill-fitting gown has nothing to do with her worth, and women are put in the unfortunate position of needing to be 1,000 things at once. We must be sexy but not too sexy, nice but not too nice, feminine in this mysterious, ever-changing way and ostensibly agreeable. When we are not, we are divas and probably menstruating, or worse—our love for makeup, frilly dresses and radio pop has lead people to believe we are ditsy, vapid individuals.”

What are your thoughts?

Shit people say to female musicians

recent HuffPost blog entry by Steph Guthrie has shined a light on crappy things men say to women who play music. A post pocked by tens of contributions by female musicians on Twitter, Guthrie’s piece shows that sexism in the industry is still wide awake and teething. 

The comments range from “Girl bassists are hot.” and ”Oh, you’re IN the band!” all the way to ”You must’ve dated at least half your band.”

For those who would like to suggest that women are not facing prejudice in the music biz, we’d like you to think again. 

“You should specialize. People don’t like girls who do too much,” is a cringeworthy example of women being told they must be appealing as females in order to have a decent audience. If people like Sinead O’Connor, Amanda Palmer, Dolores from the Cranberries and countless other multitalented women can’t convince society that there is an enthusiastic following for women who DON’T “Just shut up, smile and sing, honey,” that’s a really big problem. 

Steph Guthrie’s personal website contains so many more jewels dealing with feminism, music, politics and technology. 

Do you think these comments are sexist? Are you offended by the lack of respect women receive in the music industry? Do you think we’re overreacting? 

“Older” women in music

Women are kicked out of music when they get older. 

That isn’t an opinion. 

Of course, it’s not 100% of the time, but it’s so damn close that we’re loathe to admit that. 

Think about the women over 40 years old that you can name who are still making music that tops pop charts. How many are there? 

Now think about the men, or male-dominated bands. 

If there’s not a distinct imbalance, we’re worried you’re not thinking hard enough. Or thinking too hard, perhaps. 

A recent post on thelavalizard.com explored this issue. 

Using Mariah Carey as an example, the article showed the progression from young, dominating star to laughable has-been.

“After being introduced to consumers as the innocent, MOR (middle of the road) girl next door in the early 1990s, the diva was reborn in 1997 as a sexy butterfly with a point to prove to her then estranged husband, Tommy Mottola.

“Sadly, Carey’s experienced several personal and professional upsets at the turn of the century as her career seemingly came to an end. In addition to being labelled insane – her Hello Kitty obsession clearly didn’t help her cause – the public’s interest in her sex appeal began to fade and there were several calls by critics for her to cover her lovely lady lumps. What else coincidentally happened around that time? Carey turned 30.”

The article does well to pinpoint the issue as it appears today: “…music is a product, women are used to sell those products and the primary target audience for media companies are men.”

The recent obsession with image and visual stimulation has meant that women are no longer seen as talent, and are now seen as bodies. The ageist agenda of music and the mainstream music industry means that women past 40 aren’t competitive. They’re ignored. They’re clowns. They’re done. 

What do you think? Are women less marketable in music once they get older? Do you see a difference between men and women in visual value? Are you convinced?

 

 
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How To Complain About Misogynist Music

When I was 7 I wrote to Kelloggs complaining that there weren’t enough female characters on their cereal boxes after wondering why Snap Crackle and Pop from the Rice Bubbles pack were all boys. Admittedly, all it got me was some free Simpson water pistol style toys that they were promoting and a letter in the mail, however it felt good to voice my concerns. A feminist from a young age, a thought entered my (now damp thanks to the water pistols and my little brother) head: I wonder what they would do if it wasn’t just me that complained? Would they put a girl character on the front? Years later and it feels like I’m fighting the same battle, only this time with the music industry.

End Violence Against Women has recently launched a campaign challenging sexist and racist music videos. Joining forced with Imkaan and Object, this post outlines what they want to achieve and how you can help complain about sexist and racist music in various ways. This campaign has, unfortunately resulted in criticism with people crying censorship. However it does have some great ideas on how ordinary people can fight misogyny in the music industry. Therefore I’d like to build on the good parts of their post, and add some of my own.

How to Complain About Misogynist Music:

1. Twitter, Facebook, & Blogging

“Tell them how the videos make you feel, and let them know that you’d be more likely to buy their music in future if they change the way they portray women.” I definitely agree with EVAW on this front. Don’t be shy to tell artists and record companies how you feel about their music,  on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Blog, tweet, share. Be loud & stand your ground as the more complaints they get the more they’ll have to take notice.

2. Parody Videos & Comedy

Humour is always a good way to diffuse a situation, and get your point across. As many budding passionate comedians racking up the views on YouTube have learnt, parody videos are the way to go. Why? It allows a creative way of showing the world that the objectification of women in these videos is so completely ludicrous, and sexist that the musicians that are creating them are a joke. Reducing a musicians career to a laughingstock (ala Sarah Palin & SNL but in music) means that maybe they’ll think again when making their next album or music video.

3. Protest Signs & Traditional Media

Have you ever seen those masses of groups outside morning  talk shows with protest signs? If you live near a talk show studio, like the Sunrise one at Martin Place here in Sydney, and you know a misogynist musician will be playing on their show make some creative signs, grab some passionate friends, and protest. You’ll get televised to a large audience and more often than not the hosts come outside and interview people. Protest outside the offices of the record company, protest outside a musicians concert, or anywhere they will be. Just be sure to email a few journalists to come get some exposure! The more you get the conversation started, and make the record execs feel under pressure; the more likely they are to rethink their choices.

Oh and just one more:

4. Don’t buy their music. 

 

Any more ideas?

-Rocheen.