Tag Archives: sexist music

Who Needs Feminism?

Who needs feminism? The music industry does for starters. The launch of the brilliant new blog ‘Who Needs Feminism?’ Has sparked women to hold up pieces of paper to share why they need feminism. These sum up why we started this cause:

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tumblr_mewc7ojkoY1rmnjg6o1_500We need feminism because there is no such thing as ‘Blurred Lines’, no means no.

We need feminism because women should be treated as equals in music videos not play things.

We need feminism because women in music should be judged on their talent and not just their sex appeal.

Why do you need feminism? Tell us below.

-Rocheen.

Sick of Sexism: Female Artists Speak Out

It’s been an interesting couple months for sexism in the music industry. One of the trends we’ve been seeing of late is female musicians from various genres of music speaking out against sexism and sharing their personal stories. We’ve already commented on ex-teen star Charlotte Church’s comments (check out our blog post for details) and how she didn’t have control over her image. Haley Williams who is the lead singer of Paramore has also spoken out about the way she’s been treated as a lesser part of the group or the token female singer. Chvurches has started the discussion and we’re glad to see the conversation doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon. 

 All female Aussie band Stonefield told Tonedeaf about how they experienced inappropriate remarks when they used to go to largely male dominated rock competitions. 

“I definitely notice there are comments that probably wouldn’t be said about male bands. Just inappropriate things with like way older men saying,” Findlay takes on the voice of a gruff drunkard, “Can I get your number? You’re sexy.” 

The band said they simply ignore the remarks as something they have to deal with in the industry. But why should they?

 

Gabriella Climi, the Melbourne artist best known for her track ‘Nothing Sweet About Me’ told the Independent about how her record company decided to sex up her image for her second album with lyrics such as ‘I love it with your hands all over me’ and ‘superhot ride’. She appeared topless in FHM, something that she regrets. 

 ”At the time it was sold to me that I would have approval over all shots, but it turns out we didn’t. I was in Australia at the time it came out and I just bawled my eyes out. I did the shoot, so I can’t really blame anyone else for doing it.

“There’s nothing wrong with women celebrating their bodies, but I was so upset because I didn’t want to do it,” she adds. “I’ve had some really great men working on my campaigns but sometimes they can get really carried away.”

The pressure to be sexy and something she wasn’t came to a head when she suffered from an anxiety attack as she was about to go on stage for a sports event dressed as a sexy alien. 

“I had to perform ”On a Mission“ dressed as a sexy alien and I thought, ‘this is so far from where I wanted to be, how did I end up doing this?’” she says. “I remember bawling my eyes out.

Bursting onto the scene with her first album when she was just a teenager, Climi describes how for her second album the male record executives took control, and her music wasn’t being marketed the way she had anticipated. She said that it was so over sexualised, not true to herself, and was not what she wanted. It made her so upset to the point that she almost quit. 

This pressure to be sexy, and female artists being judged on their looks rather than their talent seems like it’s sadly normal in the music industry if Stonefield’s and Climi’s accounts are anything to go by. However if artists like these keep speaking out maybe we’ll see a change in the way female artists are oversexualised, and convinced into uncomfortable situations by record industry professionals.

 

What do you think about female artists speaking out?

 

Do you think it might start to change the way women are treated in the industry?

 

-Rocheen. 

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

 

 

 

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.

Attitudes Towards Women & Sexist Music

Gyms, clubs, pubs, stores, movies, TV, Facebook, Youtube… and the list goes on. Popular music is part of our everyday life whether we actively choose to interact with it or not. The question is what kind effect can it have on people? More specifically what kind of effect can it have on males and the way they see women?

These music videos regularly feature women in bikinis or skimpy clothes hanging off fully clothed men as they rap or sing. They are simply decoration or eye candy for the audience to gain attention, and online traffic. They place a lot of emphasis on how women look; objectifying them rather than treating them as equal, intelligent counterparts. This objectification of women in music is sending the wrong message about how women should be treated and viewed.

Pitbull surrounded by bikini clad women in his music video.

study published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media in early 2011 examined the  impact music videos had on the sexual beliefs of college aged males. The article referenced a previous paper by Jhally that stated “music videos are often constructed around the “pornographic imagination,” in which women are seen as sex symbols that simply must have sex and will submit to any fantasy that a man may have.” Women are simply there to play out the desires of the male audience. This is a fantasy that has real world consequences as it can influence the way men relate to women. The study exposed the men to music videos that sexualised women to various degrees. It concluded that the sexualisation did influence the male college undergraduates perceptions of females negatively in the short term. It showed that being exposed to music videos that sexualise women and endorse sexist ideas can influence mens attitudes towards women.

Another study reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that exposure to sexism in rap music can influence males attitudes and the way they interact with the opposite sex. An article published on the study interviewed Dr Cobb on the findings. ‘”Rap is not causing people to be sexist,” said Dr. Michael Cobb. “It’s priming sexist attitude and it pops up when we’re stimulated. It’s a temporary attitudinal effect. It simply means they’re more likely to endorse sexism.”‘

Whether or not music is the cause of sexism amongst young males, both studies show that popular music has some influence over their attitudes towards women. If there is one thing we can conclude from these studies it is that until artists start showing women as equals, and not simply as body parts these attitudes towards women won’t show any positive change.

Do you think popular music is influencing the way young males in their late teens and early 20’s interact and relate to women?

-Rocheen

It’s Not a Love Song, It’s Sexual Assault

Let’s talk love songs, and songs about relationships. There are some songs that might be mistaken as being romantic music about unrequited love, however when you actually listen to the lyrics they have alarming undertones of sexual assault and domestic abuse. You listen to it twice and realise that the song is about a poor girl being stalked, or about some poor girl with a boyfriend hell-bent on conforming to gender stereotypes to the point that he makes degrading comments about her. These songs aren’t limited by genre either, here is a list of songs that I feel have sexist and violent undertones, and perpetuate ideas that stalking and sexual assault are acceptable because it’s ‘love’.

Warning: Some content may offend.

Rock/Pop:

Nickelback- Follow You Home

‘You can slap me in the face/You can scream profanity
Leave me here to die alone but/I’ll still follow you home’

So basically the female in this song doesn’t want the male to keep harassing her, but he keeps persevering. The song goes on to say that she can yell at him, swear, put a bounty on his head, kill him etc. and he will still follow her home. It’s creepy, and perpetuating the idea that if a male keep harassing and stalking a female then he will have her eventually. She’s not playing hard to get when she takes out a restraining order or tries to kill you she’s that scared.

Country:

Brad Paisley ‘I’m Still A Guy’

‘But when you say a back rub means only a back rub/ Then you swat my hand when I try
Well, now what can I say at the end of the day/Honey, I’m still a guy’

Apart from all the grossly exaggerated gender stereotypes this song feeds into I find the words ‘but when you say a backrub is just a backrub and swat my hand when I try’ the most alarming lyrics of this song as it has undertones of sexual assault. That and he called the female love interests dog a sissie, and is feeding into traditional masculinity through clearly showing his ideas of a ‘real man’. He perpetuates the idea that males are the dominant gender and, to him, a male doing anything he considers feminine is equivalent to removing his testicles. It is reinforcing gender stereotypes and shows women as weak, unimportant, and manipulative.

Dance/Pop:

Cobra Starship- It’s Warmer In The Basement

‘This is what you get/When you’re talking back baby
I never bounce a check/So give it up, baby
Open up your eyes/I want to watch you cry… No one hears you in this room’

Another incredibly creepy ‘love’ song about a male who has a female love interest trapped in the basement. The dissonance between the upbeat music and the torture, sexual assault, and kidnap style lyrics is astounding. In this song the male sings about how no one will hear her cries as he has her trapped. It also has incredibly violent disturbing undertones about how he is filming her pleas, and that locking her up was some sort of punishment for talking back to him.

What do you think of these lyrics?

Any more to add to the list?

-Rocheen