I got cross in the car today.
I was listening to the radio, and had one of those ‘God, am I getting old and prudish?’ moments, like when I had my anti-porn rant. In fact, I got nearly as cross as I do at the Eminem song where, despite the fact that he’s repeatedly violent towards her, Rihanna apparently ‘likes the way it hurts, and loves the way he lies’. What a fantastic role model she is.
The song was called ‘Down For Whatever’, (read ‘Up For Anything’), by Kelly Rowland, and includes the lines:
I’m down for whatever, I’m down for whatever, when it comes to you I could make love on the floor.
It was a dance version, so I’m imagining gangs of drunken, barely dressed teenage girls, dancing and falling over. It gets better. She goes on to sing:
Say the word, I’ll do anything, I can’t say no to you.
Is it me or is that just a bit rapey? And then:
There’s no place I wouldn’t go. Tonight I’ll take it anywhere.
Now I’m really not a prude, and I’m more than happy to be open and experimental in a trusting relationship, but really, is this the kind of ethos we want to be instilling in our young clubbers?
A quick bit of research shows I’m not alone in being concerned about the potential harm of such widely heard and sexually explicit and misogynistic lyrics. One study for example showed the impact of sexual-aggressive song lyrics on aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviour – male participants who heard misogynist song lyrics recalled more negative attributes of women and reported more feelings of vengeance than when they heard neutral song lyrics.
And don’t even get me started on the videos. Is this really music and art, or merely soft-porn, peddling the idea of women as submissive sexual objects who invite abuse and violence?
Am I over-reacting and simply showing my age, or is it really not OK to be glamourising the idea of not being able to say no to ‘taking it anywhere’?