I was listening to the radio on my way to work this morning, and while I’m not sure what the song was, the lyrics were something along the lines of how amazing the singer’s man was. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the song, it just wasn’t all that catchy to me, I did like the sentiment in the lyrics. I love hearing people praise their significant others. Why bother being with someone if they are such a terrible person, right?
But then I got to thinking, why are there so few songs like that? Most of them it seems like anymore at least are about cheating and all of the things people are doing behind their partner’s back. Unfortunately, many of these songs are sung/rapped by men. I’m not saying men are the only ones who go around partner-bashing in one sense or another, but you see it a lot more often than the other way around. Also, when women want to take the “dirty road” they tend to go for the seduction of one man versus the “player” model. Men on the other hand tend to talk more about being sneaky and going after various women and being players or cheaters.
One male artist that comes to mind is The Weeknd. Don’t get me wrong, I love his voice, and his songs are catchy as hell, but if you have ever listened to the lyrics they are pretty raunchy. Why is it that as a society we love these songs so much? Are they affecting people in negative ways? Or are our natural negative behaviors resulting in these songs? Why do we accept these kinds of things?
Now before anyone decides to start jumping on me I need you to understand a few things. For one, I am in no way in agreement with censorship. I don’t think these types of songs should be banned or censored in any way. Second, I do not like to consider myself a “feminist” or any such label. I do agree with equality and the like, but I don’t agree with every angle that these labeled groups take. I don’t identify as a woman strongly enough to make these types of claims. Certainly I get pissed off when someone says I can’t do something or I should do something simply because I’m a woman, but just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that I need a label about it. Third, I don’t care if people want to be hoes. I don’t even care if it’s disproportionate between men and women. What I don’t like is people exploiting each other. Why do we feel like cheating is ever ok, or even glorify it? Why do we want to hurt each other in that way? We don’t want it done to us! I’m all for open honest relationships. If you want to be with multiple people, make that very clear to the people you are involved with. You don’t have to be monogamous but could you at least be honest?
I just have to wonder how these songs are affecting us as a society. I know when I get into a song by The Weeknd, I find myself fantasizing about a party with lots of good looking folks, drugs, music, and just being a bad girl for a while. I know that’s not the type of person I am, and I wouldn’t manifest it in real life, but I feel like if I went out and had some drinks and found myself in a similar situation, it would be hard not to want to at least dabble in it. I know I would regret every bit of it if I actually let myself go, but the thought is definitely there. Would I still feel as drawn to that type of situation if it wasn’t portrayed as so appealing in the songs? Not everyone has the greatest self-control and I feel like these types of things could sway the more impressionable mind.
The same goes for the “good” songs though. Do you think if we had more good songs about great relationships and strong partnerships and supporting each other that it would inspire more people toward that? I think that is the way to go. I’m not saying JT and I don’t have any issues, of course we do, we’re two human individuals. One thing I can say, however, is that JT and I make one hell of a team. We work together, we pick up each other’s slack, we support each other, and we always, always make each other laugh. I can’t imagine bashing JT to others, or sneaking around to do things that would clearly hurt him if he knew. I do my best to always keep him (and us) at the forefront of all the decisions I make. This doesn’t mean we are obsessed with each other or that we have to be joined at the hip. I’m totally fine with him going to do something he enjoys. He plays basketball on Wednesday nights. I don’t ask him to tag along, I don’t call him repeatedly asking where he is, I don’t get mad that he isn’t spending time with me. Wednesday nights are his thing. Sundays I go to the temple, and occasionally he comes with me if he feels like it. I never force him, and I don’t get mad because he doesn’t want to. I do a lot of volunteer work. I don’t make him join me, the option is there if he would like, but there is never any pressure. When I’m off on these ventures, I never even consider jumping into bed with someone else. I don’t even think of entertaining someone else. That’s not saying I don’t have friends, I most certainly do, and so does he, of all sorts of genders and sexual orientations. Ultimately, however, we come back to each other each and every time.
I don’t see the appeal of leading someone on or cheating or any of that game playing sort of stuff. If I’m in a relationship it’s because it matters to me. If I’m not in a relationship, openness and honesty are still the biggest concern. That’s not to say I don’t like to have fun, but my fun doesn’t include crushing the hearts of other people. I like to be sexy, but why can’t I be sexy with the man I actually care about who is my partner in life? It feels nice to be able to give that to him as my gift for being my support system and my teammate. And I get that from him too. It’s a nice exchange.
Like I said, I don’t advocate for censorship, I’m not suggesting we get rid of these songs, images, writings, or anything, I just want to try to be more mindful of what I support and how I do that. I mean I’m a big Eminem fan too, and we all know he’s not the most friendly or supportive of women. I like to be able to distinguish, however, what is general expression of feelings versus what is actually an ingrained personality trait. We all have “bad” thoughts sometimes, and sometimes the best way to rid ourselves of those thoughts is some sort of artistic expression. That I totally get. Just because someone makes art a certain way doesn’t mean that is how they act or what they truly believe, it may just be some outpouring of disturbing thought. That’s totally fine. The problem is that so many folks can’t make that distinction. They hear these things and think that is how life is, that’s what is cool, that’s what is right…and ultimately I don’t think it is.
I don’t think I’m going to stop listening to Eminem or The Weeknd anytime soon. I do believe I’m going to be more mindful and analytical to what I’m listening to though. I’m going to let these songs pass through my filter and be able to say, “Eh, the subject matter is sketchy, but I also understand that I’m listening to this because of the catchiness of the beat, not because I agree with what is being said.” I can also make the distinction of “This is a song” versus “This is how I feel in real life”. Distinctions need to be made between these things and I’m not sure that enough people do that kind of critical thinking. Before they know it, things become normalized because that’s what they think, breathe, do, and say. Don’t let that happen to you. We as a society have the power to become better. Don’t let yourself be dragged down!