One of the reasons why I was hesitant to start this blog wasn’t because of my poor time management, but because I’m an English student. I presented the argument that I am harassed daily by literature in all its various forms, I am trained to analyse, understand and reinterpret the written and spoken word, my whole aim is to criticise what has been created. Most of the time I don’t even comprehend what i have read sufficiently enough to analyse it, let alone trying to create something myself every day. But there are those times, like tonight/early this morning, when some of the most banal, base and simplistic strands of the written word can’t help but assault your ears.
It’s one thing to ‘party hard,’ or to ‘get down low.’ To be frank music and movement are almost symbiotically intertwined within human culture. When the beat drops you can’t help but pop (I’m sure one cheesy 90’s rapper used that line, if not they should have.) Yet, as an English student, I can’t help but hear the lyrics that are being blown out of low-frequency speakers and judder to a halt. We all know Rhianna is the ultimate ‘bad girl,’ she’s so bad ass she was once even considered to be good. However, when she asks knowingly “Come on rude boy, boy can you get it up? Come on rude boy, boy are you big enough?” before going on to offer him Captaincy of her ‘ship’ or to be a rider, encouragingly singing “Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up,’ I’d like to think that she is not speaking for me. You know, the hips are swaying, the shoulders popping, you have that ‘dance face’ on, chin slightly raised, eyebrow arched, lips in a little twist at the corner, and if you aren’t feeling it yet, F-off stamped across your forehead for anyone silly enough to get some strange ideas into their heads.
Yet as a woman, even with all these precautions in place – the angry dance face, the group of friends, the – I don’t speak english – if it gets too far – I almost feel violated by taking a 2-step to some of these tunes. As though by encouraging whichever singer it is for me to either get up my panty line, run to the window and the wall, or even be a California girl just for the night, I have prostituted and beastialised who I am, and most importantly for me, what it means to be a woman.
I’m stuck in a dilemma. On one hand the desire to be sociable, and to dance to a good tune – most of these pieces have beats so hot you don’t even notice the lyrics the first 100 times. While I’m teaching the room how to dougie, I have failed to miss until tonight, that Cali Swag thinks all his ‘b*****s love him – and that may involuntarily include me. The unfortunate event occurs however when a) there is an overspill of over zealous men – age is not a factor here – who assumes because one does a little side shuffle it is an invitation for them to embody Rhianna’s Captain, and make any girl who didn’t put her F-off stamp tightly on her head, a victim, or b) the uncomfortably desperate event when girls, lacking a suitable male partner, turn on one another to act out a sexualised dance routine, either for their own pleasure or to incite interest. It’s quite sad. It’s uncomfortable. It makes me wonder whether by simply being there I am condoning the antics, the antifeminist rhetoric that in my daily life, and most of my essays, i am so quick to deplore and challenge.
How do you find that balance. This isn’t an issue for simply modern music, or even worse the stereotypical ‘RnB’ music: women have long been objectified, even before ‘My Girl’ was proclaimed, or men were watching us walking down the street singing. It’s just, as each generation outgrows the ‘youth’ classification, and music evolves like everything else within nature, we continue to be objectified, and to encourage it. I just think, at times, it is to our own detriment.