Ever grooved to numbers like Haseeno Ka Deewana or Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda? Ever thought what is so rampantly wrong with what’s being depicted in them?
I was listening to some of these chart-toppers and here’s how I noticed an underlying sexist theme in songs, both old and new.
Old is gold, or is it?
We’ve all heard retro superhit songs, in the 70s to 90s range, at some point in life. With time, I’ve noticed the misogynistic and sexual innuendos hidden in the lyrics.
I completely agree with the fact that in that time, feminist agendas were often overlooked and such misogyny was prevalent in society. However, had these songs been made and marketed today, there would’ve been a wide backlash.
Let’s have a look at a few –
Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon starrer blockbuster Mohra had this track, one that we get to hear to this day.
In the movie, Akshay’s character Amar, is interested in Roma, played by Raveena Tandon. Pure blatant objectification is the perfect way to do it now, isn’t it?
At first glance, the lyrics might come off as seemingly harmless. However, the character here is a police inspector, explaining to his subordinates why certain crimes against women take place.
In his words, the woman is stared at due to what she wears, which invites all the trouble she gets in. Just one question for the songwriters – why?
The Rolling Stones, at the peak of their career in 1971, released this track in their album Sticky Fingers.
Slavery, racism, misogyny, objectification – you name it, this track has it. The band later did release a statement, that they made the song keeping in mind Brown Sugar, slang for cheap heroin.
Even though we’ve evolved to an age where almost everyone is neutral, if not pro-feminist, I still see a large number of songs with misogyny inherent in them.
Howsoever misogynistic certain songs of the yesteryears might’ve been, the general atmosphere in the music industry was respectful. From “Aao huzoor tumko sitaro mein le chalu” to “Kundi mat khadkao raja, seedha andar aao raja”, from The Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to Akon’s “I Wanna F*ck You”, I think music took a wrong turn being closely linked with sexism.
We’ve known the chorus of this track for a long time, but when you delve into the lyrics, you see this. I don’t think I need to point out the level of objectification portrayed in this track, comparing a woman to dynamite and wine.
I went through some of Honey Singh’s records, and when he writes about women, he sure has some very interesting analogies to draw.
Brown Rang, for example, expresses him being fed up of white women and preferring “brown” women now, and how a woman should feel honored if she’s liked by him. Let’s not forget the absolute horror that was Volume One.
Nicki Minaj has been proclaiming herself as a feminist beacon, a model for all to look up to. Sure, doing what you want to do is great, but the way in which Nicki portrays her thoughts in her songs is objectionable to many.
Anaconda is a track that was widely criticized due to Nicki body-shaming skinny women in it, but that’s not all. Believe me when I tell you this, these aren’t the most objectionable lines in that song’s lyrics.
The scene is changing, slowly
The Indian rap culture has grown. From Punjabi rappers only talking about women, cars, and alcohol, to the manifestation of what we saw in Gully Boy, we’ve come a long way.
Rappers like Divine, Naezy, and Brodha V are taking center stage, with veterans like Badshah and Raftaar going with the flow and evolving their music. Prime example for this is Raftaar and Brodha V’s track, Naachne Ka Shaunq. Raftaar talks about how consumerism has taken over the music industry and how artistes bow down to it instead of producing quality content.
Solo acts like Prateek Kuhad and bands like The Local Train have taken the spotlight due to the quality of music they make, unlike some, who are infamous due to the sheer levels of sexism and misogyny portrayed in their music.
Do you believe music is evolving with the evolution of society? Tell us below in the comments section.
Reach the blogger @Vindicator28