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Sexual Politics of Pop Culture

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By Nidhi Taneja

Through the ages music has been an integral part of the entertainment industry. It is considered to have a profound impact on the audience due to its mass appeal. This popular faith in the ability of music to influence people and their way of thinking has led to music being used on various occasions to mobilize people or express the general views prevalent in the society. It seems like gone are the days when music was used as a way to amplify patriotic feelings of the citizens or in a romanticized fashion to express love.

Today music has taken a different form altogether. It might have begun to capture more audience and attention but only at the cost of its reputation.

Unfortunately, to fulfill its profit motive and capture more eye-balls, it has come up with a new formula: “Objectification of women”.

The misogynistic lyrics of many songs are loud enough to capture the attention of not only music lovers but also that of feminists and social activists all over the world. It is appalling to realize how such songs top the charts repeatedly while there are so many great artists who have talent and a message or purpose for their music, but do not even get the recognition they deserve.
The degradation of women is quite obvious in the lyrics or videos of rap/hip hop songs.

These songs bring to surface the deeply rooted male- chauvinism, prevalent in all most all the societies of the world. In the videos women are shown as focused completely on the man – on getting his attention and keeping it – by all means necessary. From their dressing, speaking in seductive tones to acting and dancing in a sexual manner, it all is highlights d in a negative manner that is attention seeking and degrading.

Some songs are particularly very biased when it comes to projecting women as inferior to men. One such song is “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. The lyrics of the song include statements like: “Tried to domesticate you/ But you’re an animal/ Baby, it’s in your nature/ Just let me liberate you”. These lines are clearly portraying women as animal and men as liberator. The video of the song shows women trying to woo the three men with their seductive moves, which is highly indicative of the notion that “Men do it because women WANT it!”

This trend is prevalent in bollywood too. With all those Honey Singh songs topping the charts, the real questions that arises is aren’t we becoming part of this objectification practice by celebrating such music which includes lyrics like: “ kuddiyo ka lga hai buffet” and “Purchase vi kariye je vike taan sahi”. These lyrics label women as a commodity to be bought. Sometimes these songs bluntly categorize women as a “Bitch”.

All this and much more is done and said in the name of creative freedom. What is even more bothersome is the fact that these songs promote an attitude/ notion that it is ok to openly lust after a woman because she will enjoy the attention and reciprocate it somehow. This lust leads to harassment in no time. Every time a new song catches on, eve teasers use it to the full extent.

The idea that women are merely objects is an extremely wrong message to deliver to society. But yet, no matter how much one critiques or complains, women are still objectified in every form of entertainment. Sex sells and will forever be a strong selling point. Men have always been considered the maker of meanings and as long as this continues, women will forever be objected to the voyeuristic gazes of the masses.

It’s time that we as active consumers of various forms of entertainment think judicially and decide whether we actually want to fall prey to such negative depictions of women in popular media. We should stop appreciating and reinforcing the destructive stereotypes prevalent in these songs and videos which has a negative impact on the integrity and portrayal of women as equal human beings to their male counter parts.

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