It’s not just music

Listen to the two songs linked below, and ask yourself, is this the message we should be sending our children?

After the horrible rape case in the now infamous town of Steubenville, I have been thinking about what could possibly have made this act seem justified by the boys who committed it, and although I do not think we can lay all of the blame on popular media, as it is a reflection of our culture, some of the blame must lie there.

I listened to this song, at the request of my son, and I was quickly horrified. It reminded me of a song I knew growing up, and how my uncritical mind had been deceived into liking this song, until a friend quietly pointed out (while I was singing the song) what the lyrics to the song meant.

I remember the moment that opened my mind, and started me thinking about music more critically.

My friend and I were walking from Koerner Library to the Student Union building on UBC campus, as part of our weekly Safewalk shift, and I started to hum, and then sing. As I got to "how easy it would be to show me how you feel", my friend interrupted me and asked, "Do you know what those lyrics mean?" I stopped singing, and said, "Uh…" I was slightly embarrassed. "That song is about pressuring girls to have sex with their boyfriend," she continued, "Are you sure you want to be singing it?" I paused, and ran through the lyrics in my head, and realized just how right she was.

I will admit that at the time I had more than my fair share of naïveté, but I believe that this is a common experience for many to not think very critically about the music to which they listen (or any media which they consume, for that matter).

I certainly know that young children, like my son, are especially unlikely to think critically about music. I wonder where my son learned of this song, and who introduced it to him and I wonder if they talked about the meaning of the song. I am especially worried that songs like this will influence his developing perspective on women, and his later relationship to them.

I would like my son, and all other boys, to grow up to be men of which we can be proud. Please, if you are exposing children to music or any other media, please, please think about what music to which you expose them, and ask yourself, if this child accepted the message of this music whole-heartedly, would this make them a better person?

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3 Comments

  • I’m not disagreeing, but I think we also need to consider that what we get out of something is directly related to what we see in it in the first place. Take “More Than Words”… if you think it’s about pressuring girls to have sex, that’s what you’ll see. If you think it’s about a guy who needs a hug more than casual reassurances – isn’t that valid? More to the point, if it was a FEMALE singing about a MALE, isn’t the second interpretation naturally what we’d gravitate to? Instead of sex? It’s like a guy can’t show a sensitive side without being told “you’re just saying that to get laid!”.

    The caveats are, of course: (1) I am male; (2) I have no idea what the songwriter was actually thinking; (3) That ‘One Direction’ song is a lot less nuanced. There’s also the matter of what we hear on the radio isn’t necessarily the original uncensored lyrics (Enrique Iglesias comes to mind). So, yes, we should be more aware of the media we consume. But by the same token, let’s not automatically jump to the worst possible interpretation.

  • David Wees wrote:

    Okay, so maybe there’s an interpretation of this song which is acceptable. What about this one? Or this one? I’m sure I can find other less ambiguous examples. In any case, we should think about what the lyrics of the songs to which our children mean, or could potentially mean.

  • Violeta Flores wrote:

    Very touchy story, though it seems a true one. I too would like my son, and all other boys, to grow up to be men of which we can be proud

    pokies

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