The Reflective Educator

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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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