A couple years ago, I was driving in the car with my then 15-year old stepdaughter. We were listening to the radio, windows down, singing along to the music. “My Chick Bad” by Ludacris came on next and we started singing along. I quickly found my voice fading away until I was silent. My grip on the steering wheel tightened and I squirmed. Hearing “Now your girl might be sick but my girl sicker, she rides that dick and she handles her liquor” coming out of the mouth of this 15-year old girl made my stomach turn. I turned the radio off.
“Hey!” she said. “What are you doing? That was a good song!”
“I just can’t.” I said. “I just can’t listen to that with you. It’s…inappropriate.”
And right then, I became uncool. And old fart, worthy of teenaged eye rolls.
I love music. All of it. Before I inherited a teenager, so to speak, I used to drive down the road blasting the radio and singing along. I’ve gyrated on table tops at 2 A.M. in hip hop clubs and sang along to the most offensive rock and pop lyrics. I get it.
But it’s gotten to the point where I can barely stand to listen to the radio, with or without kids in the car. Even the catchy, fun songs can be ruined by just one bothersome line. It’s like ordering a delicious ice cold beer and lifting it to your lips, and then someone puts a drop of pee in it. Ew… pee-beer. My happy-buzz killed.
So, hey guys singing on the radio. I’m getting pretty tired of a lot of you. Some of your music is catchy as hell and I love to dance to it. But some of these lyrics are just beyond irritating.
“Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby, let me know.” Sure, Flo Rida, I’ll let you know. The answer is no. Bye forever.
“Hey, you’re crazy bitch, but you fuck so good, I’m on top of it. To be a star, You’ll have to go down, Take it off, No need to talk, You’re crazy, But I like the way you fuck me.” You’re gross, dude. I mean, I guess you’re at least being upfront about what a pig you are. But I have a hard time jamming out in my car to something so douchebaggy.
Akon raves about his new crush, “She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before, nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore, I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful.” You… you are having a hard time finding words to describe this woman that aren’t disrespectful? And you’re actually struggling with this? Here, I’ll help. How about “awesome?” That’s a start. See? Not so hard. Taio Cruz, if you’re letting me know in advance that you’re only gonna break, break my heart, break my heart after you “tear me apart,” then I should let you know that I’m only going to break, break your nose, break your nose. Metaphorically, of course.
Et tu, John Legend? I love your sweet jams. But telling me that “I don’t want to brag, but I’ll be the best you ever had” is rather presumptuous and boringly cocky, so actually, I think I’ll pass.
Oh, Lil Wayne. Where do we start, Lil Wayne? Pretty much everything you say is gross. “She said, ‘I never wanna make you mad, I just wanna make you proud.’ I said, ‘Baby just make me cum, Then don’t make a sound.’”
“These hoes got pussies like craters, Can’t treat these hoes like ladies, man!” But he doesn’t care what I think, as “Long as my bitches love me.” Is that me? Or my daughters? Are we the bitches that you are hoping always love you? Or is it some other bitches? I don’t love you, Lil’ Wayne. You are super, super gross.
“I love bad bitches, that’s my fucking problem.” Sounds like you have a fucking misogyny problem, too, A$AP Rocky, AMIRITE?
Later, he’ll “Turn a dyke bitch out, have her fucking boys.” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. You’re gross.
And then there’s the Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” self-imposed controversy.
First of all, that song is a JAM. Love it. Can’t NOT dance when it comes on. However, some of the lyrics bother me. First he basically says that the man she’s currently with is too controlling, she should realize that he’s not her boss nor will she be “domesticated” by him. Maybe she should leave that douche.
He goes on to say that he knows what she wants, he knows that you’re really a good girl, baby. But that you are also an animal and want to fuck him. And if you’re not sure of this yet, here, do you know what this is? Have you done this before? It’s weed, and you should smoke it, it’s always worked for him.
Come on, you know you want it.
Thirdly, the video. He made two videos, of course, knowing the first one would be banned from most places for OMG BOOBS!, so he made a second edited version. Now, I have no problem with nudity and am far from a prude. There are lots of videos with nudity in them that are done really well, in my opinion. But there’s just something about these gratuitiously naked women dancing around these fully-clothed, half-interested men, like they’re just another boring pair of Gucci shoes or 50 inch flat screen TV or boring naked supermodel or any other object that might hold their interest for a little while. It makes me feel icky, and I get how some critics have called it “rapey.” So topless women or clothed women, this video bothers me.
Now I know a lot of people will say “Oh, Jill, stop being so serious. It’s just music! It’s just fun! Don’t be such an analytical, kill-joy, feminist prude!”
I get that, too. I do. Life is too complicated and there is always something to complain about if you look, so why not just relax and enjoy?
Because I just can’t play this music around my daughters. Because this attitude has become so slowly normalized over time that even some of the most self-aware and intelligent people “just don’t see the problem.” I just can’t let my daughters think that some of this stuff is completely normal and okay. That it is no big deal. That this is an okay way for men to speak to women, or for anyone to speak to anyone else at all, for that matter, regardless of gender. Because it’s about basic respect.
Once you learn that and you know the difference, once you don’t go chasing after or putting up with guys who treat you like an object, like a piece of meat, like an interchangeable One of Many, once you learn to say, “Woah, wrong person, dude. I will not be spoken to like that,” and “No, that is not okay,” and “Absolutely not, there is the door, please get your things and get out.” Then and only then will I consider a car-dancing session with you, kiddos.
And that’s probably going to take awhile.