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Everyone knows that being a feminist ruins your ability to enjoy large swathes of pop culture. Movies, TV shows, video games, and music – every mindless diversion you once appreciated is now a minefield of outrage and indignation. I can’t even watch the Food Network anymore, for pete’s sake.

Except for Chopped. I love you, Chopped.

Except for Chopped. I love you, Chopped.

My one remaining toehold in popular culture is the radio, partly because my car doesn’t have an aux jack, and partly (okay, mostly) because I’m in love with Ke$ha.

I am so very much not kidding.

I am so very much not kidding.

It is because of this love for Ke$ha that I subject myself to the stream of casual misogyny and objectification that infects at least 50% of the songs on the radio right now. I present to you the top five offenders that have me jabbing the station buttons with the most regularity, in order from “irritating” to “disgusting and infuriating.”

[Note: I haven’t actually watched any of the music videos I include here, because I assume it would raise my blood pressure too much. Just know that they are probably awful and also probably at least mildly NSFW].

5. Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing

 

My objection to this song is small, and makes me feel like a cranky old rocking-chair feminist. But every time I hear him croon “Don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love with me,” my knee jerk reaction is to shout, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.”

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YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME

All I’m saying is, maybe the mystery lady in this song has some really good reasons to feel nervous or unhappy about falling in love with someone! Maybe she’s allowed to feel whatever she’s feeling! Maybe JT needs to respect her boundaries! YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

ahem.

4. Pitbull – Wild Wild Love

Things I hate about this song:

  • It’s by Pitbull, whose lyrics are regularly more misogynistic than Robin Thicke’s, but who compounds his evil by tying his lyrics to incredibly catchy lyrical hooks. I love every song Pitbull’s in except for the parts where Pitbull is in them. It’s kind of the worst.
  •  It contains the line “I know that you want this/ Wild wild love.” Guess what, that line’s been ruined forever.
  •  NOBODY CARES HOW MANY WOMEN YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH. Stop equating the number of sexual partners you have with your worth as a man. It’s toxic and predictable and, quite frankly, boring.

3. Austin Mahone – Mmm Yeah

This is the rarest of examples where Pitbull is in a song without being the one who ruins it. The offending lyrics are Austin Mahone’s:

When I saw her
Walking down the street
She looked so fine
I just had to speak

I ask her name
But she turned away
As she walked
All that I can say was

[Chorus]
Mmm mmm yeah yeah

[Repeat ad nauseum]

Bridge:

So tell me where you’re from, where you wanna go
But she walk pass me like I ain’t said a word
Stood there like man

Oh, okay! Cool! A little ditty about street harassment. That’s great. Let’s just normalize and celebrate that. Why not have a radio hit tell women that if they’re beautiful, they are leaving men no choice but to shower them with unwanted advances, even after they’ve expressed disinterest (by walking past like they didn’t hear?)

The woman in this song (and in all of the songs on this list) is shown to us essentially as an object – the entire focus is on how she affects the male singer, and what he wants her to do or not do. But having been on the receiving end of street harassment for over a decade now, all I can imagine is the frustration, irritation, anxiety, or even fear the woman in this song might be feeling as she tunes out yet another asshole on her daily commute to work.

Cats Against Catcalling Dot Tumblr Dot Com

Cats Against Catcalling Dot Tumblr Dot Com

2. Timber – Ke$ha ft. Pitbull

It kills me to put a song by Ke$ha on here. It really does. The problem is, Pitbull’s a song-ruiner.

And these lyrics are so awful that they merit a rape tw:

I’m slicker than an oil spill
She say she won’t, but I bet she will

COOL. THAT’S SO GREAT. SO. GREAT. I’M SO GLAD THAT’S ON THE RADIO.

Seriously, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of a widespread repudiation of this song in feminist circles. I guess it just hasn’t gone viral the same way Blurred Lines did, because it sure as hell isn’t any less disgusting.

I don’t even have a gif for this one. I’m just . . . angry.

1. Jason DeRulo – Talk Dirty to Me

Most of the other songs on this list had one or two lines that were the most rage-inducing. This song wins the number one spot because it’s awful ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Here are some highlights:

I’m that flight that you get on, international
First class seat on my lap, girl
Riding comfortable
Cause I know what the girl them need
New York to Haiti
I got lipstick stamps on my passport
You make it hard to leave

[foreign women have sex with me to get international travel!]

Every picture I take I pose a threat
Boat or jet, what’d you expect
Her pussy so good I bought her a pet
Anyway, everyday I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”
Anyway, everyday I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”

[foreign women trade sex for material possessions! I don’t need to know their names or acknowledge their personhood!]

This song would be gross and annoying if it were just about women in general. But it’s specifically about Latin American and Asian women. In addition to the charming lyrics, there’s the instrumental hook that comes in at the chorus, which is absolutely uncharacteristic for a pop song and which I can only imagine is filed under some douchebag producer’s “Oriental Soundz” folder. And then, just to cap it off, there’s the woman’s voice at the end of the track, saying “What? I don’t understand,” with a heavy asian accent and then giggling.

Whee.

This shit not only contributes to but celebrates the exotification and sexualization of Latin American and Asian women. The idea that all women from those parts of the world are inherently sexually available and less intelligent contributes to race-specific fetishes, to sexual tourism, to how women are portrayed in the media, how they get hired, and on and on and on. Exotification is a thing that affects the actual lives of actual women, and a song celebrating and perpetuating that myth is getting played on the radio approximately 17 times an hour.

Whee.

Whee.