Musical Dilemmas

I’m a feminist.

But.

I love dancing to popular music..

Problem?

Yes.

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about where my place is in the world of feminism outside academia. I’m clearly a strong advocate, but where does it end? Does it end at all? Do my daily choices sometimes make it harder for me to make a positive change toward equality?

I’m a little skeptical.

Even though I believe degrading women, or anyone for that matter, is awful. As I’m sure all of you do as well. But, I find myself hanging out with friends and sometimes laughing at those off color jokes. And going out to parties and dancing to those distasteful songs. And you know what? I love dancing to them. And I think that is a really big problem.

Is it okay to enjoy something if you detach meaning from it?

I’m not so sure.

I would like to say yes, but I’m not sure I can.

When I’m dancing around to Nikki Minaj and singing along to “ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS,” am I less of a feminist?

I enjoy the music, the face paced lyrics, and the bass. I don’t particularly enjoy the words.. but because I know that the lyrics are ridiculous and I know that I don’t support their meaning, I feel like I can still listen and enjoy the other parts of the music.

What I’m unsure about it where that ends. At what point should I just stop supporting the music altogether? Have I already crossed that line?

When you’re jumping around and having a good time, you’re not really registering the implications of lyrics like “How your waist anorexic and then your ass is colossal” (from Big Sean’s song Dance Ass).

But after sitting and really thinking about what that means and the type of body image Big Sean is promoting, I’m outraged.

So where’s the compromise? I don’t want to support an industry that deconstructs feminist progress in the world, yet I still want to be able to go out with friends and have a fun night (because we all know, there’s rarely a party/bar without these jams).

I don’t see myself as a hypocrite, and maybe that’s just my own biased opinion. But it’s incredibly hard to avoid and actively not participate in things that may not be good for feminism. Like watching movies with patriarchical and stereotypical undertones, watching television cough like the bachelor cough, or even reading trashy magazines.

Chris Rock’s Never Scared stand up pretty much sums it up! (Warning: Explicit!)

Tell me what you all think!

3 thoughts on “Musical Dilemmas

  1. I can soooo relate to this post. I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT when I hear a new song, get really excited about it and then, oh wait, it’s sexist…. Then every time I hear that song and dance to it or *gasp* sing along, I feel like I’m cheating on feminism or something. I had a discussion with bf the other day about this JLo song that’s out now. I told him I like it because I think it’s one of the few (if not the only) song I’ve heard recently that isn’t objectifying women. Interestingly enough, though, the discussion shifted and we started talking about how generic and dull the lyrics are. Why is it that the only song non-offensive song has generic lyrics? Is it because it doesn’t use the newest, hippest, sexist language? Or, is it because we’ve become bored by writing about non-taboo subjects in creative ways? Have we really exhausted all possible song lyrics besides the offensive? I have no idea but I wish there was some way to reconcile these feelings. There are lots of great songs from every decade to listen to, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for new music. 😦

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  2. I really like this post because I think it expresses something that a lot of feminists go through, in part, because we want to create a unified image and not look bad for the rest of feminism.

    There was a time when I seriously questioned if I should I listen to certain music, read certain books/magazines, or watch certain movies. Although some of my choices to not participate in some of these media boils down to personal taste, I have also come to the conclusion that there is resistance in my dancing to certain music AS a feminist because of the opportunity for critical analysis.

    What it all came down to for me is that I don’t see feminism as a religion stating “this is good” “this is bad” “only good feminists do this…” This is too restricting and loses the meaning of opening up discourse.

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  3. I really like that perspective of “open discourse” which allows us as feminists to not just feel like we need to fit a model of feminism. Especially as college students who are still figuring out what they believe and how they feel about a lot of issues, like myself. Thanks for the comments!

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