Picture this: it’s 2007, you’re in your edgy phase, your hair is straightened flat against your head, you have way too much eyeliner on, and you’re dancing around your room to Paramore’s top hit “Misery Business.”
Flash forward to today, nine years later, when you find out that one song you used to rock out to as a preteen has now been taken off of Paramore’s setlist. For years this song has been criticized for the slut shaming lyric, “Once a whore, you’re nothing more, I’m sorry that’ll never change.”
Hayley Williams explained to ABC news that the creation of this lyric was a mistake that happened when she was seventeen. She explains that this song was written at the pinnacle of her teenage drama. This decision for Hayley Williams is well overdue. The lead singer is said to be a feminist, however, for years we have been listening to this song on repeat having this slut shaming lyric replayed over and over again in our minds. Are we truly aware of what this lyric has done in shaping society?
Paramore isn’t gonna play Misery Business in concert anymore because the lyrics have slut shaming in them and that’s bad.
But like… it’s your song. You can change the lyrics.
— DEVIL COAL (@RealKevinCole) September 10, 2018
Critics over the internet have questioned: why doesn’t the band just change the lyric in the song? However, I think this issue goes much deeper than that. Yes, the song had a slut shaming lyric to it, but it also eludes to dragging women down. Thus, I think there is more reason not to perform this song anymore. It is about time that we stop degrading each other. Why not continue what they riot grrrls started and further the feminist revolution through music?
Paramore is not the only band that has produced songs like this. A song that comes to mind is the Avril Lavigne song “Girlfriend” where she glamorizes stealing another girls boyfriend. Now don’t get me wrong, I love these good ole punk rock songs as much as the next person, but once again I can’t help but think: what is the damage? Is the reason I grew up wanting boys with girlfriends because I was socialized by music to strive for what I can’t have?
“Music plays an important role in the socialization of children and adolescents.” This article from pediatrics.aapublications.org stems from the organization of American Academy of Pediatrics, which focuses on providing valuable information for parents and pediatricians. This article goes into detail explaining how music can impact the socialization of children and teenagers.
These are a few examples of the power music can have on society. Now let’s think: if we used this power for good, what is the positive impact we could have? An example is the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song, “Same Love.” which preaches acceptance and authenticity. Songs such as this give me hope that the music industry will use their talents to promote feminist ideologies instead of degrading individuals.