No More Misery Business

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?

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 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. 




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11 thoughts on “No More Misery Business

  1. I never knew this was happening nor that this was a thing; and I have mixed feelings!!!


    This is so much, but kudos for acknowledging it. I think the idea of not playing that song, and not changing the lyrics, is because she acknowledges the weight that this song has. She’s also well aware of the message that changing the lyrics would send; that you can alter and cover a history that has changed folks. The weight of that lyric is heavy, and kudos for acknowledging that damage. The song remains authentic but problematic, and she’s acknowledged it, and taken steps.

    Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand! I have mix feelings too I LOVE the song but taking a step back and seeing the possible side effects and it’s very eyeopening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think Paramore and Avril Lavigne were influenced by the riotgrrrl! movement? How do you see the two aforementioned musicians as the same of different than those of the original riotgrrrl! scene?


    1. Great question! I think Paramore for sure has been influenced by the movement, just from Hayley Williams support for the feminist movement and powerful songs. Their album “Riot!” is all about using music to start a revolution and have influence. Avril Lavigne I’m less sure about, she is a female artist and a feminist, however, her music shows little support for the riotgrrrl movement.


  3. I didn’t know this was going on and thank you for sharing this, I love that you mentioned how Haley Williams couldn’t just change one lyric and be done, like no she had to get rid of the whole song to really get her point across, I also think it really shows how important it is that artists realize how influential their music is for the youth that grow up listening to their lyrics and looking up to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this was such an interesting read! I never realized that that specific lyric was in the song, and it just goes to show to we need to be more mindful of the content we filter in our music. I love Paramore and although I’m disappointed because I am a fan of this particular song, I think it’s a step in the right direction that they won’t sing the song live anymore.


  5. Thank you so much for writing an article that discusses this topic! I never realized how much music made an impact on society – especially the message of the song. Usually, people tend to disregard what is being said in a song because the song is catchy and has a good beat. Songs send a message which can include a slut-shaming message such as the song “Misery Business.” It is depicted as not a big deal because it is a good song – but the messages can stick and can be embedded into society even further.

    I think it was a good idea for Hayley Williams to acknowledge the song is problematic and will no longer be singing it, maybe this will set an example for other artists. I also really enjoyed how you mentioned other artists as well that send wrong messages but also mentioned artist who try to send meaningful messages such as Macklemore. I enjoyed reading this article as it made me think more deeply about songs in society and hopefully artists will begin to make a change!


  6. You bring up some great questions! How impactful is the media, music specifically, on impacting listeners. I myself was wondering what is the reason behind not just changing the lyric. Very interesting, thanks for posting!!


  7. I only heard this song for the first time recently and loved the music, but when I started listening to the words this was the exact problem I had with it! I typically skip over it because the stereotypical narrative of women competing and trash talking each other over the same man just screams sexism and is depressing at this point. If it’s that easy to “steal someone’s man,” why do you want him? Not to mention shaming the other girl for acting coy (“Well there’s a million other girls who do it just like you/Looking as innocent as possible to get to who/They want and what they like, it’s easy if you do it right”) is shaming her for acting out a gender role imposed on her by the patriarchy, which is just how she has internalized that she is supposed to be. I’m glad to hear that they aren’t doing the song live anymore, though, even if the music that went with it was great.


  8. This is such an interesting thing that Hayley Williams is doing! Now let me say that this song is an absolute bop and I love to blast it in the car, but the lyrics about ‘once a whore, you’re nothing more’, have always bothered me a little bit. I am very glad that she is noticing the issues with this lyric. This article really made me think of the other songs I grew up listening to and the skewed messages being sent.


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