Women Stand Up! Why There Exists A Market For Misogyny In Music

With the recent critical light shone on Chris Brown’s borderline lyricism, we began looking at misogyny in the music industry from ancient historical examples to their present day counterparts, and our verdict is one of utter revulsion. 

Misogyny in the music world has been a matter of hot rebuttal in current post feminism climates. From the slimy Robin Thicke telling us how much we all want it, while the notorious Kanye West composed some vivid imagery involving female genitalia and sweet and sour sauce, putting women on a platform for sexual execution has been an underlying theme in present day music. What is even more perplexing is that more often than not the female in question is represented as either wanting non-consensual sex, or encouraging such misogynistic behaviour simply by being sexually desirable. The two don’t really add up, so why is this being so casually swept under the carpet?

Believe it or not, this female archetype of ‘the sexual temptress’ that exists in popular culture derives back as early as biblical times in the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4-3:24), who with her sexual prowess, convinces Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and consequently summons all of humankind to be born into an immediate state of original sin.



Image credit: biologos.org
Image credit: biologos.org

As we know now, that is completely bogus and suggests that men can’t think for themselves more than it has anything to do with female mystification; but then why does this subjugated female character still exist, and predominantly feature in popular culture and a lot of modern music?

The notion that sex sells, is no longer a justifiable answer that can endorse sexism and misogyny. Anyone with a pulse can agree that sex sells because it is such an important and endearing part of the human experience, yet surely this doesn’t need to come at the cost of putting women on a pedestal prone to sexual criticism, humiliation, and even rape.

Best Coast front woman Bethany Cosentino drew attention to the rape culture promoted in Chris Brown’s 2015 song ‘Back to Sleep’, most apparent in the chorus “Just let me rock, fuck you back to sleep girl. Don’t say a word, no, girl don’t you talk.” 

Image credit: twitter

What is most concerning about this is that we are listening to these lyrics on a daily basis whether this is consciously through our personal audio devices, or whether it serves as the unconscious hum in the background of the last store you bought a gender-specific outfit from. We have traded in the need for socially acceptable lyrics, by being too easily seduced by a catchy melody. Even when light is shed on music in popular culture for being degrading to women on some level, we act disgusted but still listen to it anyway because its catchy as hell and has mass appeal. For this we are all guilty.

And this hasn’t just occurred in modern music, it has been a brewing storm of sexual disrespect for a while. Did anyone realise that The Rolling Stones’ 1971 hit Brown Sugar is about African slave women being raped in the American Deep South? “Skydog slaver knows he’s doin’ all right. Hear him whip the women just around midnight. Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good? Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should.” Doesn’t sound so catchy now does it?

Even when the music is coming from women, there have been many cases when it is self-objectifying. A classic example is former American all-girl rock band The Runaways, who were told by their renowned music producer Kim Fowley that to be taken seriously in rock music, they had to “think with their cocks”. The by-product of this horrendous mantra was their hit single ‘Cherrybomb’ chanting the lyrics “Hey, street boy, want some style? Your dead end dreams don’t make you smile. I’ll give you something to live for. Have you and grab you until you’re sore.” If it was trying to be sexually uplifting for women, it achieves the exact opposite, suggesting that it is ingrained in our female consciousness to be sexual objects and even hungry temptresses that serve purely to satisfy the desires of men. And if that hasn’t convinced you, simply look to the lingerie front woman Cherie Currie performed in during their Japan tour below:

While The Runaways paved the way for other successful female artists and showed that women had a libido and therefore a voice in rock and roll, unfortunately this voice was built around the ideology to think like a man, and have sex like a man. And their other hit single ‘Queens of Noise’ again failed to suggest otherwise: “Cause we’re the queens of noise. Come and get it boys. Queens of noise. Not just one of your toys”. 

While we can cause uproar about the indecency of the whole sexist kerfuffle that is still going on in music today, the only way in which we can put a halter to this misogynistic madness is by killing it at its source. Unfortunately that lies in the so-called creative masterminds of musical artists that are producing the subjugating crap that is buzzing on the dance floors and clinical backgrounds of the Western world. The answer is simple really: show women respect. It is insulting that in this day and age popular culture is still accepting otherwise, purely for the sake of satisfying the masses with a catchy banger that is more relevant to gang bangs than it is to musical innovation.