The art of music is one of mankind’s greatest contributions to society. With the start of the twenty-first century music has become a very controversial subject. With swear words and harsh portrayals being the fad for many hipsters and rap artists human dignity has become a low priority. Both men and women are made out to be objects, trash, and indecent. With girl bands and female pop musicians on the raise stereotypes come into play. The main way that men are perceived is as ‘Boy Toys,’ ‘Cheaters,’ and ‘Fairytales‘. All of these portrayals will be discussed and analyzed to learn why men are made out to be the way they are, what makes these songs so catchy, and how men feel being portrayed the way they are.
“Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick, don’t think to much just thrust that stick I wanna take a ride on you disco stick,” (Love Game, Lady Gaga.) Is the lyric coming from the back of a young girls convertible, driving down Hollywood Boulevard. Does she stop and question if this song is appropriate or sanitary for her little sister? The answer is no because everywhere the fresh beat from the controversial Lady Gaga is playing.
The cult favorite quickly lit up airways all over the globe and why? Because of the strong beat and catchy chorus, no one has stopped to analyze the effect it could have on the male population. This particular song depicts an image of a women being very forward and promiscuous towards an unsuspecting male. This is the first of many examples of songs viewing men as nothing more then a one night stand. Society does not want to look at gentlemen in this light because it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing for men to be sought out to be damsels in distress. Like women, there are also men that sell their bodies for money. Unlike women, they are less up front about in.
In Las Vegas there are no little business cards handed out with scantily clad male pictures on them with a pimps phone number, on the other hand if someone wanted that kind of service, in todays times they wouldn’t have to look far to get it. Another example of a singer using the abuse of men to sell out is none other than intense success story, Ke$ha. “I don’t care where you live at just turn around let me hit that, don’t be a little b**ch with your chit chat, just show me where your d*cks at,” is the memorable lyric to Blah Blah Blah, which shares the same reasons for success that Love Game does. A result of such songs is boys feeling the need to be a tall, dark, and handsome guy with an eight-pack which for most twelve year olds, is an unreasonable goal. Boys deal with the same pressures as girls; they got to keep up their grades, play sports, do chores, and other responsibilities and to top it all off hormones are recking havoc.
If they happen to be different in any way shape or form they are made fun of and ridiculed. Without good friends, life feels like prison. This problem is caused by artists that feel the need to compare themselves to everyone else. This problem not only affects big cities like Vancouver, but small towns like Fort Nelson. Last year, a class of grade seven boys were flat out refusing to eat lunch, as a result a self esteem building program was put in place to convince the kids that eating was not wrong at that developmental age eating large portions is okay. Other rude and nasty songs telling the world men are nothing but sex toys and accessories is wrong. Part of the problem lies within ourselves. What do songs like Peacock by Katy Perry make them so addicting? For instance the repeat chorus applies to us as well as the beat, “I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock, Your peacock, cock, Your peacock, cock, cock, Your peacock I wanna see it.”
Another valid reason is this music is so inappropriate that we rebel a little when we hear it, “Come on baby let me see whatchu hidin‘ underneath.” In conclusion, my question to songwriters that support people selling themselves, being taken advantage of, as well as making it all appear glamourous; how do you think these lyrics are perceived? How does a father feel when he hears his daughter singing “I am a boy hunter, I need a boy tonight,” (Boyhunter , Skye Sweetam.) Or an elder minding his own business when a gas guzzling Hummer drives by with Dinasoar by Ke$ha comes blaring out? The answer is sad and awkward and a sense of longing for the days when belts were worn and hats were taken off we they entered buildings.
People talk and discuss about things that apply to them. Most writers write about personal experiences, the same goes for singers. As humans, we dwell on bad experiences rather then good ones. Making songs about your ex more popular than ones about your true love. The song Before he Cheats by Carrie Underwood comes to mind as a great example of cheating and revenge, “I dug my key into the side of pretty little souped up four wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats… I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all four tires… Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats”. Cheating occurs in a relationship when one party is upset or unsatisfied with the other and finds someone else to fill those needs. This act is looked down upon and hurts everyone involved.
In music, cheaters are mostly viewed as men and when the girl does the deed, the so called ‘other man’ is the one to blame, “What’s her name, whats she like, does she know that you’ll never treat her right,” (Ghosts, Phoebe Dobson.) These players get cocky and in the end, like a serial killer, mess up, “You should of known that word, of what you did would hurt and get back to me,” (Should’ve Said No, Taylor Swift.) Men who are faithful probably perceive these songs as disrespectful and hurtful, but with legends like Tiger Woods and A-list celebs like Jessie James, songs of this theme are becoming more and more common. We relate to these songs because everyones been through a bad break up and when you’re feeling like no body understands you, the right playlist is the right cure for a broken heart.
With all the hate and injustice in the world, there has to be some happiness too, or life not worth it. Finding you’re true love makes every other relationship irrelevant. The lock around your heart has found it’s key. Finding your soul mate is and discovering your truly not alone is the greatest feeling in the world. So why not describe it in song format? A good example of a singer who does this on a regular basis is country superstar, Taylor Swift. With the numerous awards and best selling singles, sharing her experiences was a very good idea, “Today was a fairytale, you were the prince, I was the damsel in distress, you took me by the hand and you picked me up at six today was a fairytale,” (Fairytale, Taylor Swift.)
Some men don’t think these songs have merit and are too girly for them, but then why do they listen to them over and over? I think that being viewed as someone’s one and only is what make life worth all the struggles. Finding ‘the one’ makes you stop questioning “that theres’ gotta be somebody for me like that,” (Gotta be Somebody, Nickelback.) What makes this portrayal so popular is that society has taught us that finding your one and only is the ultimate goal. On the other hand, from a scientists point of view, not finding your soul mate and not having children is the worst thing imaginable because that implies that you’ll be erased from the gene pool making you existent come to a completely end.
All men need someone to guide them, and give themselves over to without feeling worried or lost. When someone gives their mind, body, and soul over to you, the sun is brighter, the sky is bluer, and the birds sing louder, “let’s go all the way tonight, no regrets, just love, we can dance until we die, you and I will be young forever!” (Teenage Dream, Katy Perry.) Chivalry may be dead, but happily ever afters are still possible, “the planets all alined, when you looked into my eyes, and just like that, watch the chemicals react,” (Chemicals React, Aly & A.J.)
Music gives us life, makes us feel surrounded and alive. Portraying every emotion, every event in our shared history. Giving men scoldings when they are weak and praise when they truly accomplish something. Without these songs, how could we express ourselves and convince the inner soul that falling head over heals for someone you just met is not crazy, but part of life. As with any literacy work there is truth to all the views; some men are used, some are scum, but once in you find Mr. Right and the world keeps on spinning.
“So maybe it true, I can’t live without you, and maybe two is better then one, but theres so much time, to figure out the rest of my life, and you’ve already got me comin’ undone, and thinkin’, two is better than one,” (Two is Better than One, Boys Like Girls Feat. Taylor Swift.)