With today’s rapidly developing and maturing culture, it’s no surprise that subjects that were once considered taboo or vulgar are now presented in everyday conversation with such ease. The most universal of these conversations is that of music which often spotlights women as needing to “smack”, “clap”, or “twerk” a specified body part. The severity of these lyrics often doesn’t register in our minds, despite the avid degradation of women.
Madiha Bhatti, a young spoken word poet, suggests that the progress feminists have fought for throughout history (earning women the right to vote, be educated, run for office, have a voice, etc.) is systematically getting torn down by the disrespectful and demeaning lyrics found on the radio today. In her poem Mu(sick), Madiha discusses how the poisonous songs we hear on a daily basis are affecting not only how men treat women but how we, as women, treat ourselves.
Here are 6 empowering points Madiha made and how they are currently affecting women.
Body image is one of the biggest issues women struggle with every single day. Many women rely on makeup and quick diets, as if with the help of those practices, we can gain an edge on the next girl.
No woman ever wants to be compared to another woman, but songs on the radio often make it seem that if we don’t have a skinny waist and a big butt and large breasts, then no one will ever glance our way. Like Madiha implies, it’s as if we don’t have any name except “34 Double D” or “32 A”.
According to research by the Health Research Fund in 2013, the two most popular plastic surgery procedures sought out by young women are breast augmentations and rhinoplasties. In fact, a whopping 42% of young people go under the knife to “correct” their noses. We as women should not have to be reduced to mere parts, sacrificing ourselves as a whole to fit the bill of an “ideal” girl. We aren’t built in factories. Our individuality and unique qualities are what makes us who we are and it should be celebrated.
Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Fitting in at the cost of your true self only leads to regret, not to mention the fact that no one wants to be a carbon copy. Revel in your individuality, whether it’s purple hair and studded Chuck Taylors or a bubbly pink dress and ballet flats. Stay true to you, even though music stars today may promote a certain image for a woman. The worst you could do is blend in.
Let’s face it, this has happened to us all. You’re minding your own business when out of nowhere, a catcall starting with “ay yo” and ending with either “baby”, “shorty”, “honey” or “sweet thing” is shouted in your direction, and your skin crawls with disgust from the lack of respect. We are the CEO’s and executives, not toys to play with. We are not only beautiful but we are smart girls with thoughts, ideas and opinions. Shockingly, we also have actual names that no one seems to ask for nowadays.
Music is often filled with references to women as “hoes” or “bitches,” among other degrading names. At this point, these names are said so often we don’t even notice–we might even be throwing them around carelessly with our own girlfriends!
Fewer words are being censored on television and in music, and our complacency with this is validating the lyrics in the music. As Madiha says, words have the power to start wars. Take away the insanely good beat and these are not songs but direct attacks on female character. We as women have to value ourselves and not let ourselves be lowered by repulsive words. We should not allow to them remain in our vocabulary and others’ vocabulary as an adjective for a woman.
In some ways, the sexualization of women has evolved with modern fashion. Over the years, clothes have become shorter, placing more focus on our skin as opposed to what’s inside. This in turn places our bodies at the forefront of conversations when we present ourselves in public, as opposed to who we are. Nothing is left to the imagination.
Female artists sing about confidence while spreading their legs, but shouldn’t they be singing this while sitting at the head of a board meeting? Singers sing about power while in a bathing suit, but is this truly the right attire to convey a sense of power? Music videos today only reinforce the theory that the only way to make money and become powerful is through sex. This is especially detrimental to children who view these sexualized influences, where visuals are key to their learning. These mixed messages start at a young age, hindering young girls from reaching their full potential because their idols are prancing around in bikinis as opposed to conducting brain surgery on an operating table.
Where is the music that makes us feel inspired? We want songs that make us feel like women can conquer the world, fulfill our full potentials to jump over rainbows if we want to, and attack the day fearlessly without worrying about how a guy is going to perceive us.
It’s time to be the executives, CEO’s, presidents of the United States, and female kickass rock stars we are and stop submitting ourselves to the cruel misinterpretations of the power of a strong independent female mind.
Check out Madiha’s entire inspiring video here and don’t forget to comment and share with lots of Lala love!