I always found misogyny vulgar and stupid, and I found almost all the women I have known to be my betters.However, placing them so high, I used them more often than I served them. How does one make sense of this?Albert Camus (19131960)
"According to a study published Monday by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan research group, teenagers who spent more time listening to music with lyrics that objectify women or praise men for their voracious sexual appetites were more likely to become sexually active earlier in their youth."
-- from the article, "Misogyny - set to music - may alter teen behavior " by Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor
But, don't blame the music industry.
The findings in the Rand Corporation study aren't news to any rational thinking man or woman that has a healthy sense of self esteem as well as respect for the opposite sex. And as psychologist, Steven Martino points out "Kids are exposed to these sorts of messages not just in music but in culture in general" . So as negative and demeaning as some of today's music lyrics may be, the lyrics are in many ways just a reflection of the attitudes of today's Western society.
For example, I know a man in his late thirties and father to a preteen daughter who used to refer to women with whom he had casual relationships as "temp files". Temp files ( aka temporary files) being the term used to describe the files that your computer creates in order to perform temporary functions. Temp files can be easily erased when they aren't needed any more. I've heard a lot of terms to describe relationships of convenience but this one really said it all.
Then there was the man who once told me that R. Kelly was his 4 year son's favorite musician and his son knew the words to every R. Kelly song. I have to admit I was floored. At the time, I was known to listen to a R. Kelly tune from time to time but even then I didn't think ( and still don't ) that it is appropriate listening material for small children. And I don't think the only song that this guy's son knew was " I Believe I Can Fly". This same guy also told me that if his son grew up and came home one day announcing that he was gay, that he would disown him. This told me all I needed to know. I woke up, deleted all my R. Kelly mp3s ( and a few more) and decided that that relationship was not for me.
These two guys illustrate the heart of the problem. The daughters whose father's refer to women as "temp files" and the sons who hear the message that real men boast about their sexual prowess and view women's primary role as sexual.
How many times have you heard an artist state that his music was just an expression of his reality? That's not just a line. Whether based in fact or fantasy, art in all forms is a reflection on the artist's beliefs, perceptions and imagination. All of which are shaped by the world in which that artist lives. Even if an artist grows up in an upper-middle class American suburb and never meets a pimp, drug dealer or gang member in his life, he may record a gangsta rap album because he believes it will make him rich. That is his perception of the values of the world in which he lives. Sadly, he's right.
As the article points out, each generation and it's children have had differences about the expression of love and sexuality in music. However, the biggest change in the music of the past decade or so has been the overwhelmingly negative messages about sex, love and women . Even in the sixties and seventies when there was an abundance of anti-marriage sentiment the idea of true love remained. And while women may have been objectified they were seldom denigrated.
I've actually heard one artist state that when he refers to women as bitches and whores in his lyrics that he doesn't mean any disrespect. He spoke about it as if these were terms of endearment and then went on to talk about how much he loved his mom. His comment would have seemed ridiculous if I didn't believe that in his own twisted mind he really believed what he was saying. He did make one interesting point in saying that if women keep saying "all men are dogs" then doesn't that make women bitches? ( Food for thought. )
We now live in a culture that is not just misogynistic but one in which so many people simply don't love and respect themselves and don't value each other. And the women and young girls suffer the most.
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Misogyny - set to music - may alter teen behavior
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Read the entire article: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0808/p01s04-ussc.htmSummary:
When it comes to the sexuality of music, the battle between the old and young has raged for decades. Blues was once "the devil's music." The Rolling Stones had to sing a sterilized "Let's Spend Some Time Together" to get radio play.
According to a study published Monday by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan research group, teenagers who spent more time listening to music with lyrics that objectify women or praise men for their voracious sexual appetites were more likely to become sexually active earlier in their youth.
It's the latest, and among the most rigorous, studies in a growing body of research that suggests media have a significant impact on young people's behavior - a claim that ignites controversy when coupled with calls for censorship or restrictions.
"Kids are exposed to these sorts of messages not just in music but in culture in general," says Steven Martino, a RAND psychologist and lead researcher on the study.
"It's better to have them be critical thinkers than have them just be sheltered teens."
In every case - across racial and gender lines, and after accounting for factors like a heightened interest in sex or more permissive parents - increased exposure to sexually degrading lyrics (though not merely sexual ones) led to increased sexual activity.
Parents and psychologists have long worried about the harm not only of music, but also of TV, movies, and video games.
Mr. Steyer is quick to say that media shouldn't be punished - it's very possible, he says, to appreciate the beat and rhythm of a song and reject the lyrics' message.
While it's impossible to prove that lyrics were responsible for his study's observations, Martino says he hopes that by tracking the adolescents over time - as well as by accounting for other factors such as an expressed desire to have sex at an earlier age - the study has demonstrated a strong causal connection.
it would be wrong to say we shouldn't expose these kids to sex," says Martino.
"But it's another thing to expose these kids very consistently to the message that women are sexual objects."