Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Much Does Music Sway Us?


How much does music move us and groove us?
Meaning: Can it save our sorry souls, or put us right on the highway to Hell?

Few days back, I read an article featured on Cafe Mom:

'All About That Bass' Is Sending Dangerous Message to Our Daughters.

     Being a big fan of the song in question, it got me thinking. First thought:  Uh oh, I introduced that song to my young daughters. Second thought: Oh geez... did I feature that in my "Are You A Feminist?" post? Nope, I featured it in "Mind The Gap".

     So I relaxed, and then thought about it for a bit.  Here's what I concluded.



     It's a song.  Written and sung by an extremely talented young woman.  Meghan Trainor has a lot of other songs, and my guess is it won't be long till she's a household name, if she's not already.

     The "dangerous" bit is that the writer feels that Ms. Trainor's song conveys a message to our girls that they need to conform to an ideal body standard set by the boys.



     I understood her point.  However, it is just a song.  Then I thought of gospel music, operas, or good ol' rock 'n roll.  Can't help but wonder what all has been inspired by the power of music.
     I consider myself a feminist.  I have daughters, who I am raising to have a strong sense of self.  To view themselves equal to their male friends.  To know that their body is theirs and that it is theirs to take care of and keep safe.   To own their sexuality.  To take responsibility.  To respect others as well as themselves.   That being said, I wonder:  Will their healthy body image, and my efforts of trying to instill them with self esteem, be strong enough to withstand the roller coaster of adolescence?
      Remember adolescence?  That lovely time when everyday you feel like you are waking up in a different body?  When all of a sudden the moron that dipped your pigtails in the inkwell, is well, kinda cute.  Again; I wonder.
     Adolescence is tough, no question.  Regardless of whether my daughters are straight or gay, won't there be a time coming that they will make efforts to conform, as well to attract the object of their desire?  Even beyond adolescence; does a healthy sense of self, rule out the possibility of heart break?  Sadly, I don't think so.

     Should we put such pressure on music to be responsible or politically correct?  There's no easy answer.
     I really like the music behind Robin Thicke and Pharrel William's "Blurred Lines".  I had heard it several times on the radio and never thought twice about it; humming the rhythm here and there; because other than "Hey hey hey", I could not make out the lyrics.  Like most, I have other things to do.
      Then, I found out the title.  Blehh.  Only recently did I look up the lyrics, and rolled my eyes.  And the video?  WTF?  Still, Mr. Thicke with the "big d..." (yea right) is not the first to have damn offensive lyrics done to a catchy tune.  And while many, (including myself) feel that the video objectifies women, I realize for the women in the video, it was a job.  Their job is modeling; and objectification is pretty much the gist of that profession.  I was curious about the models' thoughts to the press "Blurred Lines" received and found one interview with Emily Ratajkowski.  Note, that it's in Esquire- the men's magazine, if there ever was.
     After reading Ms. Magazine's article, "What Rapists Say Echoes The Lyrics of 'Blurred Lines,'" I couldn't help but think of the song in a different way.  Imagine the hell of being raped; then to hear something like this song, and watch others obliviously groove to it.   Now there's even doubt as to
how much Mr. Thicke wrote according to reports; one an article on Consequence of Sound.  Although I find it a tad suspicious that during the initial release and hype of "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke claimed it as his. NOW, after a failed marriage, bad press, and a court case; NOW it's the creation of "Happy" creator, Pharrel Williams.  Really?  Seems to me Mr. Thicke should find a better scapegoat than Vicadin.  Whatever.  I did get a kick out of the feminist parodies, "Defined Lines" and "Lame Lines", done to it.  This response by Rosalind Peters is great.
     After listening to "Blurred Lines", and all the parodies, many times,  I still like the music.  Thought maybe they could just turned catchy tunes with offensive lyrics into instrumental elevator music.   Then again what's offensive for one, won't be for another.  Maybe if we have kids, we just sit down with the kids for 5 minutes, look up the hot new song's lyrics on AZLyrics and really talk about it.  If the lyrics are really offensive, but you like the music, come up with fun lyrics of your own.  Just a thought.  Deva over at My Life Suckers, does some amazing parodiesCheck them out.  From comments on her site, I learned that "Weird Al" has done a parody to "Blurred Lines", entitled "Word Crimes".  Pretty funny.
     Overall, I think we've ventured too far down the rabbit hole to think that merely just by restricting what music our kids listen to or what shows they watch, we can guarantee they'll be well adjusted and productive members of society.  There's nothing that is going to change the fact that we need to talk to our kids about each and every thing that they encounter, if we want to have one ounce of hope of overriding perceived or real opposing messages from music, TV, Movies, social media, friends, and God knows what else.  Parenting is not the time to be an ostrich.  Blinders off.
     I remember watching The Love Boat, with my mom every week when I was a teen.  Every week she expressed that it wasn't necessarily ideal to sleep with someone after only knowing them for a week- if that.  After hearing this repeatedly, week after week, I smart assedly replied, "Yea, but what a week!"

She was not amused.
Still, the message got through.  Even though she's been gone more than 9 years; she's still the voice in my head; my own Jiminy Cricket.

So keep in tune, and make sure the beat you groove to is yours.
   
Rock on!