Don’t get me wrong, we all have those times when nothing can get us through the day besides blasting whatever the current electric Top 40 pop anthem is at full volume. You listen to a song once and hate it, but then when you hear it in the grocery store, the car, the school halls, i before you know it, you are jamming out and singing the chorus to yourself over and over again.
But hidden within the sugary beats and catchy lyrics of these songs often lie bigger problems. Many of the current popanthems you may be humming around have serious sexist implications you might not have never even noticed.
They were fun while they lasted, but it’s time for us to put these highly addictive yet horribly sexist popanthems to rest once and for all.
Maroon 5’s “Animals”
Former Sexiest Man Alive Adam Levine took it way too far with this one. The Maroon 5 single “Animals” is filled with suggestions of violent sexual assault, harassment, and racy behavior. The very premise of the song revolves around a twisted conception of masculinity, claiming that all men are “animals” (violent and dominant hunters) and that women serve as their “prey” (submissive and helpless). As the chorus condemns:
Baby I’m preying on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals
Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent from miles
Just like animals
It is incredibly hard to deny the dangerous implications this song has. Obsession has been a trend in pop songs for quite some time, but “Animals” crosses the border into serious stalker territory. The music video is a whole other story but in short, stalking is not synonymous with romance, sexual desire is not synonymous with glorified violence, and women are in no way victims for you to “prey” on. As the song goes “You can’t stay away from me,” but we can stay away, and we will. Sorry Maroon 5, but you got it all wrong with this one.
Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love”
It has been said by some that 2014 was the year of Beyonce, as she defied industry standards and emerged as a powerful feminist icon. However, even Queen Bey is not excused from putting out music that promotes sexism and domestic violence. In the smash hit “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z, Jay-Z raps:
I’m Ike Turner, turn up
Baby no I don’t play
Now eat the cake, Anna Mae
I said eat the cake, Anna Mae.
For those who don’t know, that line is referencing a scene in the biopic film What’s Love Got To Do With It, which loosely depicts the notoriously abusive relationship between singer Tina Turner (born as Anna Mae Bullock) and her violent husband Ike Turner. In the scene Ike aggressively forces cake into Anna Mae’s (or Tina’s) mouth against her will. This reference, and the song in general about drunken sexual experiences, has been associated with the glorification of domestic violence by making light of the realities and framing it as somewhat of a joke with a backbeat. Even if Beyoncé and Jay-Z are just messing around, it’s time for us all to sober up and say adios to “Drunk in Love”.
Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle”
“Talk Dirty” singer Jason Derulo is known for using women’s bodies as the hook to his extremely catchy songs. However, “Wiggle” featuring Snoop Dogg takes it to a new level.
As he sings: “If I take pictures while you do your dance/I can make you famous on Instagram”. This song not only erotizes the notion that women are sex objects, but it is teaching young girls everywhere that success is sex and that having a good set of buns is all that matters in life.
Note to men: Please never start a conversation with a girl with, “I got one question. How do you fit all that in them jeans?” instead a nice “How are you?” You know, because women are humans, not objects for your entertainment.
“Rude” is that song that never seemed to go away last summer. If you haven’t heard the tune on repeat, it depicts the story of a young man who asks his girlfriend’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, to which he gets rejected. But nothing stops him as the song goes, “I’m gonna marry her anyway.”
The song could have been written in 1914 instead of 2014. Beyond reflecting outdated and patriarchal cultural marriage norms of a man having to ask a woman’s father for his permission before getting down on one knee, this song also degrades the importance of women’s agency in this decision. I’m sorry, who are you marrying, Magic? The girl, right? Maybe you should ask HER directly about her thoughts on this decision that affects HER just as much as you. The song’s answer: Nah, this is only a man-to-man decision.
These songs may be so catchy but they can go so wrong. We need to finally say goodbye to these four hits once and for all. Next please!