Wednesday, 25 November 2015

"Rape-y" Songs...

So, I was in the car, happily driving to Uni when Chris Brown's latest tune "Back To Sleep" comes on the radio. Cue inspiration for a blog post.

Before I start talking about songs that advocate rape, let me just run some of the lyrics by you. 
The main chorus goes something like this:

"Just let me rock, fuck you back to sleep girl
Don't say a word no, don't you talk
Just hold on tight to me girl"

This is bad enough for me because it implies that women don't need to say a word; because after all, sex is entirely about male pleasure right? 

I really hope you understand sarcasm people, because this post is going to be dripping with it.

But alas, back to the song which actually gets worse if that's even possible:

"I know you're almost half asleep but you know I might need ya
Girl I need ya, oh"

Oh right, sorry Chris, if you need me that's OK then. It doesn't matter that I'm half asleep, of course not, why would it?
I don't know about you, but I always thought it was more fun for both parties when a woman was actually conscious during sex. Maybe that's just me? 

Then it just gets plain stalkerish:

"But if you keep the door unlocked, be ready, oh
I know you got work pretty early, I'll be around by 3:30
Usually you're done by one, so baby when I wake you up..."

Ladies, be warned: Chris knows your entire daily routine so if you leave your door unlocked, be ready... even though you'll most likely be asleep. But fear not, Chris is here to "fuck you back to sleep, ohhh".  

Okay so let's just draw a line under all this sarcasm and get to the point, which is serious I promise.


Sorry before the serious bit, can we all just laugh at Chris Brown's cover photo for the single. Let's just take a moment to crease at his silly pose and jacket. 


So onto that serious note.

The thing is, I just don't understand why music like this is allowed to be produced when the rape references are so explicit. I think part of the problem is that songs are often sold to people by the tune. This is exactly what happened to me with Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' "Blurred Lines". It is undeniable that the tune is catchy. So much so, I found myself singing along to it for days when it was first released; until I saw all the controversy. It's only then, when you break down the song and see the lyrics for what they are, that you realise through music you're advocating an act which is absolutely abhorrent in any other context. 

This story has been covered a lot but to refresh your memory; the chorus of "Blurred Lines" consists of the following lines, repeated over and over again as if to drum in the message:

"I hate these blurred lines 
I know you want it"

Which is later followed by lines like:

"I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two"

So we all know that shit like this is not okay, no matter how catchy the tune.

One of my main worries is for young girls listening to songs like "Blurred Lines" or "Back To Sleep", because songs like this promote a concerning attitude to sexual relationships and the issue of consent. 
The really sinister thing about Chris Brown's song is that the woman in it isn't even conscious. This has horrible connotations of the suffering women endure through date rape drugs; I can't even imagine how it must feel to know you have been sexually assaulted but not remember. So to make a song about half-asleep women being "fucked" is worrying to say the least. 
Songs like "Blurred Lines" trivialise the issue of consent. No means no and there's nothing else to say on that.

People might argue that by discussing Chris Brown and his terrible song that I'm drawing attention to it, promoting it even, but I believe that until we start talking about this issue, nothing will change. Rape isn't going to go away but maybe by discussing it, some of the bad attitudes towards it will. Maybe more women will feel like they will be "believed" when they report a sexual assault. Maybe more women will feel confident enough to recognise what has happened to them was wrong and the perpetrator should be punished for it. 

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that rape is rape; there are no "Blurred Lines". 

So let's start singing about that.