The lyrics to many pop songs in the 21st century are becoming extremely lewd. Since the 1960s, there have been a certain amount of sexualised lyrics, such as the lyrics to Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ in 1986, but they were fairly subtle in those days and young children would not really understand the meaning. Cut to the 21st century, and young children are being exposed to not only overly sexual lyrics, but also raunchy videos that even most adults find uncomfortable viewing. Many pop songs of the 21st century are not only overly sexual, they also include lyrics that are disrespectful towards women, and often border on being predatory.
If young girls do not feel safe going to school, and have taken to wearing shorts under their skirts, then they are being failed by society. Do we not have a responsibility to keep our daughters safe, in a society where sleeping with someone is treated in such a blasé fashion? Young boys are growing up listening to sleazy lyrics where male pop stars talk about wanting women to ‘wiggle that butt’ or perform some sexual act on them. As an adult female, I find these lyrics offensive to women and disrespectful, but the pop industry is normalising such behaviour because there doesn’t seem to be adequate censorship.
It is a difficult question that relates to who is responsible and who needs to take responsibility. Artistic licence is all well and good but when overly-sexualised lyrics and videos impact on society, shouldn’t someone take a closer look at both factors and decide whether it is appropriate. Television and music are such important facets within culture that they should be monitored more closely in order that those wanting to express their own indecency aren’t given a platform. I personally don’t want to know the ins and outs of some filthy guy’s mind, and a lot of pop song lyrics performed by men are quite frankly disgusting. Why should those wanting to live decent happy lives have to listen to some guy’s sexual notions and preferences? It’s just not right. Keep that stuff private.
There’s a difference between being free to express yourself, including ideas about sexuality, if done in a decent way, but lyrics that are predatory towards women, or make young girls feel unsafe at school, really need to be questioned.
Young girls should be able to go to school, and do whatever else they want to do feeling safe. The musicians themselves are also responsible, and obviously many of them do it in order to be outrageous or gain fans from being rude, but it’s a bit pathetic if you ask me, and kind of distracts from those who actually have real musical talent.
Until these pop musicians are motivated by ethics and talent rather than money then I suppose not much will change, but they do have a responsibility to keep young children, and especially young girls, safe in an ever-increasingly sexualised society.