Degrading songs hurt women

Elizabeth Ramirez

When we hear a Pitbull, Snoop Dogg or Kanye West song blasting on the radio, we might think of them as musicians with ground-breaking music. These artists have songs everyone can dance to until they have blisters on their feet. However, some might just hear the beat of the song but without listening to the lyrics.

These three artists and many others have made huge hits, even ranking No.1 on the Billboard chart. But what these artists do not realize is how their lyrics paint a negative picture about women in American society. The lyrics portray women as objects of manipulation by men.

Snopp Dogg shows this in his song “Ain’t no Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None).” In the second verse rapped by rapper Kurupt, it states once he had sex with a woman he would pass her to another man so he can do the same because the woman is “nuthin but a b—- to me”. The lyrics connotes that a woman only serves as someone to have sex with, but not someone to have a relationship with.

This type of lyrics can influence society into thinking a woman is something to be played with. They give the notion that a woman would not care if she was passed along from one man to the next. It gives the green light to whoever is listening to the lyrics to do the same

According to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, the Rand Corporation released a study in August 2006 which shows “that the more often teens listen to sexually degrading songs – marked by obscenities and stereotypes of women as sex objects and men as sexual predators – the likelier they are to have sex at an early age.”

This study clearly shows the negative effect degrading songs about women can have on teens. Lyrics degrading women can be seen by many as misogynistic. It invites hatred or dislike of women by men. Certain lyrics sway society to hear something about a woman that is not necessarily true.

If we examine Pitbull’s song “Hey Baby (Drop to the Floor)” and Kanye West’s tentative title song “My Perfect B—-” about his girlfriend Kim Kardashian, we can see how the songs speak about a woman’s appearance, but not her intelligence.

Pitbull’s song highlights a specific part of a woman’s body, the butt, and how it should be “pumped.” Now, West defines the word b—- as a term of endearment while others define the word as a negative term towards a woman. Both assertions degrade a woman because they take a specific part of a woman’s body or a term and make them sound disrespectful.

Women’s studies professor Vicki Hall said lyrics have a double entendre weaved in them. She said while for a man the lyrics to a song about subjugating a woman are about his rough upbringing, to a woman it means disrespect.

“It’s pretty pathetic how we have accepted this (disrespecting women through lyrics),” Hall said.

There needs to be some regulation when it comes to lyrics. There’s no need to disrespect an individual or even place profanity in a song. Both might not even make a difference to the songs overall meaning. For instance, iTunes sells explicit albums and songs, but it would be nice to hear a song from a rapper clean of profanity. There are “cleaned” versions of explicit songs, but sometimes aren’t available. Of course, in the U.S we have freedom of speech, but the lyrics to a song still incite violence from a man to a woman.

Artist should be conscious of the types of messages they put on their lyrics and the effect they will have.


Elizabeth can be reached at: [email protected]