It seems that there is a massive contradiction in modern pop culture and society. On one hand, there is an adamant cry against sexism, misogyny, and derogatory comments. But on the other hand, there is obvious and widespread acceptance of such behaviors.
Modern society is a bit of a hypocrite.
During America’s recent Presidential election, a tape was released of now-President Donald Trump saying, in a private conversation ten years prior, some rather inappropriate things about women (regardless of his conversation partner’s encouraging behaviors). When it was released, America went into immediate uproar. However, when we take a step back, and look at the whole of society, we notice that these remarks are not truly out of place. Yes, we can admit that these comments feel out of place in a politician’s mouth, especially one that would go on to be America’s 45th President. However, they are not out of place in society and pop culture as a whole.
Let’s examine one of pop cultures biggest contributors: the music industry. Now, my brothers and I can not tolerate pop music in any capacity. (If you were to ask us our favorite bands and singers, we would probably tell you artists you’ve never heard of.) But we have friends and cousins who listen to pop music regularly. When my brothers and I are forced to listen to it, we are overwhelmed by the themes and the lyrics.
Because I don’t know pop music, I spent the day looking at, and listening to, the songs on Billboard’s Top 100 Songs for the week of April 1st, 2017. To make it easier, I looked at the top 50, and of those 50 songs, 68% are listed as explicit. These songs include the “f” word and it’s variations, the “n” word and other racist names and labels, and the “b” word, and other derogatory names and comments about women- including the word Mr. Trump used in the released video. Multiple songs detail graphic sex, and/or reference sexual actions. And a great multitude of songs present women as sexual and physical objects. If the average teenager listens to modern radio, they are exposed to these themes. For example, the current #3 song is Bad and Boujee, and that’s just a small sample.
I also looked at Billboard’s Top 100 Artists for the week of April 1st, 2017. I again looked at the top 50, and then looked for these performers’ most recent albums. Of these albums, 80% were explicit, or included a “Parental Advisory” tag. For example, one of the biggest albums of 2016 was Beyoncé’s Lemonade, and it includes an advisory warning. If we average the amount of explicit songs together, we can conclude that roughly 70% of all released music is explicit, or offers explicit themes and lyrics. Let me ask you, given the music in modern pop culture, do Mr. Trump’s comments seem so out of place?
It is also worth noting that there were several movies during 2016 that included similar language and themes. For example, Sausage Party and Deadpool received R ratings due to the crude sexual contact and language. These movies were seen all around the world. Also, many prominent celebrities use derogatory language in their everyday language. For example: the Kardashians. Though currently absent from tabloids, their show offers a showcase of their language. This family of celebrities is known around the world, and their behaviors are a representation of America. Also, any reality TV show presents an image just as similar. And need I mention how many musicians dance or act on stage while performing their songs? Other celebrities, such as comedians and touring musicians, repeat this language in their public personas, and are also an extension of America. Let me ask you this, is it too far of a stretch to conclude that celebrities and their behaviors are a bigger representation of a country, than any politician?
Finally, let’s address porn. I have already made my stance clear on this, but most adolescents view porn by the time they are sixteen. (A simple Google search will prove this.). And unfortunately, watching porn is not publicly discouraged. In fact, some celebrities even admit to being former porn stars. Now, without diving into the nitty gritty, we need to acknowledge the titles of porn “films”. Most, if not all, of the titles put the most explicit pop song and R rated movie to shame. They include, at the absolute least, the words uttered by Mr. Trump. And if there were roughly 64 million people viewing porn a day in 2016, those people are all being exposed to words at least as bad as the things Mr. Trump has said. Let me ask you this, if porn is viewed in private and not widely condemned, what makes Donald Trump’s words so out of place?
Let me end how I began. Modern culture is a hypocrite. Pop music includes lyrics and themes that are dubbed “explicit”, and the lyrics depict women in terms worse than the words in the released tape. Popular movies and celebrities are seen around the world, and they perpetuate this “immoral” culture. And the secret addiction of thousands, if not millions of people, around the world further encourage the use of this word and further perpetuate the degradation of women through the titles, let alone the actual films.
I am not trying to condemn one and praise the other. I am simply trying to analyze a culture which is quick to deem a man as “sexist”, “misogynistic”, and “awful to women”, when much of the culture celebrates these labels in other areas. Turn on any porn website or pop song, and you will be hit with these very labels. Observe any celebrity and you will see how they impact the world, and how they represent nation of origin.
Let me ask you this, in a nation that celebrates music with a 70% explicit rate, massively popular sexually crude R rated movies, and an unashamed mindset towards porn, is it so out of place for a politician’s private conversation to contain a word or theme that is mirrored by the culture? Let me ask you think, can we expect a politician to be blameless to the world, when the country he is representing is not? Let me as you this, what needs to change; our pop culture or our politicians? Let me ask you this, are you willing to face this morality problem head on? Or are you more content to fight against the world without first addressing yourself?
Ciao for now,
(P.S. For one of my classes this semester, I am required to conduct a research experiment/study. I am designing my study in the form of a survey. I think it would be really cool to have you guys be a part of my research (but please do not feel obligated!). If you are interested, the only stipulation is that you be an American citizen (sorry, but my topic is relevant to Americans). So, if this is something you are interested in, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the info. Thanks!! )