Monday, September 02, 2013

Talking to your sons about Popular Music. Also the Rock. And the Roll.

 Even though he’s come out and defended his song, going so far as to call it a “feminist movement,” it’s pretty plain to see that’s far from the case. - From Robin Thicke: Unteaching Misogyny: How to Talk to Your Boys About Robin Thicke

Thanks to the recent "hit of the summer" Blurred Lines, many concerned parents have been understandably shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that subjects including but not limited to SEX, MEN WANTING SEX, MEN FINDING WOMEN ATTRACTIVE and even WOMEN ALSO WANTING SEX have infiltrated the heretofore safe haven of popular music.  While adults have been safely hiding from popular music by loading up their IPods with Yanni, ambient ocean noises and educational recorded books, a moments' listen to any popular radio station reveals a horrifying landscape: men and women singing about sex, sometimes together on the same song!  Menacing Frenchmen in motorcycle helmets demanding we all "Get Lucky"!  Women inviting men to "admire their humps" and "taste their jelly" which I understand from context apparently have nothing to do with the young ladies landscaping or canning skills! 

While it's clear that it may be too late to do anything to keep these dangerous sex positive messages out of popular music, it is time parents realized they must step up and speak to their children, particularly their sons, about the dangerous and confusing messages in the music they enjoy.  It's never too late to help your son understand that despite what music may be telling him, there's no such thing as a healthy and positive appreciation of sex reflecting the equal and mutual enjoyment of both parties, no matter how good the dance beat is.    

While it may seem daunting, with some practice, scheduling 5 to 10 minute discussion and question and answer periods after every song your child hears will soon become routine, and you will be confident in knowing that your sons are no longer being misled by the evils lurking in popular music.  To help you get started, I am offering some "practice conversations". Don't be daunted if your child gets upset, uncomfortable or starts to cry.  It's a dangerous world, and they must be prepared!  

BLURRED LINES by Robin Thicke

Sample Lyrics: 
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you 
But you're an animal, baby it's in your nature 
Just let me liberate you Hey, hey, hey 
You don't need no papers Hey, hey, hey 
That man is not your maker Hey, hey, hey

Practice Conversation: 
Son, when you are older you might be out in a club or at a party and you will see a young lady that you find attractive but who is dancing with someone else.  You might think you would like to buy her a sarsaparilla or maybe even dance with her yourself, but you must never ask a girl who is with another guy to dance with you.  After all, if a man rustles another man's cattle, he can get shot.  That is the law of the West.  

Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO 

Sample Lyrics: 
Step up fast and be the first girl to make me throw this cash
We gettin' money, don't be mad now, stop, hatin' is bad
One more shot for us, another round
Please fill up my cup, don't mess around
We just wanna see you shake it now
Now you wanna be, you're naked now

Practice Conversation: Son, as the great philosopher Chris Rock said never eat from the buffet at the strip club.  Also, don't touch the girls.  You could get shot. This too is the law of the West.  

F*ck You by CeeLo Green 

Sample Lyrics:

Yeah i'm sorry, i can't afford a Ferrari,
But that don't mean i can't get you there.
I guess he's an xbox and i'm more atari,
But the way you play your game ain't fair.
I pity the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
(just thought you should know nigga)

Practice Conversation: 

Son, you should never define yourself by how much money you have in the bank. If a girl is only impressed by material things, she's not worth it.  Or, you could get a good job, buy a nice car and never go without a date a day in your life, much like Cee-Lo Green. It's your choice. 

Hey Ya by Outkast 

Sample Lyrics: 
Hey... ya. (OH OH)
Hey ya. (OH OH)
Hey... ya. (Don't want to meet your daddy, OH OH)
Hey ya. (Just want you in my Caddy OH OH)
Hey... ya. (OH OH, don't want to meet yo' mama OH OH)
Hey ya. (Just want to make you comma OH OH)
Hey... ya. (I'm, OH OH I'm, OH OH)
Hey ya. (I'm just being honest OH OH, I'm just being honest)

Practice Conversation: 
Son, No matter what Outkast might say, it is NEVER ok to just let a lady ride around in your car without asking her father's permission first.  If you are nervous about what her father might say, first invite him out to look at your car.  Men like cars.  After her father has admired your car, offer to take him for a ride in it and when he accepts, politely suggest that his daughter accompany you also.  Then you can all go for a sarsaparilla.    

Also, despite what Outkast says, Mothers always like to have good conversations about grammar and punctuation.  Don't take a girl out to discuss commas or parenthesis in your car without discussing it with her mother first.  Her mother should have no objection, and might even ask to join you!  

And finally, there may come a day when you are tempted to purchase some high-water plaid harem pants.  I speak from experience when I tell you that a man must know his limitations.  We can't all be Andre 3000 son. 

Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot 

Sample Lyrics: 
Give me a sister, I can't resist her
Red beans and rice didn't miss her
Some knucklehead tried to dis
'Cause his girls are on my list
He had game but he chose to hit 'em
And I pull up quick to get wit 'em
So ladies, if the butt is round,
And you want a triple X throw down,
Dial 1-900-MIXALOT
And kick them nasty thoughts
Baby got back!

Practice Conversation: 

I admit son, this is a difficult conversation. Normally I'd wait until one of us had a Masters Degree in Race & Gender Studies to discuss this one, but your Mom says I can't wait 15 years to see what your college major is before addressing this issue.  Um, so, there's this thing called "The Male Gaze" and, uh, it's REAL ok, even if you don't really understand it.  Your male eyes have power to, uh, make women feel not good about themselves. It's like Superman's X-ray vision! But bad. So, always wear sunglasses for one thing because God knows you don't want to be accidentally Male Gazing all over the place.  

It's also not ok to complement women about their bodies, ok, because that suggests that the only thing good about them is their bodies.  You can complement them about, you know, I don't know, other things, but never how they look because that is sexist and oppressive.  

Unless, and this is where it gets really confusing son and I don't know why your Mom wouldn't discuss this with you but she says it's a Dad's job, so I'm doing my best here ok? So unless what you are complementing her about is her very large and shapely behind.  That is not oppressive, it's empowering, see?  And if you politely complement a woman on her delightful booty, you will be a feminist hero.  So, complements about her body, especially her, uh, you know, chest area? TERRIBLE! DON'T DO IT! YOU WILL GET PUNCHED IN THE EYE WHICH WILL HURT BECAUSE OF THE SUNGLASSES!  But, complements about her healthy, bouncing rear end? Empowering Feminist Hero.  

Honkey Tonk Woman by The Rolling Stones

Sample Lyrics: 

I met a gin soaked, bar-room queen in memphis,
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride.
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind.

Its the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues.

I laid a divorcee in new york city,
I had to put up some kind of a fight.
The lady then she covered me with roses,
She blew my nose and then she blew my mind.

Practice Conversation: 

Ok, son, there may come a day when... What I mean is you might meet a young lady some day who... Well, drugs are not... And drinking... Drugs and drinking... What I mean is... Oh fuck it. You're not old enough to listen to this song.

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