Friday, November 13, 2015

On Deck and in Check: Conceding Sexuality to Men through Pop Music

So I’ve noticed a trend in popular music over the past few years or so. A trend that may seem like it should be forward movement to a hippy feminist like myself, but definitely isn’t.

You see, women have been able to express themselves through music in a sexual way-finally getting acknowledgement as sexual beings. Well...sort of.

Unfortunately, many times the ways in which the media portrays female sexuality are not true to female sexuality, but how male sexuality wants female sexuality to be. Sound confusing? Let me demonstrate what I mean by cutting straight to some lyrics from songs that are currently playing on top 40 hit stations...  

“Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
Do my hair up real, real nice
And syncopate my skin to your heart beating

'Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh”

“Tell me what you want
What you like
It's okay
I'm a little curious, too
Tell me if it's wrong
If it's right
I don't care
I can keep a secret, can you?”

In lyrics like these women seem to have sex drives as do men, sure. Yet it still isn’t about what the woman wants. Songs like this portray female sexuality...but as male-centric. Let me further demonstrate my point with snippets from a couple of other popular songs:

“Bang bang into the room (I know ya want it)
Bang bang all over you (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)
Bang bang there goes your heart (I know ya want it)
Back, back seat of my car (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)”

Boy, just tell me where you wanna go
I'll sit back, enjoy the ride (oh yeah)
Watch me wrap my body coast to coast
Trace a map of me tonight (oh yeah)

You know the, you know the
Language my body talks
You know what, you know what
I need to give it all
Nailed down to the bed
Now that you got a taste
Baby, don't you know where you should be?

If I was your girl, if I was your girl
I'd give it to you all around the world
If I was your girl, if I was your girl
I'd give it to you all around the world

“Best believe that, when you need that
I'll provide that, you will always have it
I'll be on deck, keep it in check
When you need that, I'ma let you have it."

"So baby when you need that
Gimme the word, I'm no good
I'll be bad for my baby

Make sure that he's getting his share
Make sure that his baby take care
Make sure I'm on my toes, on my knees
Keep him pleased, rub him down
Be a lady and a freak”

I could probably use the entirety of “Hey Mama” towards my argument but I think I’ve shown you enough to make a point. Yes, they are talking about wanting to have sex...but only as a means for pleasing the man.

So let’s just stop for minute. Hold up, pause the madness, halt.

Right now I’m not interested in ranting against these artists or dissecting the societal context of the issue. I just want to possibly mitigate some of the mental and emotional damage this has on young women by making a couple of points. Ladies, please listen:

1) It is okay to acknowledge your sexuality.

Whether or not you believe that sex should be saved for marriage/someone special, you can still acknowledge that women think about it. Talking about sex like it’s this thing that men love and women just concede to is highly contestable to many of us ladies and extremely unhealthy for relationships in general.

You are not a whore when something turns you on, and you are not a sinner for your perfectly natural desire to have satisfying sexual experiences. Sexuality isn’t normal for men and wrong or weird for women. We are all biological creatures with bodies that know they need to reproduce to continue the species.

2) No one is entitled to your sexuality.

Furthermore, a man being a man does not make him the owner of your sexuality.

Actually, let’s just go ahead and end this discussion without focusing on gender roles or stereotypes at all. Let’s talk about people having relationships with other people.

No matter how large your partner’s sexual appetite is, they are not entitled to your body. They do not own your body. No one is entitled to constant sexual satisfaction. Particularly in an actual relationship, sex is both physical and emotional. If one partner is not physically or emotionally at a place to have sex, it isn’t for them to just “get over it” so that the other partner doesn’t have to suffer a night without.

I’m not saying that you should disregard your partner’s physical needs. But you have physical needs as well, which are often tied to emotional needs. Maybe your physical needs include a certain amount of space or nights in which you just go to bed holding each other. They’re still valid.

In summary, what I hope you take away from this post is this: the sexual aspect of any relationship should be a consensual compromise that acknowledges the wants and needs of both individuals. Never one person staying “on deck” or "in check" for the other.