Misogyny Goes Pop
Published Feb 01, 2000Eminem's duet with Elton John at the Grammys last March proved two things: 1. That Mr. Mathers is no longer on speaking terms with any semblance of street credibility, and 2. The cooler-than-thou anti-PC trend has now officially hit the wall. The parade of stars and critics who jumped to the defense of America's favourite bleach-top must have overlooked the fact that Eminem's gay-bashing, wife-killing lyrics probably are influencing little kids for the worse. I doubt that Mr. Shady is fiendishly breeding a generation of murderers, but his blatant misogyny and homophobia are making people stupid, whether they're his real feelings or just scripted ranting for his supposed alter-egos. As much as Eminem loves to bash the boy/girl bands, he's dumbing down pop culture right along with them, albeit in so-called credible trousers.
Homophobia still has some ways to go, but misogyny is no longer as deeply rooted in culture, it's now strictly the domain of the old, the under-educated and the too-trendy-to-think-for-themselves (you know, like those jocks who watch South Park but don't get the jokes). Misogyny will always exist to some degree and reflecting it in music is nothing new. From murdered girl folk ballads, to sinister lyrics in garage and glam rock, to the blatant date-rapist posturing of hair metal and rap, we've been on the receiving end forever. I don't claim that all misogynist lyrics are marks of the beast, in fact some of my favourite bands have addressed the issue, but when they're just the lazy ravings of someone who's less intelligent than a tit and they're being consumed en masse, well, it sucks man. And it will persist with the generation growing up to the tune of Eminem and the vastly untalented Limp Bizkit. And, on the more digestible pop front, Shaggy.
By now, we're all fairly desensitized to all-ass hip hop videos and the bitches and hos of gangsta, but Shaggy's holding the reigns on really mainstream misogyny. A friend of mine suggested that this brand of idiocy peaked with "The Thong Song," but Shaggy's ubiquitous "It Wasn't Me" is more suspect (and crap, incidentally), being essentially a dialogue between two raging dimwits about lying to the girlfriend. A sample: "Rik-Rok: but she caught me on the counter / Shaggy: it wasn't me / Rik-Rok: saw me banging on the sofa / Shaggy: it wasn't me / Rik-Rok: I even had her in the shower," etc Shaggy attempts to redeem himself by having the cheater diss his wack advice, but that verse is buried at the end of the song and is soon overshadowed by the more catchy chorus: "honey came in and caught me red-handed creeping with the girl next door," etc At one point the Shag-ster even suggests feigning homosexuality to cover up for cheating, which is both stunningly stupid and highly uncharacteristic of R&B-lite. Then again, this is a man who named himself after a lanky, spineless cartoon character who talks to dogs, so logic doesn't appear to be his forté. Woof.
In the interest of fighting battles in our own backyard, let's dish out some misogynist Can-con. I refer, of course, to former Montreal DJ and current hip-pop artiste, Mr. Ricky J, the man who, in all his infinite wisdom, took a feminist mantra / anti-rape ad campaign and turned it into a pop hit. For the lucky, uninitiated few, here's the hook: "But I really wanna hit it girl / No means no / I just wanna get up in it girl / No means no / I can't believe you never did it girl." Are these perhaps the bewitching whispers of the anti-Christ? If you've caught the video, you'll agree that Ricky's mincing jock jig and unnaturally wide, subhuman face make him possibly the most punchable man in the country. I recently saw a MusiquePlus interview with Mr. J where he described the phrase "no means no" as "a girl anthem to tick their boyfriends off." And you could tell by his dopey, white-hip-hop stance and poor vocabulary that it wasn't a tasteless joke. I surmise that Ricky is the victim of a post-modern lobotomy of sorts, the kind where the parts of your brain that balance good taste with anti-PC skepticism while remaining knowledge of the socio-cultural revolutions of the past 30 years is completely removed.
There's a silver lining for poor Ricky, however, as another lyric in the chorus shows that he's completely at ease with his pre-mature ejaculation problem: "I can do it for a minute girl." You know, most men would eat their own feces before owning up to this affliction to a national audience on their debut single, but Ricky J has shed his macho shroud to stand naked and spent in front of the whole country. Nice one Ricky, now you're really getting in touch with your feminine side!