Sex, Violence and Pop Music
A few months ago, I was sent an article titled The End of the Sexual Revolution, which focused on the death of sexual empowerment via the lyrics in popular music – specifically in songs sung by female performers.
I can’t say that I agree with the author entirely, but the subject matter got me thinking. I lived through the actual sexual revolution in America, a movement that shocked the nation as youth brazenly embraced the liberation of their own bodies. So what does it mean when the lyrics to songs like Rihanna’s “S&M” shock even me?
I admit that I’m not the most familiar with pop music (I often joke that I stopped listening to contemporary music when Beethoven died), but most of what I’ve heard does, as the author says, deal directly in themes of sex and violence. Which begs the question: is this a form of female empowerment, or just another way to sell records? The answer, as I suspected, is not so simple — if one exists at all.
Here to start the conversation is Gillian Rodger, professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at UW-Milwaukee. Today, she helps me delve further into the subject and offers insights into such themes and their potential social implications.
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