Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Songs for Slaves and Sadists--Music's Backlash Against Women

“And baby, when it’s love, if it’s not rough it isn’t fun.”  Immortal words of Lady Gaga in her hit “Poker Face”.  “Sticks and stones may break  my bones,  but chains and whips  excite me,”  deadpans  Rihanna in her 2011 hit “S&M”; nonetheless  she didn’t like it when boyfriend Chris Brown performed S &M on her face,  viciously  biting her nose and lips.  Does she even get the irony of her choice of subject matter?  Especially as she released this song praising abuse  months after she was attacked by her boyfriend.  Getting on the victim bandwagon,  Katy Perry croons  this year in  another smash hit “ET”:  “Wanna be  your victim… Infect me with you love/ and fill me with you poison.”  In the rap soundtrack by Kayne West that is often added to the song, it only gets worse as he sings of doing whatever he commands her to do  and her  total submission. Wow. With boyfriends like these, girls don’t need enemies, and with role models like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Katie, girls already have a recipe for failure. 
Yet each one of these very young women would adamantly insist that they’re feminists, that they’re “strong” liberated women who  know their rights and don’t let anyone boss them around.  If that’s true, why are they glamourizing twisted submission for other young women?  Glamourizing  either rough sex  or   S &M, in which women always are   physically injured –sometimes seriously--and always humiliated, is not the path to female liberation.   No matter how popular inflicting pain may be becoming in the US—whether during sex or in daily life--- the mental health profession still lists sadism and masochism as neuroses in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM.   Pain is simply not the path to anyone’s liberation, because humiliating someone else for fun, especially in the act of sex, is savage, puerile, and unacceptable--whether you’re humiliating a man or woman.  And  for someone to enjoy being humiliated means that person has already been damaged and needs help.
This  glorification of victimhood in pop culture is just the tip of the looming iceberg,  proving  that there is still an ever growing  backlash against women’s rights and their very humanity—as  renowned feminist Susan Faludi, author of “Backlash”,  noted years ago.   Sadly, now  the backlash is being perpetrated by as many women as  by men.   If we , as women, can’t count on each other,  who can we count on?  Now even  very little girls have  sexual  perversion  and stereotyping to fight, even coming from their parents,  thanks to the popularity of hooker costumes and pancake make-up  in toddler beauty pageants.   Gaga, Perry, Rihanna, and other female celebrities  may be self-deluded into  thinking  that they are liberated, but they are only just victims of Stockholm Syndrome—having  been brainwashed  by male dominance to believe  sexual  submission and  masochistic perversion are  signs of freedom  and liberation.   But in fact they’re only signs of degradation  and emotional , even physical captivity.  And if celebrities don’t truly subscribe to these abuses, it is an even greater crime for them to so callously sell them to us,  infecting us with their poison, as Perry so eloquently puts it. 


  1. Thanks for highlighting this Catharine, I had no idea at all. Is this any way that this blog can be broadcast to a wider audience as yr message is one that needs to be read. I am Avery alarmed indeed

  2. Hi Susan,

    Well, I am trying to get this published in some "thinking" women's magazines. Glad it resonates with you! A lot of the older people are unfortunately not aware of the messages in the media aimed at young women right now, but it is more subversive than ever before. It truly is a backlash, the pendulum swinging in reverse!

  3. Hi Catharine,
    This article has opened my eyes to things that are going on in the Northern Hemisphere that I thought was only a problem here in Europe. It is disturbing because good healthy role models are being put aside for unhealthy role models that come out of the music and movie fields. Not that all people who are into music or acting on television and movies are bad, but many of them have no morals whatsoever and that is sickening.
    Even more disturbing are parents who push their children into beauty paegents to gratify one of their own childhood dreams. They rob their children of their future.
    Thank you for an informative article that gave me great insight into something that is happening in the U.S. of which I had really no knowledge that it had grown in popularity so much.

  4. You're very welcome, Patricia! Glad it resonated with you. This is a big problem around the world, not just Europe.


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