The Art of Misogyny

Well as usual the blogs have managed to get me in a debate although this person and I are friends already so I doubt it will have the same outcome. The original blog written was an introduction to a movement some women at Spellman had started because they didn’t want Nelly performing at an on campus event due to the degrading content towards women in his songs. Yje following is the sequence of responses between the blog’s author and I.

Me:
I remember when I was younger before I understood the way the world works (as if I do now…) I wondered how girls could like/support songs where they were referred to as bitches, etc. I’m not sure what conclusion I came to, but I think it was along the lines of it doesn’t really matter. Now seeing it here I try to put myself in the shoes of the woman again. The closest way I could think of is to have someone saying something degrading about black people in a popular song. While it might bother some black people if it happened I realized the reason this doesn’t happen anymore is because the masses of white people don’t want to be outwardly racist, or don’t want to believe that they are racist. I say that to demonstrate that the reason these songs ARE popular is because it IS ok to be misogynistic…But it is NOT ok to be misogynistic because the songs are popular. It’s like when television gets blamed for real life violence when actually the converse of it is true. People can say all they want that the images on TV or in songs are contributing to the deterioration of society but the fact is society has always been both violent and misogynistic and people will learn these traits from their socialization regardless of the medium. So the question is what do these women really want? Gender sensitive song lyrics, or social change? If they want social change then they need to start some day care centers, or good parenting workshops because changing all the song lyrics in the world wouldn’t change the way men and women lack respect for women. That being said I guess it is also reasonable to assume their goal is not social change and they really just don’t want to listen to songs degrading women in which case more power to them.

Michelle:
And in WHOSE world is it okay to be mysogonistic? Most men know that the majority of females wouldn’t be won using the same attitude that artist demonstrate in their lyrics…which is why they wanna play that Luther when they are trying to ROMANCE yo ass and that Too Short when they are trying to impress their boys
But seriously…perhaps when it comes to the young ones not being shown functional relationships at home and soaking up these lyrics it is acceptable or “ok” to be mysogonistic (part of my enthusiasm for this movement, actually)…but as for the rest of us grown folks with some sense….I think you know better.
As for those of us without sense…well, we’re workin on them…both on AND off the dance floor, thank you very much.

I’m not sure why you think this is a reasonable OR safe assumption….
Why in the BLUE HELL would a bunch of women who are gonna let some man disrespect them in deed or words in person go so far as to stop dancing at the club when the music that does the same comes on? That would make NO SENSE hon…NONE….but if that’s what you want to assume…then suit yourself…you know what they say about assumptions though……

THAT being said, I also don’t see how women showing through action that the lyrics that demonstrate the behavior (mysogony) aren’t acceptable can be classified as not doing anything to change the social behavior. We all know the power of music…people dance to it and take it in stride because they think its okay. Women not dancing to it, or better yet, women and men who want the social change that IS taking place slowly but surely to be reflected in the music, I would think, are also letting people know that the behavior itself is unacceptable…or at least that’s the change I see happening. I mean, what do you think will happen when the mass of people leaves the dance floor…you don’t think that anyone will ask why? You don’t think this will begin the conversation that needs to occur within the community? You don’t think that conversation would provoke any change in behavior in the people whose eyes could/will be opened by it?
For example, why wouldn’t the lady who stopped dancing (or witnessed a group of women stop dancing and upon further reflection come to the conclusion that she agrees) be the same one who said “don’t call me that” when a man she knows says the word “bitch” to her? I don’t get why you think the two issues/situations wouldn’t go hand in hand.

Me:
I’ll address these points as you mentioned them in your response.

“And in WHOSE world is it okay to be mysogonistic? Most men know that the majority of females wouldn’t be won using the same attitude that artist demonstrate in their lyrics…”

Sadly, precious, it’s ok to be that way in the world we both live in. I’m not sure what impression you’ve gotten from the women you’re sharing the world with but I believe you may be projecting your own standards and ideals onto other women. But the majority of women are more interested in status and security than they are flowers and candy. One would have to be pretty naïve to think that the best way to get with a woman is being nice to her. Nice guys finish last is not just a cliché. I mean, honestly if you put Jay-Z in a room, a man who has referred to women as bitches (although sometimes with the disclaimer he is not referencing all women) has had them in his videos wearing bikinis about 20 times more often than he’s had them speaking, Whose made songs about his inability at fidelity, and who definitely isn’t in any woman’s top ten because of his physical appearance but who “Last year grossed 38 mil” and who we see on TV or radio 10 times a day minimum they would instantaneously choose him over a man with a stable but not exorbitant income as an obscure teacher even if he was more attractive and had a reputation as being a sweet guy. And to be honest I don’t think most people would agree, but I believe the comparison still works on a level where the men are more similarly comparable economically and statuswise if the difference between them is that one man is a “Nice guy” and the other guy is an asshole.

“Why in the BLUE HELL would a bunch of women who are gonna let some man disrespect them in deed or words in person go so far as to stop dancing at the club when the music that does the same comes on?”

I’m not sure you understood what I was trying to say here. I never suggested that these women are being degraded. I was speaking of the women that are starting the movement. And I was saying it’s reasonable to assume that they aren’t concerned about social change and just want quality music on the radio. If there were music where it became ok for white people to say nigger in their songs I would surely not support the music but I know there are white people still using the word and I’m not out sitting in on restaurants. I don’t concern myself with the misunderstandings of ignorant people I just keep them out of my world. So I was saying maybe that’s what these women want, but I wasn’t at all suggesting that they are being degraded, especially since I don’t know any of them.

“I also don’t see how women showing through action that the lyrics that demonstrate the behavior (mysogony) aren’t acceptable can be classified as not doing anything to change the social behavior…I mean, what do you think will happen when the mass of people leaves the dance floor…you don’t think that anyone will ask why?”

I didn’t say that these women weren’t doing anything to change social behavior. I said that if that is their goal they’re going about it the wrong way. There are way more effective ways to bring about a social change. Because, actually, I don’t believe that it would be enough to eliminate misogyny from our music. Like I said in the first response it was here long before there was music or television. It’s the way we raise our children. I mean the basic fundamentals of most religion teach women to be subservient to men, which, I understand is not the same, but I submit contributes more to a woman feeling her role is inferior to a man’s than the afore mentioned Jay-Z rap song. Do you think that something a man or woman hears in a rap song at 15 is going to affect them more than something their parents have taught to them since they were 3 or 4?

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2 responses to “The Art of Misogyny

  1. Oh my. The matter of fact way you deduce that women don’t want social change is alarming—mainly because of it off-the-cuff nonchalance. Obviously misogyny has been a factor in our country—our world—for centuries. So has racism (to use your analogy). And surely you can’t stop either, but do you think early civil rights activists said, “Oh well, I just won’t associate with those ignorant people. We can’t change that. It’s all about what we teach our children”? I’m not saying the message parents send to their kids doesn’t play a huge role in what sticks to them for the rest of their lives, but civil rights leaders, for example, recognize that if you change the environment—legally or socially—it begins to change the minds of the people, or a good majority of the people. And then they recognize that their “norm” is not correct, not acceptable. I can’t say that the misogyny in rap lyrics or videos is the reason African American women and men feel okay to degrade themselves, but I can say it seems the level of this message in hip hop has tipped the scales. And it isn’t edifying. It’s flooding the minds of with these images, and whether you want to believe it or not, the music, television, and art you expose yourself to doesn’t just enter your ears and eyes and leave. It stays with you. You absorb it. Also, I’m not sure what Bible you’ve been reading—and I can’t speak for other religions—but Ephesians 5 in my bible (I have the King James version) teaches submission of both the woman to the man and the man to the woman. They no longer belong to themselves but to each other. Nothing there about women being stupid hos, bitches, inferior monkeys… I wonder why you chose, in showing an example of it being OK to be a misogynist, to single out a woman or women who are concerned with status and not being treated properly—and projected it as the norm. You could have chosen an example of, say, one of the women from Spellman or any other woman who values the mind and consideration of secure men who take responsibility on every day. You could have done that but you portrayed the other world as the one we live in and said the woman you were writing to just “had to be mistaken,” that she was projecting her ideals onto other women. Perhaps, since this seems to be a recurring theme in your blogs—the hopelessness of love and the untrustworthiness of women (no disrespect intended)—it is you who is projecting your low expectations of women onto the rest of us?

  2. I somewhat agree with your first couple of statements. But I don’t think you fully understand me. I wasn’t saying that what they were doing wouldn’t work. I was saying it’s a good practice but not the solution. It’s like painting a house with a bad foundation. You have to find the root of the problem and fix it otherwise you’ll constantly be fixing the same problem. And it’s not that it won’t be an effective way of change to change environment but it’s only going to win you a few small battles and not the war. As for the bible I can’t quote any scriptures but to pull out one passage does not a religous doctrine make. Any religion that is using that scripture is also using whatever scripture tells a woman to OBEY her husband which is mentioned in all Christian weddings, which since we’re talking about Black Americans here Christians and Muslims are the majority of the people we’re reffering to. And Muslims also have very strict principles their women are supposed to adhere to which are in submission to the man. No disrespect taken by the way. I’m rarely offended by opinions. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. And it would be a fair assumption based on my previous blogs that I don’t have too much faith in the female gender. That being said I think this is a difference of opinion we’re not really going to see eye to eye on. Apparently you don’t feel as if the majority of females in the world (and maybe a part of the disagreement is that I’m talking about dating women and you might be including women who are married already, which I feel like don’t count in any argument I make in reference to what men do to try to get with women because these men aren’t doing any of these things to try to get with married women) are concerned about status but I feel like they are. It’s not an embittered statement, I don’t feel like I’m being treated unfairly or anything. My observations are made objectively and from a wide range of sources. I’ve studied the dynamics of male/female relationships from all different kinds of perspectives and there are certain things that just more often than not hold true. So even though I could have chosen the women from Spellman to represent the whole of women, I honestly believe there are a lot less women like her and a lot more like the ones I talk about. But I’m not trying to project anything on to any readers of my blog. I certainly wouldn’t make a claim to understand your desires and preferences in a relationship. I’m just speaking in a general sense based on what I see. And as a man who has more incentive (than you would) in understanding what a woman wants from a man, and my 20 or so years of research into the subject I gotta feel like I’m pretty on target.

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