If you’ve not heard it yet, now is the time…

Some may consider her beliefs extreme; whilst others may hands-down agree. But what cannot be denied is her courage and her ability to express her strong-mind in the face of contemporary culture. Muslim poet, Madiha Bhatti, reveals her utter distaste for the so often occurring objectifying lyrics found in today’s most popular music in her YouTube spoken word video, Mu(sick). Rather than just switching off the radio, Madiha responds to music that makes her feel ‘so small’. She points out that these apparently harmless lyrics that are blasted out from our speakers on a daily basis are ‘polluting the minds of our men and our boys’- extreme? Maybe not. What may seem like catchy, sexy or even funny lyrics could be potentially transforming the way younger generations may perceive gender roles, of how men and women are expected to behave.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person in a club to shake what God gave me at the sound of Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’, but I can’t help but feel that Madiha may have a point when she raises the issue of ‘slut-shaming’ that is aimed towards women. ‘Bitch’, ‘hoe’, ‘slut’, ‘slag’- I don’t necessarily believe popular music culture is solely responsible for the frequency in which these names are thrown around, but I think it certainly doesn’t help. If we allow kids to hear that Jay-Z’s got ’99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one‘, does that then make it okay to refer to your girlfriend as a ‘bitch’? I tell you now, I wouldn’t be happy!

What’s interesting to bear in mind is that these objectifying names for women are nearly always accepted in a song, as Madiha points out: ‘I really had to strain to hear, the words came fast and then disappeared / They were drowned out by good music, I’m not gonna lie / Cause’ good beats are the noise behind which good singers hide.‘  But outside of the music world, these names – if said aggressively – can be extremely offensive. However, many of us ladies can’t deny that we sing along to these songs, and genuinely enjoy them at times! But what’s important to remember is that when these singers write those songs they are also delivering a persona or a character, which in many ways makes it acceptable to sing lyrics like ‘slap that ass’.

But what should never be forgotten is the importance of separating those ‘dirty’ lyrics from reality. If a random guy in a club called me a ‘hoe’ and told me to ‘drop that‘ don’t be surprised if I kick him where it hurts. Just sayin’.

Check out the video and tell us what you think in the comment box below. We would love to hear your thoughts!


Victoria Cox


Image: Madiha Bhatti