Are women empowered, strong and independent? Is gender equality significantly improved? Are the images of women consistent with respect, equality and empowerment?
The recent release of Maroon 5’s song “Animals” has sparked an outrage on twitter and in the media. If you are the kind of person who listens closely to the lyrics of your favorite tunes—and don’t just stomp your feet to the beat—this is not news to you. Furthermore, if you have seen the video, you know exactly what we mean.
If you haven’t seen it, the Maroon 5 video tells the story of a deranged butcher who stalks a beautiful woman and fantasizes about her in a freezer amidst dead pigs. Oh, and about having sex with her in a cascade of blood. As Katherine Hull Fliflet, Vice President of Communications at RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) put it: “Maroon 5’s video for ‘Animals’ is a dangerous depiction of a stalker’s fantasy”.
Unfortunately, this “stalker’s fantasy” is not the first video where forcing yourself on a woman is encouraged. Remember Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I.’s “Blurred Lines” from last year? It would seem that ever since the 1990’s (I’m thinking “Baby Got Back”) the sexualisation and objectification of women has gone against the stream of improved gender equality. Contrary to the general empowerment of women, music videos, movies and magazine covers only promote a sexy, skinny woman who is pleasing to the eye but whose brain is completely ignored.
It is time that the entertainment industry jumps aboard the equality train and helps keep our young people safe and sane. This constant exposure to barely dressed women and fully dressed men close to their backsides must stop! The fact that these images are now a normal part of your day is desensitizing you, whether you are aware of it or not. What effect do you think that has on young kids?
We all love a great beat, but we can’t condone lyrics and graphics that demean, or worse, encourage sexual violence and abuse of women. Katherine Hull Fliflet hits the nail on the head: “[…] no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance. The trivialization of these serious crimes, like stalking, should have no place in the entertainment industry.”
With less violent and sexualized imagery like this, the following recommendations would not be necessary. But things being as they are, please remember the following safety tips:
- Don’t walk alone at night or in unfamiliar neighborhoods
- Don’t leave your friends at parties
- Do let people know where you are
- Only practice safe, consensual sex
- If something does happen, call the police
- Don’t be afraid to reach out, there is help: 1-800-565-HOPE (National Sexual Assault Hotline) and www.rainn.org