Taking Back the Music

You’re dancing away to your favorite song, enjoying the beat, and not necessarily noticing the words that are being used. But wait a second — what are all those icky things that male singers are saying about women? Why all this talk of bitches, strippers, and hos? All this sexism and degradation of girls and women is enough to make a lady lose her cool on the dance floor.

So this week, the girls at Teen Voices worked with program director Saun Green to analyze the words they hear when they hit “play” on the iPod. The girls put together a list of their 50 favorite performers. Then they crossed off all the people who degraded women in their songs. And you know what? There were only four names left on the list.

It made us all wonder — is it really that difficult for the multibillion-dollar music industry to sell songs that don’t degrade women and treat them like sex objects? Apparently the music industry needs teen girls to show them how it’s done! So the girls rewrote some lyrics to popular songs, replacing the sexism with words that empower women – and then they put on a Friday afternoon concert.

One group called themselves WomanNation, and they redid the lyrics to T-Pain’s hit song Can’t Believe It. In the original, T-Pain sings about a stripper and the places he’s going to “put” her with all his money. WomanNation responded with their own lyrics:

Boy, you don’t amaze me
Just get up off me
I’m my own woman
Nope you can’t flaunt, take, and toss me

Another group of girls took the stage to sing their version of Kid Cudi’s Day and Night, using lyrics that reminded girls not to let guys take advantage of their bodies:

Don’t be pressured
It’s not wrong to tell them no, no
And if he wants to leave then let him go
Got to tell them we ain’t an easy ho, ho

The next two groups re-worked Ron Browz’s song Pop Champagne, which objectifies and demeans women with the best of them! The Teen Voices girls developed two great alternatives to the original lyrics. The Pink Ladies danced up a storm as they sang:

I’m young and I’m cute, second best to none
And if you’re worthy, I’ll be your sunshine.
Sometimes I’ll let you call me yours
But wait — I’m not a toy!

The 21st Century Ladies had their say next, singing to girls:

Ladies everywhere, won’t you throw your hands up
If the way boys treatin’ you has you fed up?
Actin’ like we’re their cooks, their mothers, and their maids
Expecting us to freeze frame when they wanna get laid
Men can act stupid and they can act perverse
Cuz before you know it we’re gonna take over the universe!

Operation Take Back the Music was a success! Know any other songs with lyrics that degrade women? Write your own lyrics and send them to us. We’ll post our favorites right here on our blog. It’s time for YOU to take back the music!

6 responses to “Taking Back the Music

  1. This is AWESOME!

  2. missincognegro

    Such an empowering project for girls!

    Perhaps they can send their work to the major record companies, maybe even get an audience with a producer? This has the seeds of further activism waiting to emerge.

  3. Hey ladies, I liked your videos. I’m a journalist in Toronto, let me know if I can ever help you out. Here’s a post that was inspired by this project of yours.

    http://balkissoon.com/site/?p=402

    xo,
    denise

  4. I love your blog. Such powerful subjects you talk about… Thanks for writing.
    I have a blog too. I do book reviews. Check it out:

    http://inkspotsez.wordpress.com/

  5. This is an absolutely fantastic idea! It’d be great to see this spread to other cities; I worry often about the effect of today’s misogynistic lyrics on young girls, and this activity is very empowering for them!

  6. Awesome! Now check out our music as we are addressing similar things!!! http://Www.sonicbids.com/thecipher and our mentors http://www.sonicbids.com/publicoffenders who REALLY address the issues!!

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