So the other day, my friend’s talking to me about Drake’s new video for Hotline Bling & proceeds to explain to me what the song is about, mentioning that its lyrics depict a girl who has “changed”. In other words, she’s started putting on fewer clothes, going out more, & seeing other guys. Automatically, I notice the sexist connotation right there & I point it out, & my friend carries on to say how “heavy” that behaviour of mine can be.
Oh I’m sorry, is my activism too heavy? Is the fight against social injustice getting in the way of your fun?
Yes, it may seem like an innocent song, but it’s subtler than that. Bear with me as I take you on a little journey here. Picture a girl who has always been called out for her attire. Whether it is her family or her peers, she’s always been told that the way she dresses is either too short or too sexy, all in all inappropriate. Then, someday, she gets raped. Forcefully penetrated.
Yes, I repeated it twice & divided the paragraph in order to create a certain effect.
From this point on, she goes down a road of self-loathing as her self-esteem lowers every day. Soon after, she happens to hear that song, Hotline Bling, & sees everyone jamming to it. Strictly speaking, she witnesses all these people approving of the words she used to hear constantly & therefore breaking her the news of how she’s obviously less of a good person because of her slutty ways. & Then maybe, just maybe, she starts to think it MAY BE her own fault she got raped.
So hey there friend, come back & talk to me when you’ve been through something similar & tell me all about how you wanna have your innocent little good time without my heavy words.
Point is, people shouldn’t wait until they’ve been oppressed themselves to point out something that is wrong. It’s not wrong only because it affects you, it’s wrong because it is unfair in itself. For a woman to be sexual does not make her any less worthy of an individual.
Now that you’ve gotten out of that traumatic experience, I’m not saying Drake is necessarily a problematic artist & that people should stop enjoying his music – that would need way deeper analysis – but it shouldn’t be an issue or a downer when someone notices a puzzling detail & questions it. You can enjoy the radio all while being aware of the impact it may have.
But wait, I’m not done here just yet. Notice how the song calls out a girl for wearing less & sleeping around while the video dives deep on the other end by displaying sensual women? If you’re going to use female sexuality in your work, you might as well celebrate it instead of bringing it down to shame.