Saturday, April 28, 2012

Misandry Part 1: Violence towards men in popular music.

Misandry: The hatred of men.

Most don't even know the word. Feminism has seeped so deep into our culture that blatant violence against men is accepted in popular culture. We can see this in film, advertisement, and music.

In this post we will examine the latter and bring some meaning to a few songs you may have heard in the past. Male bashing is common in music. But it is most common primarily in the country genre, as you will find out below.

Have you ever heard the hit song "Gunpowder and Lead" by Miranda Lambert?

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

It's half past ten, another six pack in
And I can feel the rumble like a cold black wind
He pulls in the drive, the gravel flies
He don't know what's waiting here this time

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

His fist is big but my gun's bigger
He'll find out when I pull the trigger

Could you imagine if the tables were turned and a disgruntled man decided to blow away his ex-girlfriend with a shotgun? An innocent song perhaps. But it paints a bigger picture of society, in what is acceptable and what is not. On we go...

Carrie Underwood advocates more violence against men's property in her top hit "Before He Cheats".

Right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleached-blond tramp,
and she's probably getting frisky...
right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink
'cause she can't shoot whiskey...

Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool-stick,
showing her how to shoot a combo...

And he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side of his
pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats...
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

 Again, flip it around and what do you have? A national outrage from feminist groups against oppressive and misogynistic men who are degrading women. But it is never even thought of when the violence is directed at men. In fact, most people don't even give it a second thought.

Rihanna also continues this theme with her 2010 hit "Man Down" which depicts a woman shooting her male abuser in public.

Oh mama mama mama
I just shot a man down
In central station
In front of a big ol' crowd
Oh Why Oh Why
Oh mama mama mama
I just shot a man down
In central station

It's a 22
I Call her Peggy Sue
When she fits right down in my shoes
What do you expect me to do
If you're playing me for a fool
I will lose my cool
And reach for my fire arm

I didn't mean to lay him down
But it's too late to turn back now
Don't know what I was thinking
Now he's no longer living
So I'm bout to leave town

I would like to see what would happen if Toby Keith sang a song about shooting a woman to death in a train station.

In Taylor Swift's "Picture to Burn" we have the all too common theme. The evil male has broken the innocent  female's heart and now she wants revenge. Notice how in all these songs, the woman is burning with hate for the man and desires violent revenge? Very telling. In picture to burn Taylor Swift sings along while imagining violent intruders breaking into her ex-boyfriend's house and destroying all of his property in the most cruelly premeditated way.

In Kellie Pickler's "Best Days of Your Life", Pickler sings about how her cheating ex-boyfriend will never forget her. Then the music video really gets good. After his new girlfriend tells him she's pregnant, he runs across the street where Kellie Pickler and, of all people, Taylor Swift are walking on the sidewalk and pleads "I'm sorry." Not a second later the man gets hit by a bus for comedic effect while Pickler and Swift give a humorous wince, as if he just stubbed his toe instead of getting hit by a bus. Could you imagine a music video depicting a girl getting smashed by a bus?

In the Dixie Chicks hit, "Goodbye Earl" guessed it...a woman is wronged by yet another pig/man and she enacts righteous revenge for her suffering. This music video takes the double standard to an entirely new level. Earl is an abusive husband (as all husbands are). So the wife and her friends hatch a plan to murder him by poisoning his black eyed peas. Earl keels over and dies much to the jubilation of the entire town, who just happen to be all women. It is an upbeat song that shamelessly celebrates a man's death. But could you for one instant imagine if it was a man hatching a plan to murder his wife? The woman keels over dead on the floor while the video cuts to a throng of dancing, howling men rejoicing that she finally passed on. Don't laugh too hard, ok?

It is important to notice, not only do these extremely popular and mainstream songs advocate violence against men, they also portray men in a negative light, marching in lock step with the feminist ideology. Men are cheaters. Men are liars. Men are abusers. Men aren't needed. This negative undertone is far more insulting than the advocating of violence on the surface.

Why is it "funny" and entertaining for a woman to shoot a man, poison a man, watch a man get hit by a bus or key his car? This is our culture. Here's a fun experiment. Next time you are listening to the radio or your ipod or browsing music videos on Youtube, count how many times when a man is singing a song he is singing about how much he loves a woman. Then count how many times when a woman is singing a song she is singing about how much she hates a man. I think you already know the outcome.

In the next installment we will identify examples of violence towards men in advertisement. Stay tuned.


Gorges Smythe said...

I listen mostly to Christian music anymore. Looks like I'm not missing anything of importance.

Silverfiddle said...

It's all part of the coarsening of our popular culture. Also, the anti-man thing has been going on for a long time. In commercials, the dad or husband is always the stupid one who must be clued it, always by an enlightened daughter or wife...

Hack said...

Silver, you bring up an excellent point. I actually did a post on that a while back. There is a guy on Youtube that put together a video of those commercials. If you care to watch, look up "Misandry in the Media" on Youtube.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the examples above, except Rihanna's. I think the song tackles a different issue, and the imagery of a man being murdered sort of muddled the message.
The main difference happens to be Rihanna's actual awareness and remorse in the aftershock of her crime, unlike the other singers who are callous or smugly satisfied in their hypocrisy. She recognized that her decision wasn't well thought out (repeating, "What happened to me?" and "Didn't know what I was thinking"), that her conscience wouldn't let her ignore her deed ("I can't even sleep at night / Can't get it off my mind", "Me thinking of the time that I'm facing," "Before I end up behind bars"), and that in the end it wasn't worth killing him ("Could've been somebody's son / And I took his heart when I pulled out that gun"). You could interpret that his "heart" represents what makes him just like any other human, and "taking his heart" away was another way of saying that she dehumanized him - both in the song and within the context of the song.
Granted, part of the lyrics do sound like she's not willing to take responsibility or that it's not even her fault, what with her hoping to "get out of sight," and "leave town". Particularly this part might leave you skeptical:
"What do you expect me to do
If you're playing me for a fool
I will lose my cool
And reach for my firearm."
But I think even these lines, albeit confusing, help convey the reality of what goes through a person's head (excluding the psychopaths) after they've committed something as heinous as murder. While most people often assume the worst in criminals and believe they're absolutely amoral, there are people who are shocked and racked with guilt at what they've done - some goes so far to turn themselves in, while others are unable to face themselves or kill themselves. Rihanna, being Rihanna, doesn't really go into much more depth about the conflicted nature of this scenario, but this is a fairly accurate depiction of how normal people can act out of turn, and that, given that she doesn't even try to paint her victim as merely a horrid rapist, that crime doesn't justify another crime. The fact that this was a man even makes sense in this context, as men are much more likely to be victims of a violent crime than women, aside from rape.

Anonymous said...

Jesus hopscotching Christ. I did not know my comment was that long. But yeah, hopefully, I got my point across. Can't deny that there is misandry emerging in our pop culture, but I feel like that particular song from Rihanna gets oversimplified by people, when there are other songs (like the other ones you've put up there) that better illustrate this discrimination.

The Pigman said...

If you think these examples are bad Google Menocide by Otep

Anonymous said...

Eminem wrote some songs about killing his wife..."Kim" and "Just the two of us" are a couple.

Tom Jones' "Delilah" in which a woman is stabbed.

Johnny Cash shot his woman down in "Cocaine Blues"

The Beatles sang about murdering over cheating in "Run for your life"

Jimi Hendrix shot his wife and fled to Mexico in "Hey Joe"

It goes both ways.