Actions speak louder than words.
We tell our children that violence against women is wrong. They hear our words. Then they look at our actions. Do we live the words we speak?
The night before the Grammys in 2009, Chris Brown beat up Rihanna. At the Grammys 2012, he gets to perform twice AND he wins a Grammy. Some say people deserve a second chance. My question is, does everyone deserve a second chance? In his acceptance speech, he expressed no remorse over his actions. Later that night, he tweeted: “HATE ALL YOU WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF”. This tweet has since been deleted, but you can view it here at the Twitter graveyard: Chris Brown Tweet. Here are some other tweets by girls who are fans of Chris Brown, compiled on the ever-reliable page, Epic Fail: Chris Brown Tweets Fail.
Bobby Brown was arrested for beating Whitney Houston in 2003. He has also been charged with beating women besides his then-wife. He is still celebrated and is currently touring with New Edition. At his concert last week, after expressing how much he loved Whitney, he concluded by saying, “My name is badass Bobby Brown,” to the delight of the audience (You can read this here: Bobby Brown’s Tribute to Whitney).
Rapper Eminem, famous for his misogynist lyrics, frequently engages in acts on-stage that are depictions of violence against women. He has been known to beat up feminine blow-up dolls on stage, with the crowd cheering. His ex-wife claims that his lyrics are directed towards her and the blow-up dolls are made to look like her (You can read about this here: Kim Mathers on Eminem). While this may be true or not, it is of greater concern that he is on stage and on the radio depicting violence against women.
The popular music industry is saturated with references to violence against women. Lyrics are littered with words such as Ike Turner (whose name has become synonymous with wife-beating, based on what he had done to Tina Turner), ‘bitches’ and ‘whore’ (or rather, ‘hoe’). Many popular music videos focus on female bodies only, with cameras drawing our eyes to individual body parts, while males are depicted as powerful through symbols of status (fancy cars, flashy jewellery, etc). Children are spending increasing amounts of time on popular media, and less with their parents. Recent research shows that 8 – 18 year olds spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes DAILY on entertainment media. In this time, the activity they engage in the most is listening to popular music (you can read this research article here: Daily Media Use Among Teens and Children).
Children are learning about the world, through what they are exposed to. What they are exposed to, is digested as the norm. What they are exposed to, plays a significant role in who they become. What they are exposed to, is our responsibility. This is our world, it is our responsibility.
I will leave you with these lyrics from DMX, multi-platinum American rapper:
“I’m comin’ in the house and I’m gunnin’ for your spouse,
Tryin’ to send the bitch back to her maker,
And if you got a daughter older than 15, I’ma rape her,
Take her on the living room floor, right there in front of you,
Then ask you seriously, whatcha wanna do?”