Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Music/Sex Study, or Why I'm Ashamed to Be a Former Pittsburgher Today...

See, goddammit? It's not rap music alone. Just the sound of Kenny G's lugubrious sax is enough to make this woman strip naked and dip her T-shirt in cold water! What the fuck?!?

The reason I'm ashamed to be from Pittsburgh today is because of this study, released by the University of Pittsburgh in which they interviewed 711 Pittsburgh City School kids, ages 13-18, and ended up drawing a link between the frequency with which kids listened to music containing derogatory sexual lyrics, and the frequency with which they have sex.

Basically, the study found "at least a simple" link between the two; apparently, as far as Pitt is concerned, the mere act of listening to the Ying Yang Twinz talking about "Beat the pussy up, beat the pussy up" is enough to make your average 13-18-year-old run out the door looking for the first set of available genitals.

This came on the heels of a September '08 study which "discovered" that modern musicians tend to sing and rap about sex a lot. Wow, REALLY?!?

The embarassing retardedness of that first bit of scientific genius aside, I'd really like to see the hard numbers on the music/sex study. My first beef is this: if they're talking City of Pittsburgh proper, then they're talking a disproportionate amount of a) black teens and b) rap music fans. Black teens historically have a higher pregnancy rate, and the 13-18 age group is the primary target for the majority of popular rap music. So of course there's going to be a "correlation." Doesn't hold up, though, if you ask me.

Regardless of the demographics, however, I think the "link" is really more of an indictment of the way sex ed is treated in this country. I don't remember specifically having "the sex talk" with either of my parents, but I do know that I ever had a question, I could always bring it to them. But I'm sure there are a lot of homes where it's not like that; where the topic is never even broached, or gets glossed over or joked around. But regardless of whether or not my parents were going to talk to me about sex, I still knew better than to take Snoop fucking Dogg's advice, and Doggystyle was one of my favorite albums at the time.

And our sex ed in school was fairly simple. After teaching the basic science, Mr. Krebs said we pretty much had three choices: abstain, practice safe sex, or be a total dumbass (he put it a little more eloquently, but not much).

Objectification of women in rap music, to my mind, stems largely from rappers' tendency to overexaggerate just about everything: their cash flow, their jewelry collection, their hustle, their sexual prowess, the size of their rims, etc., etc. That list could go on and on and on. And large percentage of men have probably been the victim of a woman who's only out for cash; in the poverty-stricken environment that a lot of rappers grew up in, probably more so. It only makes sense that they would take distrust of women to the nth degree like everything else. Just because your dad says "She's looking for a sugar daddy" and Too $hort just says she's a straight-up hoe, doesn't mean they're talking about different things.

Also, let's not dismiss the ever-popular notion among females that all men are pigs; that you should assume every guy at the bar is out to slip a roofie into your drink. The only reason you don't hear about it in rap music is because there are so few female rappers.

So negative, objectified attitudes about the opposite sex abound on both sides of the fence. 

When it comes to kids having sex at younger and younger ages, if ANYthing, I'd lay the blame at the feet of the companies (MTV, BET) which have contributed to the sexualization of girls at younger and younger ages. Don't get me wrong, as a senior in high school, the "Hit Me Baby One More Time" video was GREAT, but that doesn't mean it might not have been the most appropriate image to be beaming out nationwide at the same time every kid in the U.S. was getting home from school.

And rap music certainly deserves its share of the blame on that front. Before it went off the air, you could probably count the TRL rap videos WITHOUT video-hoes in them on about two fingers. MTV didn't have to agree to air those videos, though. This is one instance where capitalism works against the taut moral fiber of the Congressmen and crusading parents who are constantly trying to put a stop to all things they deem 'degrading,' which is the new 'obscene.'

And speaking of moral fiber (and to wrap it up, since this is getting a little lengthy), I have a mostly-unrelated-but-nonetheless-stimulating question: Walmart refuses to sell explicit records, but if you go five feet over to the next shelf, you can get any R-rated movie you want... wha... tha... fa...?

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