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I am declaring an impromptu Domestic Violence awareness moment. We apparently need it.

Whoa.

Stop.

Time Out.

Did M just lay that one out there? Yes, yes I did.

This is ignited by pop music. It’s all over the radio right now, so something must be going on, right? In the middle of the afternoon this week, there were back to back (to back!) songs that were seemingly glorifying, or at the least failing to condemn, physically violent relationships.  Observe the following 2:

  • Florence & the Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist.”
    Do I even have to get past the title? Well, if I must, the songs opens with “You hit me once / I hit you back / You gave a kick / I gave a slap / You smashed a plate over my head / Then I set fire to our bed.”
  • Fun’s “We are Young.”
    Not an excuse. It’s buried in the early part of the song but here they offer up “My seats been taken by some sunglasses / Asking ’bout a scar / And I know I gave it to you months ago / I know you’re trying to forget / But between the drinks and subtle things / The holes in my apologies / You know I’m trying hard to take it back.”

The third song in the mix adds a bit of redemption, as it squarely criticizes someone for his role in abusing a woman… but again, I am blown away by the fact that there is even a 3rd song on the top playlists right now that involves DV, even if it’s sort of speaking out against it!

Small kudos go to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus for “Face Down.” (“Cover up with makeup in the mirror / Tell yourself it’s never gonna happen again / You cry alone and then he swears he loves you // Do you feel like a man when you push her around? / Do you feel better now, as she falls to the ground?”)

I have a very hard time listening to these songs. Until you meet a friend in the emergency room at 4am…Or accompany a woman to speak with a prosecuting attorney to go through with her testimony…Or join a friend in a group therapy session for battered women, DV seems like something that happens elsewhere. Perhaps to those other women. And even so, how big a deal is it?

It’s a very big deal.

And it’s never acceptable.

So why is pop radio glorifying it right now? I am incensed that the Florence and Fun songs are out there right now. Because some young guy is singing along mindlessly, not really paying attention to the lyrics, and all the while he is subconsciously singing himself into some sort of okayness about giving a woman a scar or a kick.

It has taken decades to get the support systems in place to help curb this problem. Advocacy groups have belabored the justice system and the hospitals and the police departments to take this crime seriously. And when headway has finally been made, pop culture takes a giant leap backwards.

Shame on you, Florence and Fun, for seemingly condoning this horrific offense. I invite you to volunteer at a battered woman’s safe house for one day, and then talk to me about your catchy little lyrics.

And don’t get me started on Foster the People’s über-catchy “Pumped Up Kicks.” Several million people are singing along to a teenage homicidal killing spree, without really paying attention.

~M

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2 thoughts on “Pop Music Failure (or, A Step in the Wrong Direction)

  1. Pingback: Versatile Blogger « Growthlines. . .

  2. Thank you for the “awareness moment”! I get frequent therapy referrals from one of our local tribal programs for women rebuilding their lives after leaving abusive relationships. It is shocking how pervasive domestic violence is in our culture and what it says about us that we accept the subtle and not so subtle references “promoting” it at every turn.

    I also want to say “Thanks” for your blog presence by nominating you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Read about the award process on the GrowthLines blog at http://www.growthlines.wordpress.com, in The Versatile Blogger post.

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