I’ve been stewing about this for a while now, I’ll admit. The first time I heard Bruno Mars’ song ‘Gorilla’ while listening to his album, I was completely turned off. Not because of the song, but because of what it represents. Then it was released as his next single.
Before you freak out, read on.
It’s a well known fact that I love Ke$ha. I do, I love her and her rowdiness and her freedom to be who she wants to be. She doesn’t care what people think, and that’s totally rock and roll. I also love Rihanna. Love. She’s another artist who does what she wants, when she wants, no apologies.
So when I say I was turned off by the message of ‘Gorilla’, it’s not because it was about sex. Because Rihanna and Ke$ha pretty much sing about sex. A lot.
No, I’m turned off by ‘Gorilla’ because I don’t understand how Bruno Mars can release a single about passionate, rough, hard, animalistic sex and no one bats an eyelash, but when Rihanna released ‘S&M’, she was sex-obsessed. Or when Ke$ha releases songs about sex (‘Gold Trans Am’, anyone?) she is also labeled as a sex-obsessed slut.
What’s the deal? It’s 2013 and it’s a well documented fact that women enjoy sex. They love it. They love to talk about it and have it and enjoy as many partners as they want. But the second we talk about it, have it, enjoy as many partners as we want, we’re still branded with a scarlet letter, called sluts and whores and made to feel shameful about a very human act.
Every day, something reminds me that sexism is still alive and well in our society. Not just in music, but in everything. But this example is at the forefront right now. Bruno Mars is an unbelievably talented artist. He’s a true performer and I would love to see him live. I’ve enjoyed his albums, and his live appearances on awards shows and SNL.
But, I can’t say that it doesn’t bug me that he can get away with a song about a girl throwing her legs up in the air while he’s on top of her, and she’s pounding away on his chest, and he’s not labeled as a sex-obsessed slut like Ke$ha and Rihanna. His song is basically about going to town on his lady so hard the neighbors might call the cops.
Does the chorus stick in my head? Yup, sure does. Do I still like Bruno Mars? Yup, sure do. Do I wish we had more equality in how we treated our artists on the radio? You bet.
If Mr. Mars can release this song without reprimand, I say we, as a society, either stop calling our talented female artists sluts when they do, or start holding our male counterparts more responsible.
Ke$ha and RiRi don’t talk about sex any more or less than Bruno Mars does, in life or in their lyrics. Granted, I know that both Ke$ha and Rihanna feed into the talk, but they almost have to. And, for what it’s worth, Bruno Mars feeds into it, too. So, why don’t we hear more negative talk about his antics, why is it only focused on the women? Is it about a boys will be boys mentality? Because, if so, we should be over that excuse by now. Is it simply because that’s what men are “supposed” to do? Talk about their conquests and sexual exploits with aplomb? Also an old excuse. Women should be able to talk about their sexual exploits and activities with the same bravado as men do, without being called tramps and whores.
There is a huge double standard between how we treat men and women, not only in the music industry, but in basically every industry that exists. Why are we still fighting this fight? Why do we, as women, still have to put up with this double standard?
More importantly, what are we going to do about it?
Featured image via allaccess.com