10 Aug 2015

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Leave Women the Fuck Alone

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who listens to music has one or two guilty pleasures. I refrain from using that term, because if you enjoy something, why feel guilty about it? But, regarding the artists that I’m about to mention, I genuinely feel guilt in the pit of my stomach when I listen to them, no matter how intoxicated I am at the time.

We live in a world where violence against women is still a thing that we have to live with daily. Considering many of us can’t walk home at night without giving ourselves whiplash from looking behind us so often, I think it’s disgusting that so many artists think it’s ok to glamourise and even normalise misogyny, as well as even condoning murder.

I reckon I chose to finally get around to writing this article at a good time. Having just released his first album in 16 years, Dr. Dre has recruited a rather flashy list of special guests to star on the album. Despite the rather hefty wait, for me, the album release, despite musical content, isn’t worthy of much celebration. One of those guests is Eminem, a repeat offender for including couldn’t-care-less misogyny in his lyrics. Eminem raps about raping and killing woman with as much ease as you would have singing about normal everyday things; I for one find that horrifying.

On penultimate track Medicine Man, Eminem dishes out the rather pleasant line of "Ain't no one safe from, non-believers there ain't none/I even make the bitches I rape cum".  What a way to show power and status, eh? Let’s also mention a skit by Dre at the end of Loose Cannons; it seems to depict him murdering and burying a woman. It worries me slightly that that’s the result of the best part of two decade’s work.

I could probably fill up half of Vapour Trail with examples of Eminem’s drivel, but only a few more spring to my currently-very-tired mind. In Roman’s Revenge, a collab with Nicki Minaj, there’s so much blatant women-hating venom that’s I’m surprised and slightly concerned why Minaj worked with him in the first place. "You don't like it then peel off, bitch/Every last woman on Earth I'll kill off, and I still wouldn't fuck you, slut.” Charming. I doubt she’d want anything to do with you anyway after you’ve killed all of the women on earth, to be honest.
Another example, pretty much an entire song’s worth, is So Much Better from Eminem’s eighth studio album, released in 2013. Recorded when he was 40 year’s of age, you would think that the lyrical content would reflect the intelligence/general human decency of someone of that age, but, apparently not. To save putting the entire song in quotation marks, I’ve included a fun little hyperlink to the complete lyrics.

Another prolific artist who seems to get away with spouting murderous rage is Tyler, The Creator. Also having a good few paragraphs worth of misogynistic content in his songs, it’ll be easier on my freakishly small hands to hyperlink you to one of his most well known offences, “Sandwitches”. Such a promising song title, too.

Having drifited in and out of interest in Tyler and his music, it appeared to me that with his latest album offering, that he has matured in himself and his songwriting, but according to reports saying that he’s been banned from visiting Austrailia, to which he retorted by calling a feminist campaign organiser a “cunt” and a “fucking whore”, I’m not too sure anymore.

So, what’s the excuse for these artists being able to get away with rapping about what would land any normal person in prison? Not figured it out yet? They’re in character! I would never have guessed. Rapping under the guise of Slim Shady and Tyler,The Creator these two, amongst countless others, are allowed to rap/sing about anything they want, because they’re in character, so they obviously don’t mean it!

Regardless of if you’re in character of not, why rap about raping and killing women when there’s trillions of other things you could rap about? I, for one, don’t understand the appeal. Sure, it's 'just a story', but that's symptomatic of the sexist views that are so important to our culture - there are considerably less stories in songs about men getting murdered, and when they are, their gender is rarely in any way a factor, unlike Eminem and his discontent for 'bitches' and 'sluts'. And furthermore, why do the majority seem to accept it so easily? Yes, violence against women etc. is a thing that occurs nearly every second, and something that some of us spend a good portion of our lives avoiding/preparing for/protecting ourselves against, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be glamourised, normalised, or sang about so matter of factly by people who will most likely never experience it.

If artists are so insistent that all of the misogynist drivel they project so matter of factly is acceptable, due to a guise, maybe next time they should include a warning before every song, or, y’know, not sing about raping and killing women in the first place. That'd be nice.

(written by molly chard)