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Music, Drugs, and Dancing

By Aleah Matthews-Runner in Opinion & Politics

“Now that bang, bang, bang/ I let him hit it ‘cause he slang cocaine”

Nicki Minaj’s new song, “Anaconda”, has its place.

That place is not at a school dance.

I attended the Back-to-School dance for the first time in late August. I loved it and was disappointed this is the only year I’ve ever gone.

The D.J. was incredibly skilled, but I found the message the music conveyed, especially to girls – many of whom were freshmen – to be inappropriate.

Many of the songs sexualized and objectified the female body. Additionally, the songs generally promoted drugs and alcohol.

“Some of the music was a little vulgar and a little out-there with the messages,” said freshman Ingrid Cooper, “I heard a lot of sexual messages.”

This choice of music at a school dance is irresponsible and sends mixed messages to girls and boys in their first week of high school.

“All those cultural messages around gender are really not good for people, regardless of what their gender or any kind of outlook is,” said the Dean of Students, Mr. Stott, “we sort of have these cultural messages that stick people in boxes; that’s not very healthy for people.”

Classes, such as Health, focus on addressing drug and alcohol abuse, among other issues, so it seems illogical to have music that promotes drugs and alcohol at a school dance.

For example, “Now where my alcoholics/ Let me see yo hands/ up” (from LMFAO’s “Shots”) blaring at a dance on the first full day of high school gives the underlying (if not blatant) impression that drugs and alcohol are an expected part of high school culture. How exactly is that helping address the problem of substance abuse?

What is “Their [women’s] panties hit/ the ground every time/ I give them shots” (LMFAO’s “Shots”) teaching to a second-day freshman girl? That a girl’s body is not her own?

These messages translate into disrespect towards girls.

I understand that people like to grind. Cool, good for you. But it is 100% inappropriate for a guy to come up behind a girl and just start grinding with her.

“A lot of guys will just walk up to girls without even asking,” said senior Kelsey Leeburg, “Yeah girls do it to guys sometimes, but you’ll see a lot of boys who are keeping count.”

Guys, you MUST ask permission, because you are not entitled to a girl’s body. It is her body.

Guys, if you don’t understand what it feels like to be made into a sexual object and to not ‘own’ your body, imagine if every one of those songs were talking about men. Imagine being bought for a ‘shot’.

Songs like this send the message to boys that girls can be bought and that girls are there for men’s pleasure. This is a deeply dysfunctional message. Why are we not reacting?

 

“With the songs in general, it definitely, when you’re singing about it, it affects how you’re seeing things and how you’re thinking about things,” said Leeburg. “They have a powerful impact on people.”

Dances are wonderful and fun, but the music needs to be regulated.

“We have asked for the students to guide us, and have the students come up with a task force and discuss with us ways in which to address safety… and model appropriate behavior at the dances” said Vice Principal Mrs. Lupinacci, “I think that was incredibly successful.”

The administration could create a strict policy on music at dances. But this may not be the best way to address the issue.

“Using students to help would be better,” said Leeburg, “because that would still keep the atmosphere fun and not have people feel like they’re being told what to do or what to listen to or censored by the adults.”

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