When I was on holidays recently a pop song called Jealous (link to lyrics) by American singer/songwriter Nick Jonas, from the group The Jonas Brothers, was on high rotation. After the first few plays I actually started listening to the lyrics and, dear reader, I was somewhat appalled at what I heard. It’s not a nasty song, it’s not a rapey song (unlike Blurred Lines), but it is a disturbing song. Here’s why:
The singer claims a right to act ‘hellish’, whatever that means, because he still gets jealous. I don’t believe jealousy gives you any rights actually, apart from the right to STFU and deal with your own shit. The relationship between the person who he is getting jealous over and himself is never clear. Is he husband/boyfriend/partner or ex/stalker/fan for whom the distinction between friends and fans does not exist? Even the film clip doesn’t make it any clearer. He doesn’t like how this person posts stuff on social media, he admits to being possessive, passive aggressive and puffing out his chest to defend what he sees as his territory. All this in a pop song. On high rotation. The overtones of control and violence are really worrying.
But I can’t say that this song is the worst offender in the ‘OFFS can you stop playing that crap please for the love of fluffy kittens’ stakes. One Direction make a good claim for that crown with their ‘Steal my girl’
I got it all
’cause she is the one
Her mom calls me ‘love’,
Her dad calls me ‘son’,
I know, I know, I know for sure
Everybody wanna steal my girl
Everybody wanna take her heart away
Couple billion in the whole wide world
Find another one ’cause she belongs to me
Again, the context of this relationship isn’t entirely clear. The assumption is that they are together, but if you get down to it just because her Mum calls you love doesn’t mean that’s because she thinks of you as part of the family. It could be that she feels sorry for you when she says ‘She’s not home love’ while her daughter hides so you don’t know that she really is home. Likewise her dad could be calling you son while he says ‘It’s time to move on son, she’s not interested.’ Also, whether she is your girlfriend or not she is not a freaking piece of property. As we are no longer in the late 19th century (thank you Cambridge Family Law Practice) she is neither a good nor a chattel so she does not in fact belong to you.
But for me I think the crown belongs to Ed Sheeran for this piece of unbelieveable shittiness:
Trust and respect is what we do this for
I never intended to be next
But you didn’t need to take him to bed that’s all
And I never saw him as a threat
Until you disappeared with him to have sex of course
It’s not like we were both on tour
We were staying on the same f*cking hotel floor
And I wasn’t looking for a promise or commitment
But it was never just fun and I thought you were different (my emphasis)
So Ed wasn’t looking for a promise or commitment but it was never just fun? How does that work? I think what Ed perhaps meant to say is that he wanted her to be at his beck and call but never knowing if he was offering anything with a future. I mean, sheesh, where do I sign up for that? Then he can write angry slut shaming songs that get lots of airplay. Of course YMMV and feel free to put any other songs that irritate you in comments.
While noodling around looking at things for this post I came across this. This blog, called Angry Harry is specifically for young women. I am probably breaking the rules by looking at it, given that I am only a young woman in the eyes of people in their 80’s these days. This is part of the response to a question about women being chattels in times past. Please note I do not take any responsibility for any rabbit holes readers fall down, rage induced screaming or anything else caused by reading that blog, but I do promise to feel a little bit guilty if required.
Well, from what I can see, the same kind of considerations applied when it came to men and women. The women were always more vulnerable – especially in those more dark and more dangerous days – and it was their men who were charged with looking after them.
Imagine a child walking down the street a thousand years ago. What is to stop some stranger from picking up the child and saying, “Hmm. I think I’ll have this one.”
After all, if the child does not ‘belong’ to anyone then why not scoop it up for your own purposes?
Well, I imagine that the same sort of thing applied to women. You couldn’t just pick them up off the street and haul them off somewhere because they belonged to someone else!
With logic like that how can you fail?