By Corinne Daley
American music artists have become very popular around the world because of globalization, where rich countries (like the United States) expands their markets abroad. I remember walking around a supermarket in Tokyo, Japan listening to Bruno Mars and Rihanna being played over the loudspeaker. It was funny to me that the storeowners were playing these American songs when mostly everyone around me could not understand the lyrics. It just goes to show the power of the globalization. As a result of this popularity how does the American music industry shape cultures in places beyond the United State’s border? The video below done by MiaMor, gives us a glimpse into exploring the answer to that question.
The American music industry creates a narrow representation of black women, which births sexist and racist ideologies in Korea. These ideologies are not created solely by the American music industry, but Korea’s patriarchal, homogeneous, and celebrity idolizing driven culture contributes as well.
Although sex and sexuality are the reason sexism exists, sex and sexuality is not the problem. The problem is the sexual story that is frequently displayed within American music videos that enhances dangerous ideologies of sexual encounters. For instance humanizing qualities such as humor, feelings, boundaries, hobbies, and ambitions are discarded from the women represented in the music videos; but rather they are just there to either please the man or be looked at by other men. Overall the sexual story displayed within American music videos shows men as the dominate, while women as the subordinate. This is problematic because healthy sexual encounters do not have power dynamics. Healthy sexual encounters are where everyone involved are treated with respect and not like objects to get pleasure.
The socialization of Americans has unfortunately created a situation where flirting comes with danger. One would think that within heterosexual encounters there would be a clear difference between sexual assault and consent. Sadly there is not a clear difference, and this blurry line between what is okay and what is not okay often happens because of frequent miscommunications.
Ever hear of the term ‘hard to get’?
This term has been internalized in American culture because of the socialization of the two genders. ‘Hard to get’ is like a game played between men and women where the woman pretends she is not interested in the man she is interested in because it is seen as unattractive to be aggressive with her feelings. Overall the man is supposed to be the pursuer and the woman is supposed to be the pursued. This social dynamic becomes dangerous when it blurs the line between what is respectful and what is too far within romantic interaction. For instance when a woman says no to a man the man may think she does not really mean it, or that he just needs to try harder. When this happens the situation gets complicated because women are socialized that it is not attractive for them to say no, so it becomes harder and harder for them to say no when a male keeps pushing himself on her.
This miscommunication that happens too frequently in heterosexual interactions exists because America’s youth sex education systems in schools have failed to conduct conversations about communication within sexual interactions.
Laci Green is blunt within her videos, and is able to be blunt because she accepts sex as a necessary activity to form social ties. High schools do not do sex education in the way Laci Green does sex education because most parents do not want their kids having sex.
But what happens when they do? How will it go for them? Most teenagers are having sex, and if sex is not happening in their lives, they are at least thinking about it. So in order to protect them from getting hurt we need to prepare them when their minds are most vulnerable.
In order to conduct a sex education system that promotes healthy sexuality in individuals we need to not only teach about how to prevent from unwanted pregnancies and STDs, but also conduct conversations over love, desire, relationships, gender roles, where one can learn about their own identity, and learn to express themselves on their wishes and boundaries. Through this type of curriculum we will create a consent culture and diminish the rape culture we currently live in.
Imagine a sex education that looks like this:
Humor is a reflection of the problems going on in society. This video done by Key and Peele is funny because this type of curriculum would never happen in a sex education class. But maybe this is just the kind of sex education that we need. A lot of the comments in the comment section said that Key and Peele’s performance is more helpful than any other sex education they have received in the past.
However sex education like Key and Peele’s performance will not be possible to implement unless we diminish the sexual shame integrated in the American culture. Once we eliminate the sexual shame that many American feel it will be a closer step to conducting helpful and healthy sex education curriculums.