The music industry is a complex, diverse place. Women in the music industry are often seen as strong, as powerful, and as just plain badass. But recently, I’ve seen a new wave of music and songs by female artists that glorify and glamorise abusive relationships. These songs paint these women as submissive, and as powerless.
In a way, yes, it starts the conversation, and yes, it’s easy for women in abusive relationships to relate to these songs. But it also normalises behaviour that’s not okay.
One song in particular is ‘What I Like About You’ by Jonas Blue. Behind the catchy, pop-y chorus and upbeat summer vibes, lie lyrics that tell of a girl who seems to be in a toxic relationship. She sings of how she used to be a “good girl” but after entering the relationship, she changes. She ignores the red flags, and turns against the advice of her friends and family, “I tried to fight against it, shut out what all my friends said”, but in the end, she gives in.
This behaviour is typical of a toxic relationship. Our friends and family will always know what is best for us, and sometimes that’s not what we want to hear. It’s difficult to think through a situation logically, and to separate our wants versus our needs, and what is ultimately good for us. And I can honestly say that from personal experience, it’s one of the most difficult things to do.
Having been through a similar situation myself, I find it difficult to listen to these songs and know what lies behind the seemingly harmless lyrics. Songs like these normalise this behaviour, and sends the message to young women and girls that this happens, and that this is okay. We don’t hear the negatives of these situations, or the difficult, lasting consequences. We just hear the preppy, catchy chorus and the ‘rebellious’, beautiful girl who’s made ‘so bad’ by this relationship. And frankly, I’m not here for it.
This is the song, what do you think? Can you think of any other songs that send a negative message?