Most Sexist Hit Songs in Recent Memory
But dammit, some of these are catchy.
- •Cheerleader, OmiOh, how deceiving this catchy, buoyant song is. It's all about a man who loves his woman in proportion to the amount that she plays the role of his devoted cheerleader. He loves her because "she's always there when I want her." While she is the doting supporter, he is a man surrounded by options (I.e. hordes of other beautiful women he could pick). Perhaps a little more mention of reciprocity and partnership would make these gender politics a little less uncomfortable.
- •Listen instead: All of Me, John Legend
- •All About that Bass, Meghan TrainorIt's astounding to think that when Meghan and her team set out to craft an empowering anthem of body positivity, they didn't stop to think that maybe basing it entirely on male approval (& heteronormativity) might be a giant crap in the face of any positive intentions. Meghan sings that her mom tells her not to worry about her curvy body because that's what the "boys" like. She also says that she will shake her body "like she's supposed to do." Internal validation & self-determination, please!
- •Listen instead: Video, India.Arie
- •Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell and T.I.The title. The "I know you want it." The video of scantily clad women parading around fully clothed men and having smoke blown into their faces as if they're merely ornamental pets. Let's put this one to bed.
- •Listen instead: Get Naked (I Got a Plan), Britney Spears
- •Dear Future Husband, Meghan TrainorThis song focuses on Megan trading her sexuality for gifts, compliments, and, of course, a ring. If future Mr. Right says and buys all the right things, Megan will gift him "that special loving." It's great to see a woman proud to own her sexuality, but women shouldn't have to strategically withhold and dole out sex in return for traditional status markers. Plus, she mentions she gets "crazy" in relationships. It's a label that's basically the new "histrionic." Bottom line: tired portrayal.
- •Listen instead: Dear No One, Tori Kelly
- •Rude, Magic!Rude centers on a man asking his GF's dad for his blessing to marry his daughter. This seemingly innocuous tradition is based on the idea that women are property to be traded from father to husband, which is a huge bummer. The song focuses less on a ❤️ story and more on a pissing match b/w two dudes. The woman at the center of it all is notably absent from the thrust of the song. Does she have any say, or is he just gonna "marry her anyway?" Presumably she's down, but we never hear her side.
- •Listen instead: Marry You, Glee Cast (cover of Bruno Mars)
- •Somebody That I Used to Know, Goyte feat. KimbraThis song isn't so much outright sexist as it is slightly creepy. Its lyrics come across as somewhat petty and one-sided. Mourning a bad breakup, Goyte snarks "But I'll admit that I was glad it was over," before whining that his ex didn't have to change her number and have her friends pick up her stuff. Sounds like you need to leave her alone, buddy. Although, points for including Kimbra for the ex's POV, brief though her spot may be.
- •Listen instead: Best Mistake, Ariana Grande feat. Big Sean