Listen to your lyrics: Be aware of hidden messages in pop culture

Jan. 25, 2016

Hannah Harvey
hharvey@uccs.edu

Pop culture can provide fun, take your mind off of daily stress and connect you to people.

But as exciting as it is, disturbing events like domestic violence make their way into our lives through this form of entertainment.

Domestic violence occurs when one person in a relationship abuses their partner to gain control or power. It can be physical, sexual, emotional or verbal.

The victim of the violence may be traumatized, hurt or killed by their abusive partner.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, three in ten women and one in ten men have experienced a form of domestic violence.

In one year, 12 million people will be impacted by it.

But we don’t always stop to think about the way that these events are celebrated and even made to be seen as the norm. Instead of bringing awareness to the dangers of domestic violence, pop culture glorifies it.

How many times have you cranked up the volume when Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” came on the radio? Or sang along to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke?

Entertainers often use music as an outlet to write about their personal experiences. A musician may write and sing about an unhealthy relationship, but their listeners think the artist’s negative experience was good.

Sometimes we are so focused on how the music we listen to adds to the good times that we commend violence.

It’s easy to overlook the seriousness of domestic violence when it is blurred by a catchy chorus and rhythm.

But the more we overlook these lyrics, the more domestic violence seems normal. If we continue to make violence seem like it’s OK, then how many more people will become a statistic?

Listeners and entertainers do not think carefully about the messages that are being sent.

Purposefully harming someone you love is not something to glorify. You should not want to abuse your partner or be abused.

I can’t get over the fact that a cycle of violence is worked into pop culture while people are affected by what could potentially kill them.

When domestic violence appears in pop culture, it dilutes the seriousness of the issue, making it seem less dangerous.

It’s easier for society to turn a serious issue into a normal, everyday occurrence

We can’t use this way of thinking to justify selling more records or books, or getting more likes on a post.

If a musician or author sends the message that it’s normal to hurt those you love, it will only justify a violent perpetrator’s actions.

This won’t help end the cycle of violence that so many face every day.

We are too busy enjoying the song, reading the book or laughing at the joke our friend posted on Twitter that we fail to think about what we’re being exposed to.

We have to think actively about the messages we’re supporting, listen carefully and speak up when something is wrong.

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