Thursday, 3 March 2011

Oh, how controversial...

Nowadays, it is almost impossible for a song to be played on the radio or for a programme on the television to be aired without incredible amounts of edits and ‘bleeps’ throughout. Understandably, there are elements of songs and T.V. shows that are deemed unsuitable, yet there are still shocking remarks made on many T.V. shows, in particular, which are allowed to be aired. For example, the recent racial remarks made by Richard Hammond on that, now infamous, episode of Top Gear, where he refers to Mexican cars as “lazy, feckless, flatulent (and) overweight”. As Steve Coogan wrote in The Guardian: “The Beeb's hand-wringing suggested tolerance of casual racism, arguably the most sinister kind.” I, myself, am a fan of the show but not of its presenters, who seem to adopt a sort of ‘anything goes’ attitude to their “comedy”, and these comments have made me dislike them even more. You would think that a highly coveted television network like the BBC would edit their pre-recorded shows more appropriately, without the deeply offensive and racist remarks. What are a few swearwords and off-the-cuff remarks in comparison to content like this, which they deem acceptable?

You may or may not be aware of the recent controversy over Rihanna’s latest single, ‘S&M’, and the video, which accompanies it. The video contains several provocative scenes, mostly surrounding the sexual act of Sado-masochism.

Obviously, the video is shocking and unsuitable for daytime viewing but in comparison to other music videos, which are allowed to be shown during the day, it is not that bad (I know, how controversial of me). For example, if you consider all the videos released by hip-hop and rap artists such as Flo Rida and 50 Cent, where girls are shown dancing around half-naked, while cameras zoom in on their breasts and crotch, Rihanna’s video is light viewing. A shocking video that immediately comes to my mind is 50 Cent's video for Candy Shop, which I have posted below. I find this video completely demeaning to women and, frankly, quite disgusting. What shocks me even more is that many girls would kill to be in one of these videos, where they are provided with the honour of cheapening themselves and looking like a porn star.

The swoon-worthy lyrics of 'Candy Shop' include: "I'll let you lick the lollipop." Oh, how generous of you 'fiddy'. The fact that this song was received with little controversy makes it even more perplexing to me as to why words such as “chains” and “whips” are ‘bleeped’ out of the radio edit of Rihanna's song. Obviously, when put into context, it becomes a bit clearer as to why the words have been cut out, as the lyrics read: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me.” However, I think its safe to say, worse things have been said in the past.

Without sounding like too much of a feminist, I think it is clear that there is still a double-standard in what behaviour is acceptable for men and women, in the music and television industries today. It seems that men are able to get away with a lot more than women and it is considered acceptable for men to behave more recklessly. However, I do think many people need to lighten up and stop complaining about every little thing they disagree with. There are far more concerning matters to be stressing over, so just chill out and stop taking everything so seriously; life is far too short to be worrying about such minor things.

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