In the last few days, the Australian media and Twittersphere has gone haywire over RedFoo’s new single and video clip for “Literally I Can’t.” There have been claims that the song is misogynist and promotes rape culture. There have also been calls for him to be axed from Australia’s X Factor. Consequentially, RedFoo has come out swinging. He has defended his work and clarified his motives saying the provocative clip is a “satire,” and that the hate he has received is largely from female bloggers with an agenda.
Guess what. I’m a female blogger. And I have an agenda. But it’s not the agenda you think I have.
RedFoo, I like you. Really, I do. I think you’re a cool dude. Not many people can pull off the leopard print, crazy hair and neon pink and own it. And no, I’m not paying you out. I respect your individuality, your business suave and the fact that from what I’ve seen, you’re a really nice guy. You are a smart, clever man who knows the music industry better than most.
But I don’t like your new single, “Literally I Can’t.” And not just on a superficial level, like how someone who dislikes country will avoid Lady Antebellum and diss their music, but on a really personal level; because in your lyrics you have degraded the female right to say, “No.” Because in your video, whether purposely done or not, you have endorsed the right to pressure women to drink, fight and have sex without their consent. And consequentially, you have given men everywhere a model of manhood that says “A real man doesn’t take no for an answer.”
And before you say it, I don’t have a feminist agenda, because if we turned the tables and this song and video was about a flock of women pressuring a scantily clad man to partake in these acts without his consent, I would have the same problem. No human being deserves to be pressured, harassed or objectified. And sadly in your new single, you partake in all three of these activities.
My agenda is this: I am speaking up because your song says more about the media industry and this world than just your career. I don’t know you, and I can’t judge you. What right do I have? But as a member of the media, as a woman, and as a human being, I have a right to say what I know, and what I know is this:
Satire or not, your new single objectifies females. It depicts them as objects, built for a man’s pleasure. It suggests they can, and should, be swayed to take part in acts they don’t want to be involved in. It suggests that it is okay to treat a woman without respect, simply because she has boobs and a butt. And even though this may not have been your intent, it does fuel rape culture, because it tells the world that “No” doesn’t count. It fuels sexual and domestic abuse both in and out of relationships. And it fuels the lie that to be a man, you must possess, control and disrespect a female.
This isn’t necessarily about you RedFoo, this goes much further. Because in a world so infatuated with twerking, the latest sex tape, and Kim Kardashian’s butt, your single is normal. It is expected. The public feed off the controversy and spout opinions all over social media about people they’ve never met. Yet we watch the tapes. And we buy the music. And we wear the short shorts that are more like panties than actual clothing. Your single is fuelling our cycle that tells us this is okay. And our endorsement and interest in such tabloid gossip has prompted you, and many other musicians out there, to create such a product because it sells.
Does this make it okay for you to release a single that tells women to “Shut the f*** up?” No, it doesn’t. Because in doing so, you are ignoring the years women all over the world have fought to be heard, to speak for themselves and to be seen as a man’s equal.
Does this make it okay for you to release a single that shows men who disrespect females and in doing so, downgrade their own manliness? No, it doesn’t. Because there are men in the world who respect females and desire to treat them with dignity. And the stigma that has been placed on males as ‘womanizers’ or a gender who only wants a one night stand has just been increased.
I know I can’t change anything dramatically through this mere blog post. How do you change a culture that loves and loathes the sexualisation and objectification of both sexes at any cost? But I can change the minuscule part of our culture that I live in by speaking up; by asking you Foo, to hear me. And to take the small steps in your world, which in turn influences the media industry and people all over the globe, to represent both males and females with dignity. Because as much as I dislike your single, this is about something much larger than your song or the ranting of a blogger from a small city in Australia. This is about making the world a better place, and I know you want that too.