Degradation of Women in Caribbean Music

1764 Words8 Pages
As one moves past the initial onslaught of rhythmic beats that calypso has to offer, it is difficult to miss the way in which it reverberates with negative and demoralizing images of women to their male counterparts. Whether it is within the lyrics of Sparrow’s “Drunk and Disorderly” or Square One’s “My Ding-a Ling”, an ample number of verses are often dedicated to making lewd comments about the female body and the suggestive body language described through thinly veiled rhymes and puns, can be offensive depending on the listener. The half naked models being displayed on the various album covers of calypso, soca and rap mix tapes further reinforces these negative connotations. This bandwagon has been jumped upon by many, including the rap genre in the last two decades, wanting to capitalize on a marketing strategy that generally purports to flag consumer attention, playing on their sense of eroticism. The sections titled “Music, Sex, Sexism” and “Woman Rising” within Peter Manuel’s text: Caribbean Currents, dive into the many issues surrounding gender within music as well as female portrayal specifically in calypso. Observations can be made simply by reading through the textual comparisons. Many aspects of this subject area allude to the fact that the issue of gender portrayal in music can be construed differently depending on who the critical listener happens to be. With the increased awareness and heightened sensitivity to the way in which females are portrayed in popular media, it is important to reflect on the impact these lyrics have on male-female relationships within the communities who most often enjoy this music genre.

“The parallels between musical and linguistic boundaries are obvious” as stated in author Peter M...

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...ages of women. Ultimately the purchaser and listener of all kinds of music, influences the pace of this movement.

Work Cited

Bilby, Kenneth. Largey, Michael. Manuel, Peter. Caribbean Currents- Caribbean Music

From Rumba to Reggae. Temple Univ. Press. Philadelphia, 2006.

Ember, Carol. Ember, Melvin. Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Vol 2. Springer pub

Chicago. 2005

“Female Degradation must not be Tolerated”. The Marquette Tribune. Staff editorial-

Posted November 8, 2007. www.marquettetribune.com

Accessed April 12, 2008

Jones, Tiffanie. “Video girls Bare all on Music Industry”. New Orleans News Periodical

Dated September 23, 2004. Accessed April 12, 2008

Mayer, Andre. “Booty Rhapsody-Pop music’s obsession with the female posterior”

Posted January 16, 2005. www.newsworld.cbc.ca/arts/music/booty.html

Accessed April 12, 2008
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