We Have 99 Problems, And 15 Of Them Are These Problematic Songs
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We Have 99 Problems, And 15 Of Them Are These Problematic Songs

Rape culture is in pop culture which needs to stop.

We Have 99 Problems, And 15 Of Them Are These Problematic Songs
Robin Thicke Vevo

Our society is extremely problematic. The media is extremely problematic. It's obvious, yet nothing's changing. Some of the most popular Top 40 songs are problematic for different reasons. Shelbie Barney and Kaitlynn Bartley put together a list of 15 songs that are problematic for their own reasons. There are a few reoccurring themes (like how many times we wrote the phrase "We are humans"). These songs are definitely bops. We know that the artists didn't mean anything by the lyrics and often times don't have control over it, but we can't deny the controversy. We love these songs. We love these artists, but they're definitely problematic.

1. "Baby One More Time" (1998) by Britney Spears

You can read the lyrics here.

Britney Spears is often referred to as the Queen of Pop, and deservedly so. This song was one that catapulted her into fame. At just 17 years old, she filmed this music video that would change her life, and our lives, forever. But upon a closer and more critical look, this song is more than meets the eye.

The first few lines set the tone for the entire song, "How was I supposed to know / That something wasn't right there?" This is just a reminder that Britney is 17. She's young and doesn't even know when something is "right." This whole video, and presumably the song too, is set in high school. She's a young girl who is singing about loneliness killing her and how she wants the guy to hit her one more time. This perpetuates the stereotype that men need to be this violent and masculine stereotype while Britney is the helpless girl calling for help. And this lyric about domestic abuse? Why is this something people are celebrating? She is literally saying that she wishes for him to hit her so she knows he still loves her. What? Just...

Britney, you're fine. You'll be okay without him.

2. "Sk8er Boi" (2002) by Avril Lavigne

You can read the lyrics here.

"He was a boy. / She was a girl. / Can I make it anymore obvious?" Yes, you can make it more obvious. We don't understand what's happening here. You have a boy and a girl? Okay, tell me more, please. Are they classmates? Are they even in the same room? Oh. You're implying they're in a relationship. Well you should spell it out then.

"He was a punk. / She did ballet. / What more can I say?" You could tell me what's happening? You could explain why this seems to be a problem. Because in the cinematic classic "Step Up!"Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum found love and one was a hip-hop dancer and the other a ballet dancer. They made it work. Why can't they?

And what happened to ballet girl? Is this just a Mary Sue situation where Avril inserts herself in the story? Just stop.

3. "Before He Cheats" (2005) by Carrie Underwood

You can read the lyrics here.

The whole first stanza of this song is problematic.

Right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleached-blond tramp,
And she's probably getting frisky...
Right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink
'Cause she can't shoot whiskey...
Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool stick,
Showing her how to shoot a combo...

These lyrics are calling "the other woman" out. She calls her a tramp, implies she's immature, and later in the song she even calls her white trash. This song is all about pinning women against other women, which should not be the plotline for a song. Women constantly have to tear down the stereotype "bitches be crazy," and Carrie constantly portrays herself in that way.

Also, there is a line that goes "Right now, she's probably saying, "I'm drunk"/
And he's a-thinking that he's gonna get lucky". Carrie. This is not the time to be sassy. This is the time to call him out on his behavior. This is rape. The definition of rape. He needs to be arrested, not just have his truck destroyed. But hey, at least he had a worse punishment than Brock Turner.

4. "Love Story" (2008) by Taylor Swift

You can read the lyrics here.

HAVE YOU EVEN READ ROMEO AND JULIET? It is a tragedy by definition. It is the story of two people falling in love. People as in... literal fetuses. Juliet is 13, Romeo is 17. They know each other for less than a week and they think that they are in love. It's like in Britney's song: you're okay. If you can't be together it's okay.

Taylor Swift takes the song and changes it to have a happy ending, but it's still a song in the wrong context. Romeo and Juliet were not royalty, they were just rich. There was no happy ending: that's the point. It ends in suicide.

Romeo and Juliet is NOT a romance, it's a tragedy. It ends in a double suicide. Why would you ever want to compare your "love story" to this tragedy? Also, what is this high school storyline? We're both super confused, who is that guy? Why are we going back to Shakespearean times? To make a point? Explain yourself, Taylor.

5. "Ur So Gay" (2008) by Katy Perry

You can read the lyrics here.

"I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf." Great opening Katy. Suicide in the first line? No. The LGBTQ community is already at a higher risk of attempting suicide. Suicide is not a joke and is an actual problem.

Also, Katy is using gay as a derogatory term. With a large amount of her fanbase being in the LGBTQ community, this song is offensive to a majority of her fans. Being gay is not wrong and it should be not used as a term of offense. But what makes this worse is that she got famous because of "I Kissed a Girl." So she can write a song and become famous for being free with her sexuality, yet when a guy is comfortable with himself he is told to kill himself?

6. "Heart Attack" (2013) by Demi Lovato

You can read the lyrics here.

But you make me wanna act like a girl
Paint my nails and wear high heels

This is problematic because girls do not have to be this way. Girls don't have to dress up and look beautiful to impress a guy. She is instilling the idea that we have to be a certain way in order for the one we love to look at us. Some people go as far as to say this line is transphobic, which we can see. Not all girls are feminine or event identify as female.

Also, her line "And every time I try to be myself/It comes out wrong like a cry for help." Being myself shouldn't be a cry for help. Demi Lovato is a huge advocate against bullying and for mental health awareness. But this song sets her a few steps back, and we're disappointed.

7. "Blurred Lines" ft. T.I. & Pharrel Williams (2013) by Robin Thicke

You can read the lyrics here.

Literally everything about this song is problematic. First of all, the parallels between the women and being an animal is so wrong. We are not people to be domesticated. We are human beings. Do not blow smoke in our face, do not "do it like it hurt." And what...you want us to be good girls yet not in bed? Only on your terms?

Lastly, there are never blurred lines in sex. The consent must be vocal, mutual, enthusiastic, and continuous. There is no blur in that. If you believe the lines are blurred yet assumes she says yes, that is rape. This song continues rape culture and the saddest part is, it was one of the top 25 songs in 2013.

P.S. Why did Robin Thicke need to put in big letters that he has a big dick? I'm not saying he's overcompensating but...

8. "Animals" (2013) by Maroon 5

You can read the lyrics here.

Everything about this song is creepy and just wrong. Adam Levine is literally stalking this girl and he is crazy. The parallels to the butcher shop and the slaughtered meat to the girl he is stalking is disgusting. And the lyrics don't help.

Baby, I'm preying on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent from miles
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

Okay, just what are these lyrics? He is hunting this girl down? Typically when hunting is going on the "prey" doesn't want to be found. And a girl is not meant to be prey. We can't believe we need to go over this again...WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS. We are people with rights and feelings and our consent matters. The objectification of women is on-going in pop culture and this needs to stop.

Oh and by the way, we do not care if you're Adam Levine and you are super hot. No one should be a Peeping Tom and be taking pictures of a girl without her knowing. It's creepy and wrong.

9. "Hey Mama" ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack
(2014) by David Guetta

You can read the lyrics here.

This is not Nicki Minaj. These lyrics are not her.

Yes I do the cooking
Yes I do the cleaning.

Why keep instilling this idea that women need to be housewives? We thought we left this in the 50's. And Nicki is usually the type of artist to be empowering women, not put themselves in a submissive postition for men. This song is not her. We are fans of Nicki Minaj, but if anyone mentions this one...

10. "Steal My Girl" (2014) by One Direction

You can read the lyrics here.

Okay so we should probably start this off by saying that we are One Direction trash. We are huge fans of them, but we need to admit that our faves are problematic, especially this song.

You cannot steal a girl because she is not yours. You need to trust her and you cannot say she "belongs to" you. If you were to say that she belongs with you that would be acceptable. But "to" you? No. Women are not prizes to be won. Again, and this is the third or fourth time we have mentioned this. We are not objects. We are human beings. And though this song is problematic, we still love our boys. Even if we are still confused as to why Danny Devito is here and what is even going on?

11. "Rude" (2014) by MAGIC!

You can read the lyrics here.

We started out hating everything about this song and video. The whole "Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life?/Say yes, say yes 'cause I need to know." I'm glad you need to know, but have you asked her? Why do you need to ask her dad permission? He doesn't own her, and neither do you. She's not something to be traded. She is not an object you can hand off. Again with the objectification!

But then after watching the video, we just ended up hating the dad. They got married yet the father wouldn't even attend the wedding? What is this? The singer was just trying to be respectful about your beliefs. He's so right: "Why you gotta be so rude?"

12. "Dear Future Husband" (2015) by Meghan Trainor

You can read the lyrics here.

This whole housewife stereotype is getting old. First Nicki, then Meghan? Meghan Trainor is very problematic, but that's a whole other article. But this song does not help her case. She promises to cook and clean and be the perfect housewife, if he treats her right? He should be treating her right anyway. She also keeps turning the men in the video away for pointless reasons. Because they are not strong enough? Because she got seasick? This is instilling another harmful sterotype that guys need to be this hyper-masculine, dominant, and tough guy in order for her to like him. She is setting us back 60 years, and we do not appreciate it.

13. "What Do You Mean?" (2015) by Justin Bieber

You can read the lyrics here.

"What do you mean? When you nod your head yes But you wanna say no?" Okay Justin. We're not rocket scientists, but we're pretty sure that means no. If you're unsure if she is saying yes, then just assume it's a no. Why are you so confused? You call her indecisive but we think you are the one who is conflicted, when you shouldn't be. No means no, and the absence of a no does not mean a yes. If you know she wants to say no, then why don't you just stop?

Also, what even is this video? He paid some guy to abuduct him and his girlfriend? And she does not look like she knows what is going on. You probably scarred her for life. So Justin, what does this video even mean? Because we're confused and we would like some answers.

14. "Back to Sleep" (2015) by Chris Brown

You can read the lyrics here.

Just let me rock, fuck you back to sleep girl
Don't say a word no (no, don't you talk)

This is date rape. Consent in sex needs to be vocal and continuous. He wants to fuck her back to sleep and doesn't want her to talk? Chris, we know you're not the poster boy for being a great boyfriend, but c'mon. This is just wrong and borderline creepy. Okay this isn't borderline anything. There was a clear line and you crossed it. Rape culture in pop culture needs to stop.

Oh and by the way... She has work in the morning. Don't make her wake up at 3:30 in the morning, put on lingerie, do your thing, then ask her to call in sick. She is not there to please you and make sure you are satisified.

Oh and last thing, what was the crazy shit that happened? You mention it then it's never resolved. Chris we're confused and need answers.

15. "Hotline Bling" (2016) by Drake

You can read the lyrics here.

'Cause ever since I left the city,
you started wearing less and goin' out more
Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor
Hangin' with some girls I've never seen befor

So she was a good girl, now she wears less? And has friends? Drake. Let her live. And when you say "hotline bling," you clearly mean booty calls. But did you ever define the relationship? Because if you didn't, then you need to get over yourself. She can do what she wants with who she wants, and your opinion is irrelevant.

Also, what is this dancing? You're like a drunkle (drunk uncle). You need to stop before you become a meme.

Too late.

By Shelbie Barney and Kaitlynn Bartley

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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