Oh, how well my writing class was going... until my professor started talking about politics.
I love when people who know absolutely nothing about politics begin lecturing everyone about their politics. Because self-righteous professors who think they know it all are so fun, right?
It was a normal day in my writing class. I came to class and sat down. Our first essay is to write about a song that we think is culturally significant and explain why it is.
So, for the past couple of classes, we had been analyzing songs. My professor was really cool, chill, funny, kind, attentive, caring, and considerate. Basically, he was an awesome professor who cared about teaching and his students and made writing class interesting and fun. So far, I was enjoying the class and I liked the professor.
Until he began lecturing us on politics. It went downhill from there.
We were listening to a song called "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by the band Jet. It was a typical rock song, with the earsplitting screams, loud persistent guitar, and booming drums. The song was basically about this egotistical, misogynistic, and borderline-abusive man trying to get with this girl who was clearly not interested.
Personally, I didn't like the song. But it's catchy and mundane enough that I could see how it could be a hit.
We began analyzing the song and I was agreeing with my professor completely until the end. We all agreed that the man in the song was a jerk and a prick for making unwanted moves on a girl who wasn't into him.
But then my professor began lecturing us on how the song enforced a patriarchal misogynistic worldview and that because this song was popular, that meant that the sexist undertones of the song were infiltrating the youth.
Basically, it was the GamerGate argument, wherein playing violent video games will make you violent, or watching sexually-objectified women in video games would make you sexist and misogynistic towards women in real life.
My professor continued by saying that because this song was a hit, it meant that we lived in a patriarchal society that values men more than women and that this song was enforcing this entire idea. He then brought up the gender wage gap as more proof that gender inequality exists.
I have several problems with this argument. I could feel myself fuming as he delivered his moral diatribe. I was too scared to say anything at the moment for fear of being humiliated in class for my differing opinion, but in the "safe-ish" zone of Odyssey, I might as well document my experience.
Firstly, the idea that media of any sort (video games, movies, TV shows, songs, etc.) can affect how we act in society is a complicated argument.
We choose to take certain things from what we watch, not all. We might choose to take lessons, or facts, or enjoyment from the things we watch/listen/hear, but it's never as clear-cut as watching a man harass women on TV and then going into real society and performing the same act.
Scientific studies have shown that violent video games and video games that "sexually objectify" women don't lead to the players themselves becoming violent or sexist. Gamers and people, in general, know to separate media from the real world.
What you see in the media is almost never replicable in reality.
The same goes for songs; how many rap songs have you heard that refer to women constantly as "bitches" and refer to these women in a derogatory manner? Probably thousands, because much of rap music takes this derogatory manner towards women.
And I'm not saying this because I want you to hate rap music. Rap music has its appeals and I can see why many people like it. I'm just saying that you can't claim that listening to rap music doesn't make you sexist and then say that playing violent video games makes you violent.
People listen to music because it does something personally for them. It can be anything from the lyrics to the delivery to the instrumentals. Many times, people like music even when they can't or don't understand the lyrics of a certain song.
Sometimes people even like a song that they know has offensive and demeaning lyrics because, to them, it's just a "good" song.
Music works like that and it's okay.
It's the same with video games and media in general. Gamers play video games for the thrill of doing things that they wouldn't normally do in the real world. Once they're done with a game, they return to the real world, just as they were before.
So, to say that a sexist song is enforcing a patriarchal culture and influencing our youth is just an over-analyzation. It's really just a song, and people know the difference between some angsty jerk screaming about wanting a girl and actually respecting women.
Usually, when you like a song, you don't analyze the lyrics to decipher the meaning behind it, you just listen to it because you like it. I'm sure that if you actually analyzed every song you liked you'd find issues with many songs. There are troublesome lyrics that could be misconstrued a thousand different ways with any song.
Lastly, the use of the gender pay gap really irked me. Using the wage gap to explain that we live in a patriarchal society is pathetic evidence. I actually did a year-long project making a video and doing the research debunking the gender wage gap.
Long story short: the pay gap is not due to sexism, just the individual choices between men and women.
I'll make an article later entirely dedicated to debunking the wage gap backed by research.
Overall, nice try professor. You were really nice. I even started to like you and it was only the second week of classes. I don't hate you, and don't get me wrong, I still like you.
But you're in a position of power, and this is how you choose to use it? By miseducating the next generation and furthering your agenda by lecturing us about your political beliefs? I'm disappointed.