What is the Most Misogynistic Song You Know Of?
April 3, 2008 5:00 PM   Subscribe

What is the most profoundly, deeply misogynistic song you know of? I mean... more than adolescent power fantasy, more than schoolyard potty-mouth "suck my dick, bitch" crudity... I'm looking for songs that expose an attitude towards and estimation of women that is viscerally repulsive, distressingly aberrant and frightening... [Sorry 'bout the length, feel free to skim.]

Am I saying that "suck my dick, bitch" and its scurrilous ilk aren't frightening? Hell no. Of course they are. But the most frightening thing about it (to me) is A)that our culture so eagerly consumes it, after having laid down and allowed demand for this type of entertainment to be manufactured in a crass and calculating way by record labels, and B)that children have grown up with these attitudes modeled as normal or esteemable. I don't want anyone thinking that I think this kind of shit is "no big deal" or "not real misogyny". It is a big deal. BUT... there's a whole 'nother level it can get taken to.

When Dr. Dre crafts a song with a chorus of "Bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks," he's contributing to the problem and exposing some fucked-up ideas about women... but, damaging as it may be, he's responding to a market demand first and foremost. He's making escapist fantasy music for frat parties, not baring his soul of his demons. If the market was different and it made him more money to prance around in lipstick and mascara, he'd have done that instead (hint: he did).

I want to know some songs that make you stop dead in your tracks and say this person's ideas/message is utterly fucked up, reprehensible, and alarming.

I'm writing an essay in which I advance the thesis that Cody ChesnuTT's song "Serve This Royalty" (YouTube Part 1, Part 2... Looks like someone's video-editing school project) is the most misogynistic English-language song ever recorded (for like... a hundred-billion terrifying reasons). I want to test my faith in my thesis by hearing any and all songs you think might challenge it.

(I also think the song is a pretty... amazing piece of songwriting. So be forewarned. This song might create Armageddon-level amounts of inner-turmoil and conflict if you end up loving/hating it...)

If I can make one suggestion designed to stop a potential devolution into shit-slinging: If we could stay completely away from A.) "oh, come on... that's really not that bad..." B.) "Yeah, but that song is a masterpiece..." and C.) "your favorite band sucks..." it might help our discourse and save our feelings. In MetaFilter, as in real life, all hell breaks loose when people are told what they should or shouldn't be offended by. If you think someone's being a petulant, hypersensitive ninny just bottle it up, take deep breaths, bite your tongue, and then go home and kick your dog or something. MetaFilter can and has handled gender/sexism well in the past*, and I hope we can do it now.

(* We got absolutely no hope for weight/obesity discussions, tho'... Those will forever turn to pure shit... [and thanks for your input.])
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Media & Arts (87 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This thread is turning into a hate-on and a chatfilter discussion of misogyny. It started out on a bad foot thanks to putitng "suck it bitch" on the front page of AskMe and then became a thread full of vile invectives where people continued to post lyrics after we asked you to post links. At this point it's in MetaTalk, maybe we can continue this discussion there, it's just gross and unpleasant in here. -- jessamyn

 
And... before THIS argument can sprout its wings: Misogyny is most assuredly NOT exclusively a hip-hop thing and it is not at all a "recent" phenomena. This shit has been going on for years... and across all pop-music idioms. (thanks again)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 5:00 PM on April 3, 2008


Sink the Pink
posted by KokuRyu at 5:03 PM on April 3, 2008


The song Baby It's Cold Outside is a classic tale of date rape that I still sing along to even if thinking about the lyrics totally creeps me out.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:04 PM on April 3, 2008 [17 favorites]


I want to know some songs that make you stop dead in your tracks and say this person's ideas/message is utterly fucked up, reprehensible, and alarming.

Ah, sorry, upon listening to it again, Sink the Pink makes me stop dead in my tracks and rock out.

However, I have found Pantera's lyrics to be reprehensible.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:06 PM on April 3, 2008


I think the most misogynistic song I've ever heard is Eminem's '97 Bonnie and Clyde. It's a detailed fantasy about slaughtering and disposing of his baby daughter's mother. Bonus - it's as told to the little girl. "There goes Mama! Splashin' in the water! No more fightin with dad! No more restraining order!"
posted by moxiedoll at 5:10 PM on April 3, 2008


I can't find it right now, but there was an AskMe some time ago asking for the dirtiest rap lyrics. I think there was a MeTa about it, too, since some people wanted it deleted. I can't seem to find the right magic combination of search terms to dig it up right away. I'll keep looking for a bit, though.

Paging Jessamyn...
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:11 PM on April 3, 2008


Here 'tis!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:15 PM on April 3, 2008


This previous thread might help you out in your search.
posted by hellopanda at 5:16 PM on April 3, 2008


I always thought Nickelback's Figured You Out had some pretty creepy lines in it:

And I love your lack of self-respect
While you passed out on the deck
I love my hands around your neck
posted by whoaali at 5:18 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am not convinced that this is terribly misogynistic, but lots of people seem to think so. J-Shin's Baby Mama Drama. He makes a lot of valid points about bitches bein' crazy and baby mamas startin' trouble, and being responsible for taking care of his kid, but if you are looking for something that is reasonable that might be interpreted by feminists as being terrible beyond all explanation, this might be your ticket.
posted by milqman at 5:22 PM on April 3, 2008


There's a lot of obscenity in the Snoop Dog song "Ain't No Fun," but it's these verses that are a little chilling (made worse by the fact of how catchy the song is):

I had respect for ya lady
But now I take it all back
...
Cause I have never
met a girl
That I love
in the whole wide world
posted by Bookhouse at 5:26 PM on April 3, 2008


Kev's Courting Song
posted by kanemano at 5:30 PM on April 3, 2008




Geto Boys - I'm Not a Gentleman
Vandals - Slap of Love
posted by porn in the woods at 5:33 PM on April 3, 2008


I think the most misogynistic song I've ever heard is Eminem's '97 Bonnie and Clyde.

A minor quibble: Something isn't necessarily misogynistic just because it speaks of violence against a woman. To Eminem's credit, the song (as reprehensible or inappropriate as it is) isn't about hating women, it's about hating a woman.

Anyway, my vote goes to "It's So Easy" by Guns n' Roses:
Ya get nothin' for nothin'
If that's what ya do
Turn around bitch I got a use for you
Besides you ain't got nothin' better to do
And I'm bored
posted by dhammond at 5:36 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Okay, I don't know that this is exactly "misogynistic" but it certainly reinforces long outdated ideologies about women and sex. More Than Words by Extreme. Wrap it up in a pretty pop ballad however you want, but the glamorization of "if you loved me, you would fuck me" just creates additional pressure on young women (or any woman really) who is negotiating the waters of responsible sexuality. And I am no proponent of abstinence until marriage. But this wildly popular song (well, at least in 1990) drove me crazy every time I heard it.
posted by kimdog at 5:36 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss) by The Crystals. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

(Yeah, allegedly it's supposed to be against domestic violence, but seriously, listen to the lyrics. It's like saying Tarantino is against violence.)

He hit me and it felt like a kiss
He hit me but it didn't hurt me
He couldn't stand to hear me say
That I'd been with someone new
And when I told him I had been untrue
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
He hit me and I knew he loved me
Cause if he didn't care for me
I could have never made him mad
He hit me and I was glad
Baby won't you stay...
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
He hit me and I knew I loved him
Cause when he took me in his arms
With all the tenderness there is
He hit me and he made me feel
Baby won't you stay...
posted by The World Famous at 5:37 PM on April 3, 2008


Perhaps ambiguous, but He hit me (And it felt like a kiss) certainly pushes some buttons.
posted by wilko at 5:43 PM on April 3, 2008


Tom Jones' Delilah is basically about murdering a woman because she's cheated on him.

She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:43 PM on April 3, 2008


Should the musicians' real-world behavior color our readings? 'Super Freak' isn't the most misogynistic song ever written, but when you consider... yeah.

(On preview: there's a Spiritualized song called 'She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit).' I love that title.)
posted by box at 5:43 PM on April 3, 2008


Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones
posted by The World Famous at 5:48 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


During the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, Howard Stern aired a misogynistic and racist song, a duet parodying a fictional exchange between "Clarence Thomas" and "Anita Hill". In a very "Amos n' Andy" accent, "Thomas" sings his accusation in a sort of "Negro" dialect,
Anita Hill, she am a bitch;
She am a liar,
She am a snitch.
"Hill", also portrayed as an ignorant dialect speaker, responds with a shrill counterpoint, "Oh no I ain't".

The song continues in this vein for several stanzas involving, among other things, rhyming the lines "Is dat a pubic hair -- upon my Coke?" and "Have you ever had -- sex with a goat?" All, of course, in racially stereotyped 'Bama voices and dialect at odds with the educational backgrounds and real accents of Thomas and Hill.
posted by orthogonality at 5:53 PM on April 3, 2008


jjj (etc.)'s preamble made a fascinating statement about what Dr. Dre might do if the market asked him to. Another way to look at it though is this: the market for drag acts DOES exist and is quite big, but Monsieur Dre doesn't do it cause he ain't a transvestite. The market for nice, soulful, supportive lyrics about women also DOES exist. But The Dre doesn't do it cause he ain't a real woman -lover. He really does think they are "hos" and "bitches."
posted by yazi at 5:59 PM on April 3, 2008


[comment or two removed - please stick to suggestions and you'd do us all a favor if you can link to really hateful lyrics and not post them inline, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:02 PM on April 3, 2008


obviously nthing eminem's '97 bonnie and clyde. That song was masterful in its ability to shock me when I thought I'd heard it all.
posted by rooftop secrets at 6:05 PM on April 3, 2008


of course there's also Insane Clown Posse's "Bitches" with the refrain: 'Girl you know I love you but now ya gotta die'
posted by rooftop secrets at 6:07 PM on April 3, 2008


Too $hort is great for general non-violent misogyny.
posted by kcm at 6:09 PM on April 3, 2008


I submit that pretty much anything by GG Allin or The Mentors would fit the description, though they barely qualify as "songs."

Nickelback's "Figure You Out" was the most accurate description of the power dynamics of an abusive relationship I'd ever heard. I guess the guy could be "playing a character" but it was a little too boastful and subtle (most songs that go that route are pretty ham-fisted.) The first time I heard it my jaw dropped. It takes a lot to offend me, but that song made me angry.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:19 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Frank Grimes: Did I miss something in the video? There was a guy on a bike...

Yeah, the images you see have nothing to do with Cody Chesnutt. That's what I was trying to allude to with the "someone's school-project" explanation, but looking back now, I made that about as clear as mud and could've worded it better. Fact is: It's not a very popular or well-known song, and that video was the only way I could stream the music. Video's got nothing to do with the songwriter.

As far as why I think it's the most misogynistic song... It's not any one thing, but it's how several things work together to pretty much check off every item on the list of "ways to oppress women". I'll try to give some very rough sketches:

Start with the third sung line:

You got to serve this royalty/
Believin' in me and my dreams is serving this royalty right/
Trust what I say and what I see and we can get it/
The dream is real, you can serve this royalty/
Leave your mama's house, make her proud, serve this royalty right


(your feathers should start to be riling up right now, but in case you were going to give him the benefit of the doubt...) Then the chorus, a very elegant summary of how a misogynist (in this example, a pimp it would seem) manages to resolve his sainted momma and those dispicable cows he robs for his livelyhood:

Thank you Jesus for my mama/and thank you bitches, for my money

That was overt. But... it doesn't go full-steam over-the-cliff until the spoken-word interlude that C.C.'s cousin provides in the middle. In full-on, raspy, smooth-talking pimp-who-just-found-a-runaway-at-the-busstation voice, he intones, slimy with manipulation:

I can tell you're looking for some answers/
you're searching for that, uh, that window of opportunity you've heard so much about/
Well I'm the one that's gonna lead you to that window baby, but uh.../
You gots to help me help you/
the dream of it all is real... the promise is real/
but we ain't gonna get it without your courage and your sacrifice/


Oh... and then the repeated chant at the end of the song acting as commentary on every line of the chorus as if some... cult deprogramming:

You gotta believe in me

So, what do we got? I checked all of the following: Woman as transferable property ("leave your momma's house" and go to his house and be his servant), Woman's highest aspiration being domestic duties (it's how you "Serve this royalty right", after all...) Woman as host for economic parasite ("thank you Bitches for my money"), Woman as fundamentally second-class citizen (He's "royalty", but what the fuck is she?) Woman's destiny as eternally sacrificing for others ("your courage and your sacrifice..."), Generational propogation of gender roles (leave your momma's house and "make her proud" by becoming his servant... and let's not forget his own sainted momma), Woman's ambition entirely eclipsed by her man's ambitions ("Believin in me and my dreams"). There's a bunch more but those were the low-hanging fruit.

So... yeah, there's not any one thing that makes this so misogynistic in my mind... it's just how many bases it has (thoroughly) covered... Am I making any sense?
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:20 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm curious what exactly this is for? Is it for a school assignment or professional academia? If so, I don't think you'll have much luck with saying any song is "the most misogynistic English language song ever recorded." It's just an impossible thesis to defend, exactly because someone can always come up with a similarly fucked up song, and try to argue that it's more misogynistic. I'm sorry to not directly answer your question, but you did state that you are trying to "test [your] faith in [your] thesis", and I'm just hoping that this comment will be useful to you by helping you question your thesis. I think that you are on a good track, but need to take it down a notch, while still claiming something strong that isn't too easy to defend.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:32 PM on April 3, 2008


gauchodaspampas: I'm curious what exactly this is for? Is it for a school assignment or professional academia? If so, I don't think you'll have much luck with saying any song is "the most misogynistic English language song ever recorded."

It's for music nerds to argue over... also a wire-frame upon which to hang my own (brilliant) insights on contemporary gender roles.

I'd no more try to tackle this in any empirical way or for any academic purpose than try "Why Albert Pujols is the Best First Baseman of All Time" or "My Dad: Way Stronger than Your Dad."
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:42 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


The way I read the question, "Every breath you take" by The Police fits better than '97 Bonnie and Clyde, not for what it was allegedly written to be, but for being frequently taken as a love song.
posted by springload at 6:45 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would submit the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb":

Under my thumb
The squirmin dog whos just had her day
Under my thumb
A girl who has just changed her ways

Its down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what shes told
Down to me, the change has come
Shes under my thumb
Ah, ah, say its alright

posted by beagle at 6:49 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm Your Boyfriend Now

You will not criticise me, or advise me
You will not eat crsips or chocolate
If your weight exceeds eight and a half stone I will sack you
When we go into town on Saturdays
I shall not accompony you into high street fashion stores or any other clothes shops
I will go to Halfords, HSS Tool Hire and Dixons
You can meet me later having bought Sandwiches
Sandwiches which are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


A song that manages to be both misogynistic and hilarious ;)
posted by DecemberRaine at 6:59 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


I guess my request for clarity got deleted, but now that I can read the lyrics instead of watching the guy on the bike, I see what you're saying.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:00 PM on April 3, 2008


Alrighty. Well, in that case it seems reasonable. It's always fun to argue over indefensible theses on the internet (I sort of mean that and sort of don't. You can just pay attention to the part of me that does mean that, because I don't want to derail. That is the part of me that would, and does, engage in such debates myself).

Some thoughts I have: I see what mandyman... is trying to say about "Baby it's cold outside". But there are some key phrases that to me make it pretty obvious that it's not a date-rape situation. Lines like "I ought to say no", "the neighbors might think", all the ones about her family, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow.../ At least there will be plenty implied" all make it seem that the female's main concern is what others would think. On those grounds, you could argue it's a sex-positive feminist song, because it shows that everyone else should just mind their own business and not be uptight about what someone else does in the bedroom. Also, the line "I wish I knew how.../ To break this spell" confirms that she is not morally against having sex that night, but rather, knows that others would disapprove. And, not to mention that most of those lines that I quoted first imply that there might not actually be any "impropriety" and that she is indeed thinking about staying because it's nasty out. Of course that could be her rationalizing staying.

"He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" raises my eyebrows too. I guess I could sort of see how it could be claimed to be anti-violence. You could say that it is just from the perspective of a woman who stays with her man partly out of fear (this part I just assume, but there's not much to back it up in the lyrics) and partly because she does love this guy, because he had to manipulate her into loving him before he could use his violence against her. And I think just about anybody hearing/reading the song would react pretty strongly by saying "just leave the ass hole. He is completely manipulating you in order to hurt you". And that is probably exactly how the songwriters want you to react.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 7:04 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is a whole genre of old (traditional) songs that basically follow this storyline:
  • Man sees young woman, or girl.
  • Man sweet talks.
  • They have sex.
  • He gets up, puts on his clothes, and says "Been fun, see ya!"
  • She says "But you promised you would marry me!"
  • He says something along the lines of "Sorry, I don't think my wife would be cool with that. Bye!"
  • She kills herself, or "brings shame" nine months later, or is otherwise perceived as now being worthless, shameful, and to blame, with her life completely ruined.
These songs always bother me in more than one way: First of all, there's the obvious surface-level misogyny, the idea that a woman who has had sex is worthless, et cetera.

Second, on another level, I get the impression that at the time that these songs were written, they were at least partially a warning to girls: You are worthless if you give it up. It's your fault. Your life is ruined. Kill yourself.

That totally skeeves me out.

Some examples (not all following exactly the same plotline, but the gist is the same for all of them): Elvis Costello's version of the Butcher Boy can't really be included in this list, because he has removed the whole "She's not a virgin anymore, and by the way, she's pregnant" aspect, thus transforming it into a mere tragic unrequited love song. But I include it here as a side note, because it kicks ass.

On some level, I like all of these songs. But at the same time, they skeeve me out.
posted by Flunkie at 7:10 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not getting the claim of misogyny in the Eminem song or in "Every Breath You Take". There's a difference between "fucked up and about a woman" (or, in the case of the Eminem song, "totally fucked up and about a woman") and "misogynistic".
posted by Flunkie at 7:19 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


cock mobster - mc paul barman
posted by phil at 7:32 PM on April 3, 2008


Extra points for being written by men to be sung by women (Dianne Warwick and then more famously Dusty Spingfield): Wishin' and Hopin'. After all that voluntary subjugation, after wearing your hair "just for him" and holding and squeezing and kissing and loving and doing "the things he likes to do" (ahem!) will he be yours? No! "You will be his."
posted by nicwolff at 7:40 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, I think the other guy doing the Butcher Boy in that video with the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem is Pete Seeger, but I'm not 100% sure.
posted by Flunkie at 7:43 PM on April 3, 2008


Johnny Cash's Delia's Gone

First time I shot her I shot her in the side
Hard to watch her suffer
But with the second shot she died
posted by InkaLomax at 7:49 PM on April 3, 2008


"Honey Hush" by Big Joe Turner:

Come in this house, stop all that yackety yack
Come in this house, stop all that yackety yack
Come fix my supper, don't want no talkin' back
(...)
Come in this house, stop all that yackety yack
Come in here woman, stop all that yackety yack
Don't make me nervous 'cause I'm holdin' a baseball bat


I was in a band once that did a really rockin' version of "Honey Hush", but I was still a bit uncomfortable with it.
posted by litlnemo at 8:03 PM on April 3, 2008


Perhaps some of the awful crap by the Teenagers? Warning myspace obnoxious hipster misogyny ahead.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:08 PM on April 3, 2008


I understand the objections to the Eminem song, but I stand by it. I thought of it when I got to the part of the question where the asker asked I want to know some songs that make you stop dead in your tracks and say this person's ideas/message is utterly fucked up, reprehensible, and alarming. Eminem is someone I dig in a lot of ways - and it's arguably ridiculous to spin this elaborate story about a living woman and to perform the piece in baby talk - but it still creeps me the fuck out. To me, it's threatening. I don't know of any songs that are hateful of women in general - and I'm having trouble imagining how a song about all women could be as creepy as a song, as many of these recommendations are, about punishing one woman in particular. Even the song we've been invited to compete with is about prostitutes - not all women.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:10 PM on April 3, 2008


2nding Snoop Dogg's Ain't no fun. In fact, the whole album Doggystyle. The whole is more than the sum of its parts --- it's not any particular line, but the whole album that somehow conveys this very compelling worldview which has a particularly cold, predatory view towards women.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2008


Johnny Cash's Delia's Gone
Again, I don't get why that's necessarily misogyny. Can a man not be a murdering bastard who kills his cheating lover, unless he furthermore hates women in general?

In any case, this is another example of a traditional genre - man professes love for woman that he kills. See also Dave Alvin's "Delia" (same name and theme, but significantly different lyrics and song), as well as a whole slew of songs about killing her by a riverside ("Banks of Red Roses", "Banks of the Ohio", uhhh... others I know exist but am forgetting..., errr, not exactly traditional, but Down by the River).
posted by Flunkie at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2008


moxiedoll: Even the song we've been invited to compete with is about prostitutes - not all women.

To be fair... it's not ever made explicit that he's talking to a prostitute, and some passages of the song would actually suggest that she's not being portrayed as one. I think that a few things in the song suggest a rather pimp-like bent to the man depicted (notably "thank you bitches, for my money"), but that's far from sufficient to draw the conclusion. Many men I've known have mooched their livelyhoods off of (sometimes several, conterminous) women.

So in that sense she can actually do pretty well as a placeholder for the "set of all women"--at least in as much as the male lead seems to regard the function and utility of women.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 8:21 PM on April 3, 2008


I gotta second The Mentors.
posted by cazoo at 8:40 PM on April 3, 2008


The Beatles' "Run for Your Life" (which stole a line from this Elvis song). To me, "Under My Thumb" is more of a revenge song.
posted by brujita at 9:00 PM on April 3, 2008


Delving way back to a cool class I once took called "Folk and Popular Music," there's a whole genre of songs called "murdered-girl ballads." The Johny Cash song, mentioned a time or two in the thread, is a good example. They all have more or less the same storyline, and they're often stark and frightening, especially the more straight-forward ones that lack any real explanation of motivation. The guilt of the murderer is often the focus. But, sometimes, there's not much mention of that either.
posted by wheat at 9:06 PM on April 3, 2008


Maybe not the most misogynistic -- there is a lot of competition for that distinction -- but Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues" should get a mention:
I sent for my baby, and she don't come
I sent for my baby, man, and she don't come
All the doctors in Hot Springs sure can't help her none

And if she gets unruly, thinks she don't want do
If she gets unruly, and thinks she don't want do
Take my 32-20, and cut her half in two
Unlike the other examples of "killing my cheating lover", in this song he refers to hurting her for disobedience first. Only later in the song (after he threatens to send her to the hospital and/or shoot her) does he suggest that she strayed.
posted by edverb at 9:06 PM on April 3, 2008


How about Kinky Friedman's "Get Your Biscuits In The Oven and Your Buns In Bed"? Lyrics here and song here.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:10 PM on April 3, 2008


Eminem says some of the most controversial things of any popular musician I know of. As someone who's not a fan of rap I can only claim a passing familiarity with his music but I think he has three songs that seal his place as being (or at least having the persona) one of the great misogynists of the last decade.

Example #1: Kill You from the Marshall Mathers LP (2000):

Slut, you think I won't choke no whore
till the vocal cords don't work in her throat no more


And while these aren't the most shocking lyrics in the song I think you could argue quite effectively that they evidence a casual attitude about sexual violence towards women:

I ain't ask to rap, but I rap on acid
Got a new blow-up probe and just had a strap-on added
WHOOPS! Is that a subliminal hint? NO!
Just criminal intent to sodomize women again



Example #2: '97 Bonnie and Clyde from the Marshall Mathers LP (2000).

See Moxiedoll's post from earlier in the thread. Summary: In the song he's disposing of his wife's body while he's telling his daughter what's going on and why her mom deserved it.


Example #3 Kim from the Marshall Mathers LP (2000). Probably the most shocking song I know of. In this song he kills his wife in front of his baby.

Come on we're going for a ride bitch
Sit up front
(Well I can't just leave Haley alone, what if she wakes up?)
We'll be right back
Well I will you'll be in the trunk


And then the conclusion:

So now they both dead and you slash your own throat
So now it's double homicide and suicide with no note
...
You can't run from me Kim
It's just us, nobody else!
You're only making this harder on yourself
Ha! Ha! Got'cha! (Ahh!)
Ha! Go ahead yell!
Here I'll scream with you!
Ah somebody help!
Don't you get it bitch, no one can hear you?
Now shut the fuck up and get what's comin' to you
You were supposed to love me
[choking noises]
Now bleed bitch, bleed!
Bleed bitch, bleed!
Bleed!


I'm going to go take a shower now.
posted by meditative_zebra at 9:13 PM on April 3, 2008


I have to agree that the Eminem song isn't misogynistic, that isn't to say it isn't terrifying in its level of rage, violence, and hatred, but to me the song is about his hatred of this one particular woman, and really has nothing to do with a general hatred of women or some female characteristic of Kim that he is lashing out against. His rage is pretty clearly focused entirely on her as a person and his (former) wife, calling her a bitch is the only even misogynistic thing about it.

All I can say is I'm glad he let it out in a song, and didn't act on it instead.
posted by whoaali at 9:35 PM on April 3, 2008


The ChesnuTT song doesn't seem even remotely misogynistic to me. It's sexist as all hell but that's not the same thing. For something to be misogynistic it has to display a hatred for womankind. Your example does not offer that, even slightly.

As an example, the statement "It's a woman's job to serve men" is not misogynistic, but sexist.

Your track is merely "logic" from the point of view of a sexist.

I could be wrong but you seem bent on trying to prove a song that's "subtle" in its lyrics (as opposed to overt, like many of the examples given) is the "most" misogynistic and that's clouding your judgement. To me, something can't be more misogynistic than something else any more than something can be more unique than something else. Something is either misogynistic or it isn't. "Simple" as that.

If you're looking for something with subtle lyrics, I'd present I Break Horses by Smog, one of my very favorite tracks:

Well i rode out to the ocean
And the water looked like tarnished gold
I rode out on a broken horse
Who told me she'd never felt so old
She asked me if i'd feed her
And ride her now and then

No no no, no no no, no no no
I break horses
I don't tend to them
I break horses
They seem to come to me
Asking to be broken
They seem to run to me
I break horses
Doesn't take me long
Just a few well-placed words
And their wandering hearts are gone

At first her warmth felt good between my legs
Living breathing heart-beating flesh
But soon that warmth turned to an itch
Turned to a scratch
Turned to a gash
I break horses
I don't tend to them

Tonight i'm swimming to my favorite island
And i don't want to see you swimming behind
Tonight i'm swimming to my favorite island
And i don't want to see you swimming behind
No i break horses
I don't tend to them

***

He's recorded the song a number of times. My favorite is the live John Peel Sessions version which I can't seem to find online. Here's one on youtube though that's pretty damn close to the one I love.
posted by dobbs at 9:46 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


To the folks strongly lobbying for Eminem...

I disagree with y'all... I'm not trying to say you're wrong or anything, and I'm not trying to be the "let me teach y'all about something" guy, but, well... Let me give you something to contextualize Eminem that might add to your take on him--it's actually a little bit relieving.

Before his first album (Slim Shady LP), I knew of him from a roommate who had the college radio station's hip-hop show. Before Eminem was "Big, Iconic, Megastar Eminem", he was a hard-working, demo-mailing, tireless self-promoting machine with an impressive work-rate and what seemed to be a very admirable passion for distributing his material and getting it played on college radio.

He was a (very talented and sometimes absolutely mind-blowing, but nonetheless) white rapper. Before this became one of his biggest assets... it was initially something that kind of worked against him while doing more traditional hip-hop self-management and self-promotion. Remember... I mean, at that point you had, what... 3rd Bass, uh... Milkbone... I'm trying to say "a paucity of white guys" and a reluctance to push them.

Now... meet a sub-genre of hiphop that was fairly popular at the time. "Horrorcore." This is sort of a wink/nudge slyly humorous, self-parodying and very self-aware offshoot of hip-hop that is more or less going head to head trying to be the "crazyiest" and "darkest"... but with tongue firmly in-cheek. Think "garbage pail kids", not "tortured goths."

Bingo... Eminem finds his way to separate himself and distinguish himself as a white rapper thru this fringe element. It wouldn't have worked as well as it did if he wasn't preter-fucking-naturally good at doing it. I mean... fantastic at it. BUT, it got his foot into doors with conservative or traditional hip-hop promotional channels. It was like it was a bit of an easier pill to take, if you're the College Radio Festival Director... Signing this white rapper up for "SummerFestJamboree97" is a safer bet if he's more or less... "quarantining" himself to this peripheral thing and kind of staying out of the "core" cherished regions of hip-hop where it might be a... riskier move.

What does any of this have to do with his misogyny not moving me tremendously? Well. Because at its most extreme moments... it's an act. I mean, when you look at the contemporaries in this VERY self-aware and VERY humorous and self-indulgent sliver of hip-hop at the time... you'd see that they were going for "gross out."

The RZArecta didn't want to hypnotize fans and make them chop off their own heads with an axe... RBX didn't want to "crack your chest-plate open to release [your] guts" for later consumption... Ganksta Nip's blood didn't turn hot-pink after midnight... and he damn sure didn't marry a dead horse. Bushwick Bill... well... actually he might've been a fucking psychotic. But the rest were sane.

So... my point: Eminem's misogyny. Utterly tasteless, offensive... no doubt masking an opinion of women that could be improved in many ways. But an act at the extreme moments. It paid (pays) his bills (very well). Getting hyper sketched out about the man's personal misogyny is like getting scared for a month after seeing a horror movie. You're supposed to be scared while you're hearing it, but you can let it go. S'not real. Now a psycho hiding in your closet and watching you sleep. That's more real-life scary... and more like (metaphor for) the misogyny I'm looking for.

Just trying to give background that you can add to your understanding, or completely ignore. I am totally not trying to be a dick about this, and I hope I didn't come across that way. Jesus Christ, I need to learn how to make shorter, more efficient posts/arguments.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 9:56 PM on April 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


dobbs: The ChesnuTT song doesn't seem even remotely misogynistic to me. It's sexist as all hell but that's not the same thing. For something to be misogynistic it has to display a hatred for womankind. Your example does not offer that, even slightly.

Hair-splitting pedantry, a willful self-delusion, or possibly both.

I'm taking a risk here... the risk taken by any critique that relies on projecting behaviors of created characters outside of the space they occupy in a narrative. But, then again, I might not be, because my perception of a misogynistic song has everything to do with how a certain thing strikes me--as flawed as that is. BUT...

Guys that treat a woman like that, say things like that to a woman... are misogynists... I'm going 96/100. And the remaining 4 are fucking sociopaths. This isn't "woman, get back in the kitchen!". This is "become subhuman for me". You can't do that to a person you don't hate. The people who say otherwise are usually the people who think that their ancestors "took real good care" of their slaves... "treated them like family", and were "loved and respected in return."

(Hope I'm not coming across as combative. I've been a big fan of your commentary, dobbs, for quite a while... and respect your opinion, even while disagreeing.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:11 PM on April 3, 2008


Hey, JJJ(etc.).... I definitely don't think you're a "dick". Let me say that this re: Eminem's body of work.... I don't know if it's real or not, but I lean toward real. I said above that I dig him, and I could defend him all day.... but if his creepy work is all about Debbie, and Kim, and Ronnie, and Hailie - well, why do I know all of those names? I was never a big fan, but all of his work *explicitly* works through his own family dramas. And I take that seriously, because it's an odd thing to do. This thread inspired me to seek out some of his songs again, and I found this track, which I'd never heard before:

Superman

It's NSFW, misogynistic, and sad as hell.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:25 PM on April 3, 2008


Previously on AskMeFi.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:28 PM on April 3, 2008


No time to read all the above responses, but hopefully by now someone's mentioned BB King's Paying the Cost to Be the Boss. I love his music, but this song is appallingly misogynistic. He essentially tells his sick wife not to let a doctor into the house, because as long as he's paying the bills, he's paying the cost to be the boss.
posted by twirlypen at 10:36 PM on April 3, 2008


It's Now or Never, by Elvis Presley.

More Than Words
, by Xtreme.

The biggest hit date rape songs I know of.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:17 PM on April 3, 2008


Good Enough by Van Halen
posted by The World Famous at 12:00 AM on April 4, 2008


MeTa
posted by dhammond at 12:29 AM on April 4, 2008


Dead Wrong by Notorious BIG?
posted by lilkeith07 at 1:21 AM on April 4, 2008


My vote goes to "Southern Can Is Mine" by Blind Willie McTell (and covered by The White Stripes).

Examples:

Now looka here mama let me tell you this
If you wants to get crooked I'm gonna give you my fist
You might read from Revelations back to Genesee
But if you get crooked, your southern can belongs to me

...

Might go uptown have me arrested and have me put in jail
Some hotshot got money come and throw my bail
Soon as I get out, hit the ground
Your southern can worth two dollar, half a pound

...

Ah ashes to ashes mama, and sin to sin,
every time I hit you you'll think I've got a dozen hands.
Give you a punch through that barb-wire fence
Every time I hit you you'll say I've got no sense

...

Now if I catch ya mama down in the heart of town
take me a bran-new brick and tear your can on down.


One issue that complicates matters is that he might be using an anonymous woman character to represent a white man (since back then bluesmen couldn't exactly perform songs about beating up white people).
posted by burnmp3s at 4:34 AM on April 4, 2008


The lyrics may be a bit cheesy these days, but this has to be close to what you are looking for:
The Outlaws, Put Another Log on the Fire

Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Now don't I let you wash the car on Sunday?
Don't I warn you when you're gettin fat?
Ain't I a-gonna take you fishin' with me someday?
Well, a man can't love a woman more than that.
Ain't I always nice to your kid sister?
Don't I take her driving every night?
So, sit here at my feet 'cos I like you when you're sweet,
And you know it ain't feminine to fight.

So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
Go out to the car and lift it up and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

I don't think Eminem is misogynistic, just bitter. There's a subtle but important difference.
posted by dg at 4:47 AM on April 4, 2008


I don't think it counts as the most misogynistic, but it definitely warrants a mention:

Here's an oldie but goody,
Hit it
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:33 AM on April 4, 2008


Here's the thing about Eminem. The most misogynistic song will not appear on a mainstream, major-label album. This seems a little counterintuitive, because major labels are amoral robber barons and all that, but it's pretty much held true over the years.
posted by box at 5:52 AM on April 4, 2008


James Brown's It's A Man's Man's Man's World

This is a man's world, this is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

You see, man made the cars to take us over the road
Man made the trains to carry heavy loads
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark

This is a man's, a man's, a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

Man thinks about a little baby girls and a baby boys
Man makes then happy 'cause man makes them toys
And after man has made everything, everything he can
You know that man makes money to buy from other man

This is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

He's lost in the wilderness
He's lost in bitterness
posted by Alison at 6:05 AM on April 4, 2008


Misogynistic song 8800; misogynistic writer, at least, not necessarily.

Guns N' Roses raised a big misogynistic stink with Used To Love Her.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:32 AM on April 4, 2008


"8800;" should be the "not equal" sign. I screwed that all up, sorry.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:33 AM on April 4, 2008


"Wild Horses" by Gino Vanelli gives me the creeps every time I hear it. Girl hitches a ride with a trucker, and he thinks that gives him license to do what he wants with her. At least that's what I think of whenever I hear this song.

As for "Baby Its Cold Outside" - maybe its the version I listen to most often, but to me it always sounded like she wanted to stay the night, and was hoping he'd talk her into it. The objections are all laid out to be demolished one by one, so she can free herself from societal expectations and just have sex with the guy. But then again, the version I listen to is laughed out more than sung, by both parts, and the whole thing is very playful. The lyrics themselves seem ambiguous and so I suppose its all in how you sing it.
posted by sandraregina at 6:40 AM on April 4, 2008


The Beatles' "Run for Your Life"

I've had a sneaking suspicion that Beatles lyrics had a streak of something if not misogynistic (though there is "Getting Better"), at least patronizing toward women (cf. "We Can Work It Out") underneath all the shiny melodies. But that's only two data points.
posted by kittyprecious at 6:59 AM on April 4, 2008


Prince Buster's The Ten Commandments (From Man, Given To Woman. Lyrics here.
posted by electroboy at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2008


I can't believe no-one's mentioned NWA's Bitch is a Bitch.
posted by rhymer at 7:44 AM on April 4, 2008


Guys that treat a woman like that, say things like that to a woman... are misogynists

We're going to have to agree to disagree. You seem confident acting as if there's no such thing as sexists. If I'm wrong, what on earth is your definition?

a) Sexist = the belief that one sex is inferior to the other.
b) Misogyny = a hatred of women.
c) Misandry = a hatred of men.

The song you linked to clearly is sexist. It's about a woman doing the man's bidding because that's "her place" because he knows "his place".

A sexist, like the one in your song, wants women to be around so that he has someone to be belittle. A misogynist would prefer women didn't exist at all and certainly doesn't want to keep their company.

A misogynist doesn't necessarily believe that women are inferior to men. In fact, their hatred of the sex may stem from exactly the opposite--a feeling of inferiority or helplessness in their presence.

The protagonist of your song is clearly comfortable in the presence of women. In fact, he's mastered being in their presence. This person is not a misogynist because a misogynist could never do this.
posted by dobbs at 7:55 AM on April 4, 2008


[note: this is now in metatalk. continuing discussion/debate about what is/is not misogyny/sexism needs to go to email or metatalk.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:02 AM on April 4, 2008


You can't prove that one song is the most misogynist song ever to be written in English, only that it stands as a modern example of a song with very strong misogyny. There are so many obscure songs, so many variations of traditional songs, and so many songs that were never written down or left a certain region. It's impossible to prove something is "worst ever" or "best example in existence," because there could always be something else out there. Even covering all the genres you can find more easily would be exhausting. So I suggest you frame this with other examples for context, but don't approach it as "worst ever."

Flunkie's advice is good. There are many traditional songs out there that might give you some good historical context. I suggest you dig around in traditional ballads, such as the Child ballads and their variations, to start. Two Magicians comes to mind, where a blacksmith hits on a woman, she says no, and they have a magic duel that in the versions I've heard pretty much ends with him conquering and raping her despite her repeated chorus about how she doesn't want to have sex with him. I think the idea was that she was too proud, and he felt that she needed to be taken down a peg or two. Or she was too proud to marry him, so he "tamed" her. It varies, but in any case the fact that she asserts her choice and says no is something he feels a need to "correct." More generally, some versions of Captain Wedderburn's Courtship and the Riddle Song have lyrics where one of the riddles is "what's worse than a woman?" (or her voice, or her wish, etc) and the answer is always "the devil."
posted by Tehanu at 8:14 AM on April 4, 2008


I don't know if it's the most misogynistic song, but (hed) PE's comeova2nite, features a verse where he talks about having sex with a woman then killing her:

forget about games
just give me that thang
i gotta get inside her
im a little insane
gotta give her that pain
murderin' right behind her
wanna get her back home
and when i get her alone
im gonna hurt her
homicide, serial killer
baby i murder ya!

posted by quin at 8:15 AM on April 4, 2008


A few Pretenders songs come to mind, particularly intriguing because of Chrissie Hynde's old-school know-your-place sexism towards women (in rock and roll, in particular) mixed with what was then (and now) pretty badass fearless female sexuality. The songs are sexist, misogynistic, sexually provocative, sexy and complex. Of note, Up The Neck ("lust turns to anger, a kiss to a slug") Tatooed Love Boys ("I shot my mouth off and he showed my what that hole is for". Of course, she takes her revenge in Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

And really, you can't beat Under My Thumb by the Stones as previously mentioned. I know more than one man who used that tune as an acid test -- if a woman couldn't abide it, she "didn't get it."
posted by thinkpiece at 8:51 AM on April 4, 2008


This isn't English-language, but I want to tell you about an Icelandic song that's so mysogynistic that I'd be hard pressed to imagine that anything could top it. First, here's some background. Megas (wikipedia entry) is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Besides being a songwriter, he's one of the best living Icelandic poets. To say that he likes to write transgressive lyrics is putting it mildly. His most outrageous song (the music, incidentally, is very pretty and somewhat jazzy) is called (in English translation) Little, Cute Boys. It's in many ways a traditional women-do-me-wrong type stuff (sample lyric: "No one finds happiness in an adder's embrace") but what makes it so hideously misogynistic and transgressive is the proposed solution to the problem that women are perfidious and mean. The solution is to turn to pederasty (sample lyric: "From the example of the ancient sages one can see/That little, cute boys have long been for the best"). When it came out in 1988 it shocked everyone and it still shocks people to this day in Iceland, even though Megas is now considered to be a cultural institution (lauded by government ministers and given prestigious awards).
posted by Kattullus at 8:59 AM on April 4, 2008


To follow up on flunkie's comment about the messed up morals of English folk songs, here's Jim McDonald's Things I’ve learned from British folk ballads from Theresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden's Making Light blog. Sample things learned from British folk ballads:
Avoid situations where the obvious rhyme-word is “maidenhead.”

If you’re a young lady, dressing yourself in men’s array and joining the army or the navy has all sorts of comic possibilities, but you yourself aren’t going to find it too darned humorous at the time.

If you are an unmarried lady and have sex, you will get pregnant. No good will come of it.

Going to sea to avoid marrying your sweetie is an option, but if she hangs herself after your departure (and it’s even money that she’s going to) her Doleful Ghost will arrive on board your ship and the last three stanzas of your life will purely suck.

If you are a young lady do not allow young men into your garden. Or let them steal your thyme. Or agree to handle their ramrods while they’re hunting the bonny brown hare. Cuckoo’s nests are right out. And never stand sae the back o’ yer dress is up agin the wa’ (for if ye do ye may safely say yer thing-a-ma-jig’s awa’).

If you’re a brunette, give up.

Not that being a blonde will improve the odds much.

If you are a young lady and a soldier promises to “marry you in the morn,” it means he’s already married. And has kids. And he’s not going to marry you anyway. Even if you’re pregnant. Which you will be.
If you're writing an essay about misogyny in popular songs, it's good to remember that rock comes out of blues, which is a hot-bed of woman-done-me-wrong songs, which are prime territory for misogyny. To be fair, since there have been many female blues singers, there are also a whole lot of man-done-me-wrong songs, misandry is also rampant in blues.
posted by Kattullus at 9:59 AM on April 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good point, Kattullus. Answer songs may yield a lot of examples. The wikipedia article isn't great, but there was an old blues tradition of writing songs to answer other songs, often with men answering women's songs about men and the reverse. It's where "Hound Dog" comes from (written by Big Mama Thornton). It's also an ongoing tradition in R&B. "Hound Dog" isn't a great example for your context, but there were much nastier similar exchanges between musicians of both sexes about the opposite sex.
posted by Tehanu at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


More Than Words by Extreme. Wrap it up in a pretty pop ballad however you want, but the glamorization of "if you loved me, you would fuck me" just creates additional pressure on young women (or any woman really) who is negotiating the waters of responsible sexuality.

I felt this way for years as well, but I recently reread the lyrics to this song, and realised that I had think the song is much more ambiguous if you listen to more than the chorus.

In the context of the versus, it seems that the issue that "more than words" can correct may not be not sexual. There are three lines (which are later repeated, as much of the song is) where the person the song is addressed to appears to have done something that has hurt the relationship, and the narrator of the song is saying that words are not enough to correct this. These are the relevant lines: "What would you say if I took those words away/ Then you couldnt make things new/ Just by saying I love you".

I agree that there are other parts of the song which are ambiguous ("All you have to do is close your eyes/ And just reach out your hands and touch me...More than words is all I ever needed you to show/ Then you wouldnt have to say that you love me"), but it is possible that the song was never intended to refer primarily to sexual action, but to behaviour showing contriteness -- and just had a really, really unfortunate chorus.

"I'll be watching you" is still a totally a romantic stalker song.
posted by jb at 11:03 AM on April 4, 2008


Butt Ugly Slut by Roger Alan Wade: I wanna butt ugly slut with a bad drinking problem and a jealous old man in jail/i want one so ugly she'll crack the mirror/so fat she'll tip the needle off the scale/i don't care if she cheats on me, long as she sends me checks in the mail/i wanna butt ugly slut with a bad drinking problem and a jealous old man in jail.

he also is the composer and performer of otherwell loved classics such as "She's gone back to whoring" and "My baby loves malt liquor."
posted by Soulbee at 11:14 AM on April 4, 2008


If you actually listen to it, "Keep on Running" by the Spencer Davis Group is actually a profoundly objectionable record.
posted by genghis at 12:02 PM on April 4, 2008


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