Friday, March 29, 2013

How Sandra D. (not Rick Ross) Taught Me To Expect Violence From My Future Boyfriend

Act #88:  Change your tune.

I was 6 years old when pop culture first told me that it was normal, even cute, for a woman to have to defend herself from a man that she was dating.  It was the summer of 1978 and the deliverers of this message to my impressionable, young mind were not tattooed, six-packed, African-American men draped in gold and opulent attire.   They were ridiculously cute white teens in poodle skirts, baby doll sweaters, and high pony tails.  And they were trim blue-jean clad, black leather-jacket wearing boys with slicked back hair.  They were Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, in the hit musical Grease and I knew every word to their most popular duet, Summer Nights:

Tell me more, tell me more
Did you get very far?
Tell me more, tell me more
Like did he have a car?
Tell me more, tell me more
Was it love at first sight?
Tell me more, tell me more
Did she put up a fight?

How far was rebellious heartthrob, Danny hoping to get?  And what exactly was sweet Sandy having to put up a fight against?  Don't even get me started about the implications in lines like:  Did he have a car? and How much dough did he spend?  As a six-year old, what did I have to look forward to in a boyfriend?  Someone who would spend money on me, drive me around in a nice car, and brag to his friends about having his way with me.  Even if I might have to put up a little fight, we'd still ride into the sunset on his motorcycle together.  Adorable.

Last week rapper Rick Ross made headlines for his newest song that contained these lyrics:

Put molly (slang for pure ecstasy) all in her champagne
She ain't even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that
She ain't even know it.

Thirty-five years later and we're still singing the same tune.  We all know that the hip hop industry routinely faces harsh criticism for music that often glorifies violence and the degradation of women.   But I for one, learned about my expected role as someone's girlfriend from Sandra D.  Please don't tell me any more.


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