While driving today, I was listening to the pop radio station–something I don’t normally do because the music they play (all 15 songs) SUCKS. But for some reason the un-funness of driving on the interstate paired with the relative awful of pop music seems to cancel each other out. Who would have thought?
Anyways, Bruno Mars’s “Treasure” came on the radio and I found the catchy little tune to be quite problematic when considering how females are portrayed/discussed in it.
I know you’re wondering why I’m about to rant and rave about it when it is no where near as foul or troublesome as some other music out there, cough cough rap. I totally agree with that sentiment. This isn’t an awful song, but what it does to uphold gender stereotypes to a point that is paradoxically problematic for the expectations of most modern day romantic relationships is what gives me pause.
Let’s first consider these lyrics:
Treasure, that is what you are
Honey you’re my golden star
You know you could make my wish come true
If you let me treasure you
If you let me treasure you
While the entirety of this song is so sweet it’ll rot your teeth, it’s only seemingly nice. While his intentions to make a girl feel good about herself in a manner more subtle than One Direction a la “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” is obviously done with good intentions, he’s not doing his lady love interest much good by keeping her only as an object of his affections.
The traditional gender roles in our culture perpetually place males in the active roles and leave females to sit idly by in their passive state. Think about it: how do we describe conception? The male’s sperm heroically swims through the hazardous black hole that is the female’s vagina and penetrates the exterior of the egg that is just chillin’ like a villain. No one ever says that the egg envelopes the sperm (which it actually does, by the way). That’s why it’s called penetrative sex and not enveloping sex. We’re so hell bent on making it seem like males do all the work that the female counterpart might as well be a flesh blanket for them to ram their fuckstick into.
And the funny thing is that one of the main complaints a person has of their significant other is that their significant other isn’t giving as much as they are to the relationship. I find this complaint hard to take when so many males like Mr. Mars here are practically begging the female to just stay put while they make a big deal of treasuring them. Seriously, when you compare a female to a treasure (think Pirate’s chest), you’re looking at turning a human being into a bunch of materialistic objects. Coins, jewelry, ornate lamps–contrary to popular belief, they can’t bring much to the table in a relationship.
Paradoxically, males also have this dream of a stunning female greeting them at the door when they arrive home and serving them steak and a beer. Unless this is some kind of crazy Beauty and the Beast romance, I don’t think lamps and other objects are going to be able to provide that service much less any of those bedroom services (unless, you know, they have a candle stick fetish or something… no judgement). This being said, it seems rather counterintuitive for males to want a female to remain comparable to an object when many fantasies seem to involve a female being active (how revolutionary!).
Maybe I’ve come across as sounding like a crazy feminist who’s out to slice off Bruno Mars’s penis and send it down the garbage disposal (god no). If that’s the case, then I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intentions at all. My hyperbolic statements and sarcastic quips were merely meant as a device to bring to light that even in songs with the best of intentions gender stereotypes and inequality can still be found. In all of this, I am merely trying to explain my bafflement in hopes that others might ponder this with me. (Seriously, let me know your thoughts.)