Authentic Playlist at Misogyny Free Prom

by cv harquail on May 15, 2009

_images_bustheader.gif A shout out to my girlfriends at Bust magazine, home of the GirlWideWeb and all things hip & 3rd wave feminist . They share the news today of an advocacy movement by The Women’s Health and Issues Club of the high school in Arcadia CA, which has resulted in a prom music playlist that is free of explicitly misogyny.

Specifically, the students in the Women’s Health and Issues Club organized an information campaign and a petition drive, and worked with the school administration  to make sure that songs referring to women as ‘ho’s’ or ‘bitches’ would not be played at their school prom.

How great to see these organization members, and especially young women, advocate to have their organization address taken-for-granted behaviors that ultimately send the wrong kind of message. I’m not exactly sure what high school proms are supposed to celebrate these days, devoid as they are of the excessive drinking that made them so much "fun" in my day, but I’m glad to see that this one prom will not encourage demeaning stereotypes of half the students who will be attending.

[In an extremely disconcerting coincidence, consider that the song playing on my SirriusXMU radio station — right at this moment — is the Crystals’ "He hit me, and it felt like a kiss." And I pay for this music? Maybe I need to email Sirrius?]

It can be hard to challenge taken for granted behaviors and traditions, especially when you have to begin by educating others as to why these behaviors and traditions are contradictory to what the organization is supposed to value. (It’s hard to believe that the school administration or the students themselves want all the girls there to be spoken of as ho’s & bitches, right? But it seems like the Club met significant resistance).

Let’s applaud the The Women’s Health and Issues Club for putting its own values into action, and making the prom somewhat safer for women and the men who respect them.

As the Bust staff writers remind us, too, the story is not about "banning songs for being sexual, it’s (about) removing sexism and potentially teaching students about respect."  Those sound like values a school should support.

Looking ahead, what if the Club and the school were able to start from scratch, and create a pool of dance tunes that expresses values that they DO want to celebrate? That could be a mightily transformative process. Maybe next year?

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