Friday, February 4, 2011

"Stop Looking at My Moms"

While perusing Love Isn't Enough, I came across this video:

This is the video in which a 14-year-old rapper tells would-be oglers to lay of his mother. 

The poster at LIE found the video to be a refreshing glimpse into the potential of today's youths to right some of the injustices in our society. To wit:
This is a young man that gets what so many grown men seem to continually fail to grasp. Women have the right to walk down the street without constant harassment. It is not a compliment to be treated like a sexual object, as though you have no value. Perhaps if these oglers would take the time to realize that all women have value and people that love them, they would learn that overt sexualization is truly harmful. Watching this video gave me hope that the next generation will truly confront many of the isms that we have internalized.
So I read that, started watching the video, and thought about it. Though the lyrics weren't particularly wowing me, the kid is only 14, and it's not bad. I hadn't gotten through the whole thing, but I was generally agreeing with the poster's take on it. Then my husband sat next to me on the couch.

 Him: (incredulously) "What are you watching?"
Me: "A music video."
He watches a bit of it, then shakes his head: "This is a damn shame."
Me, pausing the video: "Why?"
Him: "First off, it appears the mother and the father aren't together--he's being raised in a single parent home. What you see that give rise to is a condition where young male development is really stunted. They view their most meaningful relationship with a woman as one with their mother." Then he brought up the movie Baby Boy. "In that movie, there's a scene where the son (Tyrese) is in a fight with his mother's boyfriend (Ving Rhames), and in that scene Ving Rhames says something like 'You think she's your woman. She's not; she's my woman.' Basically, Tyrese is stuck in a child-like mind state; he couldn't get past his mother being the only real woman in his life  So in the video he's doting on his mother and casting out a warning to all potential suitors, isolating his mother to himself. He is protecting his mother, but that has a consequence of isolating her. And it gives him a skewed view of relationships. As he gets older, that relationship can tarnish a little bit. Potential inadequacies of a single-parent home, when he's old enough to realize them, may cause him to blame his mother for not giving him what he needed."
When I told him about what the LIE poster said, he says that the first thing he thought of was all of the problematic societal issues it brought to the forefront. 

Wow, quite a different perspective. I want to think like the LIE poster and see this as a positive sign for our future, but now I'm re-watching it and feeling a little less hopeful. 



  1. Honestly, this video creeped me out more than I liked it.

    At first, I was thinking along the lines of the LIE poster. But then I thought, actually, I'm not sure that the boy *does* understand that sexual harassment is wrong. It sounded to me that there was a fair bit of "she's not yours, she's MINE!" going on there. Which isn't really accepting the even the basic premise that women aren't property. (Admittedly, children do often regard parent(s)/carer(s) as belonging to them, but he's a bit old for that.)

    Plus, there's all the dick-flailing. A shorter version of the film could be, "I see that you, another man, are looking at a woman I believe I own. I will stop you by a) shouting and b) threatening violence." If an adult male rapper wrote a song like this, I would be disgusted, though not surprised. Should I be any less so because he's under 18?

    And then I thought, why does the voice of a 14 year old boy have more weight and value than the voice of a woman old enough to have *had* a 14 year old?

    His mother never says anything.

  2. Great point. She is entirely silenced and objectified, even within the video that's supposed to be showing us not to objectify her. There's also the line about "she looks so young you would think I was her brother." Yeah . . . the more I think about it, the more problems I see.