Sexism, Objectification, and Male Chauvinism Squirm Into the Top 10
In Jason Derulo’s latest song Wiggle, which features Snoop Dogg, he repeats the same question: how do you fit all that [booty] in them jeans? After watching the music video and reading through the song’s lyrics, the question I’m repeating is: how did he get this song into the Top 10?
From Twerking to Wiggling
In 2013, Miley Cyrus used her backside to make “twerking” famous. This year, Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg hope to make “wiggling” just as famous using the same part of the female anatomy. In the song, aptly named Wiggle, the two hip hop stars repeatedly tell a girl what to do with her “big fat butt.”
I know. I know. Every girl’s dream, right? They like it when guys refer to their backsides as “big fat butts.”
Throughout the song, Derulo offers listeners the following refrain:
Hot damn it
Your booty like two planets
Go head, and go ham sammich
Whoa, I can’t stand it
‘Cause you know what to do with that big fat butt
Of course, he’s singing this while dozens of girls grind up against him wearing next to nothing. But just in case those lyrics weren’t graphic enough, Snoop Dogg chimes in with his verse and says exactly what’s on his mind:
Shake what your mama gave you
I just wanna strip you, dip you, flip you, bubble bathe you
What they do
Taste my rain drops, OK boo
Now what you will and what you want and what you may do
Till I deeply penetrate it
Then I take I out, and wipe it off
Eat it, ate it, love it, hate it
Overstated, underrated, everywhere I been can
You wiggle, wiggle for the D, O, double G, again?
The song ends with Snoop making the following gratuitous statement: Damn baby, you got a bright future behind you.
Wiggle = Wealth
Regardless of the message embedded in Wiggle, listeners can easily tell that Derulo took his time crafting this song. Produced by a popular duo in hip hop music, the fresh-faced Derulo and the iconic Snoop Dogg represent powerful book ends to the musical genre. Furthermore, the song has a great beat and a finely-tuned hook that involves a catchy whistle sound.
Of course, a music video filled with half-naked girls doesn’t hurt its viral impact, either.
In short, this song is going to make Derulo and Snoop a lot of money. After all, sex has always sold well and these two are simply the latest to cash in. Wiggle isn’t just inside music’s Top 10; it’s actually in the #5 position (and climbing) on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. (And, as of this writing, it’s in the same exact position on iTunes’ list of Top Songs.) Furthermore, the song’s video – which is little more than a collage of girls’ wiggling posteriors – has already racked up more than 40 million views on YouTube. In fact, Wiggle’s explosive growth – in the past week alone – has caused some to wonder if it could be “the song of the summer” for 2014.
These kind of numbers virtually ensures there will be a lot of wiggling this summer.
Disappointed…But Not Surprised
We’ve seen it before: a “clean” artist bursts onto the scene, attracts a massive following, and then slides toward the moral gutter with every subsequent song. (We’re looking at you Britney, Chris Brown, and Miley.) Unfortunately, Jason Derulo is following this well-worn path. I guess keeping company with the likes of Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg takes its toll on a person’s character….
Derulo grabbed the world’s attention back in 2009 with Whatcha Say, a hopeful song about overcoming infidelity, and started dating the “girl next door” of hip hop music, Jordin Sparks just a couple of years later. But not long afterwards, his music began taking a turn for the not-so-clean. The lyrics of Talk Dirty will suffice as evidence of that claim. Wiggle, the song Derulo describes as, “Everything I’ve got everything I was feeling in the moment” is just one more step in the wrong direction.
Sadly, I have to say I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
I don’t want you to be surprised, either. Wiggle contains a lot of images, messages, and behaviors that most parents and youth workers will have serious problems with, so it’s best to be informed about a song that’s making such an impact on today’s teens. Here are a few ideas to help you stay current on today’s music, and shape your teenagers’ playlists.
- Use every tool at your disposal. Look, teenagers use the Internet to familiarize themselves with the media of our day; you might as well use the same resource to stay informed. When a new song cracks into the Top 10 on Billboard or iTunes, take four minutes to search and read through the song’s lyrics on Google. Then, if there is any doubt, take another four minutes to search YouTube for an accompanying music video. Between these resources, you should be able to make a quality call every time. But don’t forget about Jonathan’s Blog, either; he routinely shares his insightful thoughts on today’s music with thousands of parents and youth workers.
- Ask questions that steer teens to your conclusion. Lawyers do this all the time. They know how they want the discussion to end in a courtroom, so they ask questions that take the conversation in that direction. I’m certainly not arguing for “verbal entrapment,” but I am strongly suggesting you formulate a strategy that moves your teenagers toward your conclusions. When considering songs like Wiggle, for example, you could simply ask questions like:
- What is appealing about Derulo’s song, Wiggle?
- What is this song really about?
- How would you describe Derulo’s and Snoop Dogg’s attitude toward women? Is your attitude consistent with theirs?
- What effect could listening to this song and/or watching its music video have on you?
- How does listening to this song impact your relationship with Jesus?
- After talking about this, do you think you should listen to this kind of son? Why or why not?
There’s not much “wiggle room” in the ethics behind this song. Fortunately, we don’t have to be argumentative or manipulative to help our teenagers understand culture from our point of view. By making a simple investment of time and energy, we can help our teenagers worm free of influences like Wiggle.
David R. Smith is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year, Ministry By Teenagers. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org. David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.