I don’t know if you’ve heard it – probably you have. If not, see this link here. But in a nutshell, the premise of Redfoo’s new song and music clip called Literally I Can’t goes like this: women at frat parties refuse Tequila shots, an invite to the afterparty and a request to watch them engage in some ‘girl on girl’ action, responding “Literally, I can’t” to these offers. The girls are then tackled by boozed-up jocks, and rapper Lil’ Jon shouts his instruction to them, which acts as the chorus for the whole song: an aggressive demand for women to “SHUT THE F**K UP!”
Yes, I know. I had the same reaction. It’s true, the song actually exists and some people actually thought it was a good idea.
For a day or so, I pondered this song a lot, trying to sort out my thoughts. While hideously offensive, I don’t believe in censorship, so I didn’t feel I could post a tirade about how we should ban the song completely. I also know there are plenty of other songs by rap artists, heavy metal bands – you name it – which are probably worse and just haven’t received much attention at all. Was it fair, I wondered, to hold Redfoo and Lil’ Jon responsible when there is plenty of other trash out there which has gone unnoticed?
And then – I read Redfoo’s response to the complaints the song was receiving: “The women have gone crazy on me,” he said. “We’re just trying to make a fun song, a party song — having fun … I don’t know how ‘rape culture’ and ‘Redfoo’ got into the same headline.”
“We live in this society where it’s about the blog … all these blogs are designed to get clicks. That’s the economy of these blogs and negativity gets attention and gets clicks.
“Then what happens is, if you’re a blog writer, you have to do 25 articles a day … and you can’t plagiarise so you have to change it and refine it … and then it got to the groups, the feminist groups who came in.”
And then – “he claims Jas Swilks from anti-objectification organisation Collective Shout, who started a petition calling for him to be fired from Channel 7, has “an agenda”.
Needless to say, this got me boiling mad. Firstly fun? FUN? It’s FUN for a girl to be pressed into drunken sexual acts at a party and be told to “Shut the F***k Up” if she refuses? I actually can’t find anymore words to explain what an abhorrent statement that is. Only to say this – let’s find the most recent rape victim from a frat party and ask her how much fun it was.
Secondly – let me play the world’s tiniest violin for Redfoo, who has so wrongfully and surprisingly fallen into the hands of the Big Bad Feminists. Which seemed to happen because blog writers have a job to do. I’m still not sure how those thoughts follow on logically from one another, but let me tell you something Redfoo:
Us feminists? We DO have an agenda. I have an agenda. Here’s mine:
I want my 16-year-old daughter to be able to walk down a street and not have a man shout out “Nice tits!” as she walks past. I want her to not have to giggle nervously, because she doesn’t know what else to do.
I want her to be able to go to the pools and not be grabbed and felt up as she plays in the water with her friends.
I want her never to experience someone in a position of power manipulating her into a situation where she feels safe, and then sexually violating that trust. I want her not to experience sexual jokes told about her to a roomful of men by a colleague.
I want her to make the decisions about who touches her body, when, and how. Not have this taken from her.
I want her to be able to say “No.” Without any further explanation. Without fear. Without shame.
And want my sons to understand that “No” means just that. Again, without any further explanation.
All those experiences I described above happened to me, and the sad thing is I think my experience has been pretty normal. If I start thinking about my wider circle of friends and acquaintances I can add…child molestation. Rape. Other forms of sexual assault. Domestic violence. Indecent exposure. To be honest, it’s depressing that I don’t have to look very far.
So let me enlighten you, Redfoo, about how “Redfoo” and “rape culture” so mysteriously got into the same headline.
You wrote a freaking song promoting rape culture.
No, you are not responsible for all those terrible things that have happened to me, people I know and generally women everywhere – but you are responsible for promoting a culture where women are objectified, disempowered and reduced to nothing more than a sexual plaything for men. You are responsible for actively sustaining the societal power structure that allows rape to be occur. You are responsible for justifying and normalising male predatory behaviour. You are responsible for writing in your song: “Shhh … I said jump on the pole; I didn’t need your opinion … I’m trying to see what you got, not trying to hear what you think.”
So I no longer feel any conflict over urging all of you to head over to Collective Shout here and sign the petition to get Redfoo fired from Channel 7. Because #LiterallyICan’t accept that we should let this one go without making ourselves heard loud and clear. Because Redfoo, we’re simply not going to ‘Shut the f***k up.”