Music Violence Essay Research Paper Throughout history

Music Violence Essay, Research Paper

Throughout history the human populous has been attracted to music. Whether it be

part of a ritual, an emotional release, religious reasons, or just for listening

pleasure music has been at the center of our society. We have used music to

express ourselves, tell stories, and let others into our thoughts. However, we

often wonder whether what we are saying has an effect on the listening audience.

Recently, in the 1990’s references have often been made to link violent and

deviant behavior to music and certain music genres. Some such genres include but

are not limited to; heavy metal, rock, death metal, rap, gansta rap, industrial,

hardcore, and alternative music. During the last decade we have seen music

lyrics become more and more violent and sexually explicit. Experts argue that

this can cause problems in children and adolescents. Studies show that the

average teenager listens to approximately 40 hours of music in a given week. One

is to assume that somewhere in the mix a child is going to hear something

derogatory or objectionable, as it has become the norm in todays society. In

most music today especially rap and heavy metal most of the lyrics contain

references to violence, sex, and/or drugs. While many argue that this is

dangerous for children to hear we know that a modern day teenager often faces

violence, drugs, suicide, pregnancy, and other aspects of this music. While we

find that lyrics may be dangerous to a child we must ask ourselves whether the

child fully understands and comprehends what the artist is saying. Teenagers

often do not understand what is being said, in fact in one study only 30 percent

of those questioned knew the lyrics to their favorite songs and they all had

varied comprehension as to what the message was. It could be argued that if the

lyrics were not included in the artists booklet then the audience would never

know what was being said. Some lyrics are indeed harsh such as this Nine Inch

Nails lyric: "I am a big man yes I am; and I have a big gun; got me a big

ole *censored* and I like to have fun; held against your forehead I’ll make you

suck; you know, just for the *censored* of it." Obviously we cannot

interpret this as a positive meaning. A sampling of lyrics from Marilyn Manson

include "Who says date rape isn’t fun," "…the housewife I will

beat..," and "I slit my teenage wrist," among others. Manson

concerts are often grounds to bash religion and rip bibles while fan chant

"we hate love, we love hate." Other songs that have overtones of

violence include "slap-a-ho" by Dove Shack and another song sung by

death metal band Cannibal Corpse in which they make reference to masturbating

with a dead womans head. Avid music lovers attest that they words sung in these

songs are just words and or no different that poetry printed in literature

books. No studies to date have concluded that listening to a song that speaks of

death will make a teenager want to go out and kill. Do these kinds of lyrics

breed todays children to be killers and to be sexually promiscuous? Yes, and no,

depending on who you speak to. Listening to music does not drive people to kill,

and no proof of such has been offered. In fact, one teacher speaks of a student

who wore a Metallica shirt everyday to school and wrote lyrics with foul

language, but was often seen sitting in the front row at Sunday mass with his

mother in a nice suit. The same people who go out to see Black Sabbath and

Motley Crue are the same people who handle world finance and international

affairs, it is just their choice in music. Studies that use music videos on the

other hand show an increased tolerance in deviant behavior among both males and

females. Music videos add reinforcement to what is being heard with the use of

visuals. Now an extra sense is being used. Videos often exhibit sexual innuendo,

acts of aggression, and gender stereotypes. Studies showed that men have a

tolerable attitude as to what is violent and what is "too far" in

sexual advances. Women have less of a tolerance. Studies have also found that

heavy metal music and gansta rap influence mens attitudes towards women and that

increased exposure to videos containing interpersonal violence against women

tended to increase men’s acceptance of rape myths such as "she was dressing

like she wanted it" or "she brought it on herself." In contrast,

women’s beliefs decreased and they felt that men were coming on too strong and

being to aggressive. Another study conducted on college campuses in the

northwestern United States involved men and women watching various music videos

and then answering a set of questions afterwards. One video was "The Way

You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson which depicts a man stalking a woman

who then becomes infatuated in his game of pursuit. The other was "The

Stand" by REM which only showed the band on-stage playing instruments. In

questions answered after the videos men said it was necessary to pursue the

woman to such an extent while women thought it was annoying and/or disturbing.

Men scored higher on a attitudes for sexual overtones, while surprisingly women

scored slightly higher on the acceptance of interpersonal violence. The studies

did conclude that women who were often subjected to violent music videos were

more accepting of violence than those who have not had constant viewing or

listening to such lyrics and images. It also showed that men had a greater

acceptance of sexual stereotyping and rape myths after being subjected to the

videos. Many methods of behavior modification have been suggested in order to

keep this music from causing harm or hurting anyone individuals. Many arguments

can be made as to whether the music should be censored or if it is

unconstitutional to do. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends different

types of behavior modification to combat the harmful effects of this music. One

such idea is as simple as having parents be aware as to what their children are

listening to, and to discuss anything they deem objectionable. This would be a

positive way to relate emotions to the songs. Another idea proposed is labeling

of content in compact discs. It would be labeled outside as to what the lyrics

contained (i.e. language, sex, drugs). It has also been suggested that groups as

well as individuals approach record companies, music studies, and artists and

ask them to consider the ramifications of their music on their audience and

market it accordingly and in a favorable manner. Ideas have been proposed to set

up research studies to further investigate the effects of explicit music on the

behavior of teenagers. One of the most effective ideas proposed is as simple as

people accept that this music is an art form and a means of self- expression and

emotional release and treat it as such. Just as with rock and roll and Elvis

Presley people will always find something wrong with the music that others

listen to.


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