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Ask a Raging Feminist: What songs should be banned from play?

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

Are these the most offensive song lyrics ever?

We've just wrapped up the holiday season and all the Christmas carols that come along with it, including the super problematic, "rape" ditty, "Baby It's Cold Outside." This song continues to get massive airplay despite it being about a man convincing a woman to stay with him, despite her multiple protests. It made us wonder: What other songs deserve to go by the wayside for their utterly awful and offensive lyrics?

What popular song lyrics are you bothered by?

"This is not a current song, but the 'Hike up your skirt a little more, show your world to me' lyric from that Dave Matthews Band song 'Crash Into Me.' This was played at all of my high school dances, because apparently if a cheesy white guy sings these lyrics to a swoony beat, it's totally fine. Also, my pubes are not my world, Dave. Go away." — Lilit Marcus

More: 15 Fierce female-empowerment songs every mom should teach her daughter

"Mötley Crüe's 'Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).' That song was the moment that I became a baby feminist. I remember being SO PISSED that some dude was trying to manage and minimize a woman's anger. That one song probably drove me right into my first Tori Amos album." — Laura Stokes

"'More Than Words,' by Extreme. Summary:  *Preemptively shushed* Don't talk, because I'm talking, and before you tell me you love me, cuz I see where this is going, lemme just say, words are, like, not my love language. Nope. But sex is. I know, right? Start touching me, K?

No?

If I mentioned I wasn't totally into you and/or love you and literally stole the words from your vocab and now have sads only love sex can fix? You bring the love sex then. Heal my sads with words? Impossible. And there's two of us singing, so, FYI.

How easy it would be to show me how you feel

More than words is all you have to do to make it real

Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me

Cause I'd already know" — Nichole Cordin

More: Ask a Raging Feminist: What is your New Year's resolution?

"'Don't Trust Me' by 3OH!3. Oh, don't worry sir. I won't.

This heinous excuse for a song appears to be about an underage girl out alone (who the singer thinks is a hoe... In fact, he appears to think all women are hoes who can't, under any circumstances, be trusted). She might be a heroine addict, alcoholic, in an abusive relationship or all three. He spends the song rubbing her apparent failings in her face, topping it off with the ableist and woefully inaccurate command that she 'do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.' He probably was unaware that not only did Helen Keller speak, but was also a badass socialist and die-hard activist. This is one of the only songs I actively boycott." — Allison Smartt

"​I can't stand 'U.O.E.N.O' by Rocko (featuring Future and Rick Ross). If this isn't talking about rape, someone please explain!

Put Molly all in her champagne

She ain’t even know it

I took her home and I enjoyed that

She ain't even know it" — Patricia Valoy

"'Hey Mama' by David Guetta featuring. Nicki Minaj.

Yes I do the cooking

Yes I do the cleaning

Yes I keep the nana real sweet for your eating

Yes you be the boss yes I be respecting

Whatever that you tell me 'cause it's game you be spitting

I can feel a glass ceiling restoration crew forming. Seriously? We're in 2016 and this garbage is what people listen to? I wish I could say that I was surprised, but even known 'feminists' in pop culture/music like Beyoncé are putting emphasis that single women should be after a ring and marriage. Note: I don't think that there is ANYTHING wrong with the desire to wed, but why can't there be music that celebrates the strengths of women? Why does it have to either objectify/belittle us, prey on our insecurities or broadcast archaic stereotypes that we have fought long and hard to overcome?" — Jess Schubert

More: Ask a Raging Feminist: What makes you unfriend someone on Facebook?

"John Cougar Mellencamp's 'I Need a Lover (That Won't Drive Me Crazy)' pisses me off.

Some girl who'll thrill me and then go away.

Some girl who knows the meaning of 'hey, hit the highway.'

GEE, I WONDER WHY YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A 'GIRL' LIKE THAT, A-HOLE." — Celeste Lindell

"The Coug (aka John Cougar Mellencamp) has so many detestable moments. 'Suckin' on a chili dog' is arguably the grossest five words of any song in the history of music and it's even worse in the context of a song about a loser 16-year-old coercer ('let's run off behind a shady tree' — HOW ROMANTIC)." — Stefanie Le Jeunesse

"If you're looking for god-awful lyrics, not much is as hideous as the entirety of Eminem's 'isn't it fun to posture about abusing/torturing/killing my girlfriend or wife' catalog. But while we're on the subject, I've always had a soft spot for performance artist Sarah Jones's 'Your Revolution Will Not Happen Between These Thighs.' Back in 2001, the FCC slapped independent radio station KBOO with a $7,000 'indecency' fine for playing 'Your Revolution,' her black feminist remix of hypersexualized lyrics from decades of heavy-rotation hip-hop hits. Instead of abiding by this hypocritical and misogynistic censorship, Jones sued the FCC on First Amendment grounds, arguing that the FCC had used its regulatory power to punish her political speech — especially true considering that the only lyrics the Commission could possibly have found 'indecent' came directly from songs by male artists that had received regular FM airplay for years. See Jones perform 'Your Revolution' here." — Jennifer Pozner

"Honestly, the song I hate the most is the 'I Love You Period' song, because if your entire freaking song is about learning grammar, the grammar needs to be correct. Can you please, please put a comma between 'please please.' Also, with the exclamation point there, that is totally 'fragment — consider revising,' and 'I want to hold you in parentheses' needs terminal punctuation of some sort, most likely a period.

"The whole premise of the song is that he's in love with his English tutor. She's trying her hardest to teach him and he's just... not interested in learning. And then he's trying to be cute by showing her that he's been paying attention when CLEARLY HE HAS NOT. It's all about him and she is JUST TRYING TO DO HER F***ING JOB. Stop singing and pay your goddamn tutor. And also attention. Pay attention." — Rowan Beckett Grigsby

"I've always been irked by 'Shake, Rattle and Roll,' even though I will let a lot of songs not faze me because they're just songs. This one always boils my water, mostly because I interpret it as a guy saying, 'You broke my heart, so get back in that kitchen where you belong, bitch!' It makes me so angry, especially the Bill Haley and the Comets version, because they sing it like they really believe that." — Sarah Khan

"Glenn Frey's, 'The Heat is On.' No it's not, Glenn. Not for you. And your sloppy song complete with whiny, flatulent sax interludes convinces exactly no one that you know what it means to even feel heat. Of any type. Like, even from an opened oven door. Perfunctory, dull, lazy lyrics that even you don't want to be singing, Glenn… It's an auditory insult. You can never right this wrong." — J.M. Reed

"I hate almost everything by The Rolling Stones, but 'Brown Sugar' in particular can kiss the blackest part of my ass." — Syreeta Neal

More: The Mamafesto: Mamas that rock: Ani DiFranco

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