Sex-positive celebration through music

By: Kristin Helf, Columnist

Towson’s Sexual Assault Peer Educators have just put the finishing touches on the perfect playlist for all of their future table events. This year, SAPE has drawn attention to the culture of sex-positivity, which is also the playlist’s theme.

SAPE asked me to add a few songs to the playlist to ensure that it’ll include a variety of genres and tastes that reflect the diversity of TU’s student body. My inner riot grrrl jumped at the chance.

Nobody knows feminist sex-positivity like 90s girl bands; “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill, “Asking for It” by Hole and “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” by Sleater-Kinney are staples.

Members of SAPE have been curating the playlist and listening closely to every song they add to ensure they’re positive and appropriate. But what exactly makes a song “sex-positive”?

Music of all genres can, and should, display a positive attitude about women’s bodies and sex lives. “Partition” by Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani’s “Bubble Pop Electric” are just two examples of pop songs by women celebrating their sexual autonomy.

Even hip-hop and rap, which have a bad rep for objectifying women, are included on the playlist: “Earned It” by The Weeknd, “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men and “Let’s Talk about Sex” by Salt-N-Pepa are listed alongside cheesy throwbacks like “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John and “Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner.

You don’t need me to tell you that most popular music is wrought with problematic images of women as sex objects, but certain lyrics go as far as to encourage violence against women. Thank God “Blurred Lines” was released over two years ago and is slowly fading into obscurity, into the abyss where bad pop songs go to die.

Although the lyrics and music video of “Blurred Lines,” and many other songs like it, would imply otherwise, there’s nothing sexy or fun about sexual assault. SAPE recognizes this, and is providing us with the antidote to radio hits that take lightly tragedies like sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.

SAPE is still searching for songs that aren’t as heteronormative as the rest—if you have any suggestions, TU’s Sexual Assault Peer Educators are on Facebook, where they’ll also post a Spotify link to the playlist.

SAPE’s next table event will be on October 30 at 8 p.m. Come spend your Halloween-eve at HerCampus’ Halloween LITUATION, where you can play games like Sexual Assault Trivia Spin-the-Bottle and win prizes. Stop by to jam out to sex-positive music of every genre, celebrating your body and your sexuality.

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