Fighting Abuse Through Music

By Hannah Sherman, JWI Intern

Gloria Gaynor (Photo by Docklandsboy, via Wikimedia Commons)

There is a unique phenomenon that I have experienced at every Bar and Bat Mitzvah I have ever been to in my 21 years of living. From the booming first note, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” seems to send out a magnetic pulse, causing women and girls of all ages to converge on the dance floor. While at first it may be the groovy, disco beat that attracts us, what keeps us singing along is the message of empowerment. The song quickly turns into an anthem, allowing all women to celebrate our independence.

Recently, The Pixel Project compiled a list of 16 songs about violence against women and staying strong and positive in the face of abuse. Songs from popular music sensations Pink and Christina Aguilera, just to name a few, promote dialogue about the subject of violence against women, something that is often considered a “private matter” and left out of public discourse.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and with powerful lyrics and catchy tunes from these 16 songs, hopefully teens will feel more confident standing up against abuse and seeking help when needed. To teenagers, popular musicians are figures to be idolized; with their heroes coming forward and publicly raising awareness to the issue and celebrating women’s empowerment, teens can realize that it is important to discuss, in the public sphere, violence against women.

Can popular music bring us one step closer to ending the cycle of abuse? Only time will tell, but for now, I will look at my favorite songs with a new lens, recognizing the potential impact such songs can have on the end of violence against women.

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