Music and Homosexuality

Published April 16, 2015 by imagine525

This might be the last essay I share from my sexuality project, I’m still debating.

But, Here is the Third piece now. Homosexuality

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Homosexuality is when an individual is attracted to someone of the same sex. In this category you may hear terms such as gay, homosexual, lesbian, dyke, butch, and femme (Shaw & Lee 2007 pg. 314). It is represented in the media in very positive and negative ways. Representation in the last few years has become more positive with T.V. shows like Grey’s Anatomy, and Orange is The New Black. In the last few years, homosexuality is a topic highly discussed in music.

Hozier is an Irish musician and song writer. He has become popular since the release of his song Take Me to Church. Jim Farber, for the New York Times, states that this song sold more than 500 thousand copies, streamed more than 1.3 million times per week, and the music video has reached over 11.5 million views on YouTube. The big message of the song is comparing a lover to religion. He seems to be mainly criticizing the Christian religion and their views of sexuality. The video depicts a gay male couple kissing, and then being attacked by a group of people. The song never specifically refers to gay rights, but the words in the song present sexuality as the path to morality. (i.e. “We were born sick you heard them say it. My church offers no absolutes, she tells me worship in the bed room…..I was born sick, but I love it”) Farber states a quote from the artist who was born Catholic stating “The church undermines a very natural part of being a human. It teaches shame about sexuality, regardless of orientation.”

Macklemore released Same Love, a hip hop song, in 2012 that is specifically for gay rights and against homophobia. Jesse Matheson states that Macklemore’s uncle is gay, but the purpose of the song was not fueled by the issue of marriage equality, but instead, how the term ‘gay’ is used derogatorily around the world and in the hip-hop community. (i.e. “bunch or stereotypes all in my head…a preconceived idea of what it all meant for those that liked the same sex. Had the conservatives think it’s a decision and you can be cured with some treatment and religion”). Matheson states that Macklemore hopes this song, and songs like it make people take a hard look at the type of language they are using. Same Love marks the first time that someone has positively rapped about homosexuality in hip-hop. The song features Mary Lambert, who is a lesbian, and in part of her lyrics (i.e. “Love is patient, love is kind”) she is quoting from the bible.
This song created controversy not necessarily by the media, but by the fans; all you have to do is look at the comments on the music video on YouTube (same with Take Me to Church). A performing arts teacher was actually suspended without pay for allowing one of her students to play the song in class. The principle was unhappy with the pro-gay and anti-church message.

Both of these songs have the same underlying meaning in them- homosexuality does not mean you are sick, nothing is wrong with you. These songs are challenging society’s scripts for sexuality; both including religion as the main reason for society having “issues” with homosexuality.

References
Hozier. (2014). Take Me To Church. Retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hozier/takemetochurch.html
Macklemore ft. Mary Lambert. (2012). Same Love. Retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/macklemore/samelove.html
Susan M. Shaw, Janet Lee (2007). Women’s Voices Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Jim Farber. (2014, October 3rd). Hozier, preaching sensuality and gay rights, hits the big time with ‘Take Me to Church’. The New York Times. Retrieved from
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/hozier-preaching-sensuality-hits-big-church-article-1.1960027
Jesse Matheson. (2013, January 23rd). Macklemore: Why I wrote same Love. Retrieved from http://www.samesame.com.au/features/9365/Macklemore-Why-I-wrote-Same-Love

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2 comments on “Music and Homosexuality

  • I like the song, especially when he performed it with Annie Lennox. However, Hozier loses his focus in describing his song with the trendiness of criticizing only Christianity. No mention of Judaism or Islam. I find that very interesting, but not surprising. I see it across entertainment and politics.

    I think that the genre that needs the most work in terms of misogyny, racism, and bigotry is hip hop and rap. I’m afraid that the ubiquitous demeaning of women and homosexuals will become ingrained in that culture and our cultures treatment of them will be even worse. Thank you for a thought provoking post and one that needs to be discussed more.

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