Facing the oral sex issue head-on
For most persons, their first exposure to sexuality is through entertainment. From movies to music, there are more than enough references to sexuality to influence the way many of us see sexuality, and how we express ourselves to each other.
In Jamaica, dancehall is easily one of the most prevalent influences on sexuality in our society. According to the lyrics of various artistes, from Shabba Ranks to Vybz Kartel, there have always been clear guidelines about what is allowed and what is completely off the table.
For a very long time, oral sex stimulation of the genitals by the mouth was not allowed. According to dancehall, 'bowing', 'eating under sheet', regardless of who is doing it male or female has been met with much disgust and, in some cases, threats of violence.
After all, the only thing that should be eaten must come out of a pot. Women who engaged in fellatio oral stimulation of the penis would face harsh judgement and ridicule. They were called names like 'freaks', 'bow cat', 'bowas', and others. There have been examples of prominent women in entertainment who were seen on video engaging in oral sex, and who subsequently lost their jobs and stepped out of the limelight as a result.
My, how things have changed.
I'm not sure exactly who was the first to do it, or when it happened, but at some point,the lyrics in dancehall changed and men were no longer insulting women who engaged in fellatio.
Baby Cham is the first artiste I can remember that brought up the topic in his song Which Gal, when he asked, "Which gal a jump and a seh she nah suck? Right yah now a dat run di cut." Of course, several other artistes will soon share the sentiment, from Konshens to Gage, but it was Vybz Kartel who came out in his full love and appreciation for 'freaky gal' in his songs of the same name. He actually said, "Freaky gal, a dem gal deh mi love."
So, now dancehall celebrated 'freaky girls', and the artistes love it when women go down; but these same artistes still maintain that they will never return the favour.
The male artistes in dancehall continue to hold that men engaging in cunnilingus oral stimulation of the female genitals is still not allowed. Bad man don't bow.
The biggest argument for this stance is that they have the performance in their waist, so there is no need to 'face the matter'. After all, if they are capable below the waist, then women will be more than satisfied with that. When Spragga Benz said, "Some boy cyaan get nuh gal if im nuh eat," it demonstrated this thought process.
Fast-forward to the release of Ishawna's new song, Equal Rights, which basically calls out the hypocrisy of dancehall as it relates to oral sex. Of course, she is met by much backlash, especially from her male counterparts, but overall it seems that her female fans are loving this song.
Personally, I think that individuals should be able to choose how they express themselves sexually without having to worry about ridicule or judgement. Dancehall is an important influence to many persons, especially when it comes to sexuality, so this conversation will spark very passionate responses.
I must say on a personal note that I like Ishawna's song, and I am happy to see an attempt to balance the discussion about oral sex finally happening in an honest way in dancehall.
I also think it's silly that the artistes are suggesting that performing oral sex is an indication that the man is somehow lacking in the waist. The truth is, there is no need to choose. I'm sure that they can figure out how to do both. Whatever the choice, have fun and stay sexy.
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