Woman time now - culture expert says Ishawna's song signals power shift

May 05, 2017
Ishawna
Ishawna
Dr Donna Hope
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Ishawna's song demanding equal rights for women with oral sex, continues to dominate the local airwaves.

Dr Donna Hope told THE WEEKEND STAR that the ideas presented by Ishawna are not new but believes the song has taken on a life of its own because of the entertainer's image.

"A lot of people have been trying to grapple with the idea that a woman who looks like her (pretty and sexy) would be demanding the sexual pleasure that she really should be giving. She should be the object of sexual pleasure," she said.

Dr Hope explained that Ishawna's bold lyrics and the image it painted, helped to create a power shift in the discussion of sex.

"The language that she uses is what is ruffling a lot of feathers. Remember that the way oral sex is delivered, the man would have to be kneeling. The male identity is very strong and so the idea of 'bowing' has taken away from their power dynamic and who is in charge in the bedroom."

 

Boycott the song

 

Ishawna has been receiving mixed reactions since the song's release. Women in particular have thrown their support behind the deejay while selectors have pledged to boycott the song.

Fellow artiste Tanya Stephens, in a lengthy Facebook post a few days ago, endorsed the song's message.

Stephens, who has never been shy to voice her opinions, said she too received a flogging when she first presented the idea of men performing oral sex.

"(The singles) Bow and Salute as well as Freaky Type early in my career both earned me scorn from the 'moral' critics for daring to speak favourably of oral sex for the first time ever in dancehall music," she wrote. The reaction to this song (Equal Rights) is nothing short of the typical hypocritical and misogynistic behaviour typical of the Jamaican/dancehall masses ... apparently the females never have and will never have any rights of men," she continued.

Dr Hope, while agreeing the backlash has been great largely because Jamaican men refuse to let go of certain ideologies around sex, believes discussions surrounding sex have evolved.

 

It has evolved

 

"Shabba Ranks has a song called Dem Bow from 1990. If you listen to that song, a man getting oral sex was wrong, a man giving it was wrong, and anal sex was wrong," she explained. "It has evolved ... to where you have men singing about receiving the pleasures of oral sex to Ce'Cile talking about Do It To Me Baby."

She noted that Ce'Cile received much flak for that song and persons didn't want to play it.

"Ishawna's song and the time in which it has come out is working in her favour. The term 'equal rights' is like gender activism and so people are running with that. We have evolved in terms of how repressive we are. It is now harder for us to ignore a song like that," she said, noting that women are calling for the song and some selectors have been yielding.

"It will take time for the majority of men in Jamaica to come around but I believe things are evolving," she said.

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