Recently I came across the lyrics of a very popular song. The song is called Teenage Dream and it is sung by Katy Perry. This song is a big hit on the radio, and I can imagine that there are millions of girls, boys, teenagers, whoever, that love this song. They probably enjoy the beat, they probably just like the rhythm, but also, they like the lyrics. It’s a happy-feel-good-love song, who doesn’t like that?
Not that I hate love songs, but I don’t like ones with potentially destructive lyrics. How are the lyrics for this song potentially destructive?
I imagine a girl, a young girl, who has her eye set on some boy that she knows. Maybe it’s in school or at the masjid. Maybe she’s talked to him once or twice, or maybe they talk all the time. Maybe her feelings for him are secret, or maybe they’re straight up dating. But I imagine this girl listening to this song, and relating to the first few lines, and then just going along with the rest of it in her mind.
The song starts off describing a girl who was lost, confused, and lonely until she met a boy who liked her for who she is. At last, she has found comfort in someone, and even better, it’s a boy! Life is wonderful, because now her teenage dreams are becoming a reality: I have a boyfriend.
Now let’s go back to our young girl listening to the song. She’s enjoying the music, and she listens carefully and she is suddenly daydreaming about her teenage dream. Hey… the boy I like thinks I’m pretty without any makeup on. And he laughs when I tel. the punch line wrong–*sigh* this song must be about me, and we must be in love, just like Katy.
The stage has been set: two valentines in love. Now, what’s the next prescribed step in the song? Once this teenage dream has become a reality? Here is where the destructive part comes in: as our young girl is listening to the song, Katy transitions into some not so young ideas– Katy wants to go all the way with her boyfriend, and she is going to feel no regrets, just love.
Now I’m not advocating that a young Muslim girl who listens to this particular song is going to run out and commit zina (fornication), but I am saying that in the off chance that she is teetering on the thought of it (because let’s face it, she’s already gone so far as to find herself a boyfriend), then hey, if Katy’s song is giving her the warm fuzzies, then the entire song is giving her the warm fuzzies, and what Katy is singing about won’t be so bad.
It’s like the song is giving the kids written permission to think about and obsess over falling in love and going all the way.
She even tells you HOW to start it off: 1) meet up with friends somewhere 2) get drunk 3) seclude yourselves from the group and then 4) let him put his hands all over you when you’re wearing skin tight jeans (she even tells you what to wear!)
This song is a recipe for disaster–but we’ll all just let it slide by because it’s a “love song”, and blaming music for our societal problems is just extreme and way too conservative.
Now what about Katy’s male listeners? I can’t even begin to imagine how much this song messes with them. When they hear an older woman singing about letting a man put his hands on her in her skin tight jeans, and being a teenage dream for him, WHAT do you think our young male listener is going to think of the next time he attends an MSA meeting, or sunday school and sees the girl he kinda likes wearing a pair of skinny jeans??? You better BET he is going to think about putting his hands all over her.
Is what I’m saying too extreme? Can I really blame one song and one woman for our current teenage problems? Do these problems really exist?
First, I’m not being too extreme. These problems are foreal, and these ideas and feelings are foreal. Please don’t go through life thinking that teenagers aren’t loaded with hormones and totally in love with some idiot they know at school. Plus, I’d rather lean on the extreme side and be safe than be sorry. Because in this case, being sorry is sometimes not enough.
Second, I’m not going to place the blame on one song or one singer. The real problem is that teenagers are continuously surrounding themselves with TONS of songs and TONS of singers with EXTREMELY suggestive lyrics for committing destructive sins. So no, Katy Perry-Teenage Dream is the not the end all, be all of zina-inducing music–I’m just picking on her song because it was easy.
Third, these problems DO exist in our communities. Our teenagers are going through serious problems these days. They are dating, they are doing drugs, they are touching each other, and let’s just say it: they are committing zina. And of the cases I’ve heard, the situations actually sound pretty close to what Katy is singing about: a lost girl, a boy who understands her, bam– they’ve gone all the way.
What’s the point of all this? Parents– take a look into your kids iPod and see what they’re listening to. If you don’t want to listen to the music yourself, a simple google search will yield the lyrics to the song. If it is inappropriate, don’t go nuts on them, TALK to them about how destructive and suggestive the lyrics are.
Teenagers–take a look into your iPod, and think about some of the lyrics to the songs you love to listen to. I’m not going to even ask you to think about what Rasulullah (saw) would think about it, just think of your own parents. If they were to read the lyrics, would you be embarrassed that you listen to that? Also, try to assess how you feel when you listen to these songs– do you feel connected to the lyrics somehow? If so, re-evaluate what you’re doing in your life… why do you, a practicing Muslim, feel a connection to a song about dating and committing zina?
Just some food for thought.