“I’ve behaved long enough. I’ve sighed long enough. It’s now time to talk dirty. Like dirty, dirty”
If you are wondering about this line, it is nothing more than the English translation of one of most famous party songs from Bollywood in recent years. While we burn the dance floor to numbers like these, seldom do we stop to ponder over the deep sexism in these lyrics.
Movies, songs, books and shows, other than entertaining the masses, also have far-reaching influence on people and the culture of a nation. This in turn affects how we treat women in our popular culture and in real life too.
Based on a research conducted by JuxtSmartMandate, Love Matters India has launched a campaign created by OgilvyOne to address how popular media and Bollywood is unwittingly propagating sexism and gender inequality through songs. Love Matters is a leading digital platform to talk about sex with an open, honest, and non-judgmental attitude.
The campaign #NotMusicToMyEars will aim at deciphering the meaning of popular Bollywood songs and how they add to creating imbalance in society. The campaign was launched on a popular music streaming app. It consists of a playlist of songs that acts as click bait. Immediately after three specific songs is an audio capsule of the English translation of the song that helps the listener to understand just how lewd the lyrics he/she just heard were.
Commenting on the campaign, Vithika Yadav, Country Head, Love Matters India, said, “#NotMusicToMyEars is crucial for young people as we see more and more of them accessing the digital space. Entertainment and media has been a huge influencer in India, and we’ve realised that the gaps in gender equality and other taboo issues could be filled if we start sensitising these spaces. It is very important to raise a voice on such songs as they do not fulfil any substantial goals, but lead to further stereotyping.”
Commenting on the brief that they received from Love Matters India, Burzin Mehta, Group Creative Director, OglivyOne, said, “The brief from Love Matters was about how increasingly offensive lyrics are becoming in Bollywood. We all dance to these songs but nobody really pays attention to the lyrics. The sad part about that is that in the garb of music, a lot of very lewd and offensive lyrics have made their way to very popular songs in Bollywood. While we understand that there is freedom of expression and in a democracy there is freedom of speech, freedom of speech also comes with certain responsibilities. You can’t say what you want at the expense of others. So, that was essential the brief given to us.”
The idea of launching this campaign on music streaming apps came when it was observed that people have a more intimate role to play when listening to music on such apps than anywhere else.
“Where are people listening to this of sort of music? The answer is music streaming apps. That is the place where people have the most intimate experience with the song. If you are at a party, we don’t even expect you to listen to the lyrics but when you are listening to music through a music app, that’s when you are having your most intimate experience with the song. So, what we have done is make a playlist on a popular music streaming app consisting of about 14-15 very popular songs but these are also songs that have very lewd lyrics. After you have heard a particular song there is a little audio clip that plays that reveals what you just heard in the song,” said Mehta.
In just two days the campaign has received 39.8 million impressions and the hashtag #NotMusicToMyEars has trended in India. Many Bollywood personalities like Gul Panag and Manasi Scott also took to Twitter to support the campaign. Actor Farhan Akhtar also made a commitment on Twitter promising not to include lewd and offensive lyrics in the movies he makes.
Client: Love Matters India