What does “Timber”by Pitbull mean?The fine linebetween art and misogyny – is it just some “catchy music” or sexism,violence, and objectification of women?It is not just catchy music, many pop songs including”Timber”, contain lyrics that hint at extremely demeaning aspectssuch sexism, violence, and objectification of women.
Music has always beenclosely associated with sex, but why do pop culture and music put thefocus on sex to begin with? Why can’t we find songs about going outfor brunch, or cuddling our pets, for instance, or going on a lovelystroll through a magical forest on the charts? So, everyone is talking about the controversy on Robin Thicke’sBillboard hit ‘Blurred Lines’, but nobody has yet talked about howoutrageously inappropriate and misleading ‘Timber’ is. Unpleasant thoughtsabout male and female relations have always been prevalent in pop music.The majority of the pop music we like to listen to contain misogynisticlyrics that could portray a wrong message to both men and women, but theunpleasant truth is that sex will always be a part of the industry, since sexis a primitive instinct and will always be able to appeal to the audience.I chose to do “Timber” as my subject today, since”Timber” is one of those songs with dangerously sexist lyrics. Aslong as pop culture has existed, party songs have existed as well. But”Timber” has a “rapacious hedonism” which makes the song different fromall other “normal” party songs. This gives the song adisturbing vibe of “I’ll do anything for some release” instead of”I just wanna have a good time”. THE COVER To be honest, I could figure out right away what kind of thing I was in for,when I first saw the song’s cover.
It shows a close-up picture of a woman’sbody in a crop and skintight jean shorts. The already exposing enough skintightshorts are ripped, to expose more of the woman’s sexuallyappealing body part. This picture is used as the Single’scover, although it has no apparent connections to the song itself.This shows how over-sexualizing women has now become a popular trend inmusic, and how it is considered to be “acceptable” in today’sculture. Lyric Analysis”TIMBER” is a phrase used by a lumberjack chopping down atree, when the tree is about to fall, giving a warning to anyone nearby so theywon’t get hit by the tree. But Timber also has another meaning to it which isthe one used in the song; girls that are too hungover that they are fallingdown.
Clever, intended metaphor and double meanings like this are usedthroughout the song to further the idea of – sex. Especially lyrics like”She say she won’t, but I bet she will, timber” addresses a greyarea between consensual sex and rape. I am pretty sure Pitbull didn’t evenrealize that his song can play role in normalizing non-consensual sexand rape, which is an awful reality millions of women face every day, in reallife. Here, Pitbull is basicallyexplaining that he like bodies, especially like Miley Cyrus, referring tothe “Wrecking Ball” music video where she comes out completelyundressed. “Let’smake a night you won’t remember” is said repeatedly throughout the song.This suggests the idea of rape, since it is implying that she/he istrying to have sex with you when you are drunk and unconscious.
Not only sexism, this part of thelyrics glorifies that one percent lifestyle of extreme wealth and moneyinvolving flying in private jets, living in hotels, and available sexualpartners. Throughout wholemusic video, there isn’t any creativity or originality shown, and not evena logical flow. It proves that a video with a rapid flow of images that implysuch things as sex and money instead of focusing towards a meaning, can stillplease the audience.Strangely, in the entirety of themusic video, Pitbull and Kesha are not shown together in any of the scenes. Inthe rapid crosscuts between each scene, Pitbull is shown touching sharks,shirtless, drinking and dancing on a beach with a “beauty”. In mostof the scenes, Pitbull has a gaze, looking straight into thecamera with a confidence that seems to only come from him being the centerof sexual attention.
On the other hand, Kesha is shown as a fetish object, withscenes involving plenty of current music video clichés. She wears several shortand revealing outfits, suggestively leaning over a truck, shaking her’ass’ and stroking her own breasts to the beats of the song. But not onlyKesha, all the other female dancers in the video are alsoobjectified. The camera angle focuses on their body, following the handsdrawing attention to the physically sexual parts of their bodies.
Thisshows that compared to male artists, it is way more common for femaleartists to be objectified, have stricter beauty standards, and areexpected to demonstrate a sexually suggesting behavior, to please the eyes ofthe male audience. Althoughsome artists, both male and female, take advantage of how sex sells in theindustry, we should acknowledge the fact that these degrading themes ofsexism, violence, and objectifying women should not presented in such waysthat impact our society through pop music culture.