Why music shaming needs to stop

Emma Louise Nolan

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For those of you who aren’t aware of the concept, music shaming is condemning someone because of their choice of music. It’s real and it exists. Whether you love Justin Bieber, A$AP Rocky or some hipster band no one has probably ever heard of, who is anyone else to judge.

Headphones - flattop341
Music can evoke all kinds of emotions.  – photo credit: flattop341 (flickr)

In reality, the concept of shaming someone because of their taste in music is absolutely ridiculous. Of course we all like different music, we are all different. We all like different types of food and we all have different style preferences. Dr. Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. According to Paul, “How food tastes depends on what you think the food is. How sexually arousing a person is depends on who you think that person is. How much you like art depends on who you think created it and so on.” So surely music follows the same reasoning. Musical preference is not merely based on our gender or demographic. Music is supposed to be subjective not universal.

The concept of music shaming is unfamiliar to most people but it happens all the time. I personally have been music shamed by numerous people because I don’t like the typical genre of music that a female of my age and demographic stereotypically should. Research carried out by Paul Lamere on behalf of Music Machinery states that a young female should  favour artists such as Katy Perry, P!nk, Beyoncé and Rihanna. Whereas the research indicates that young males favour artists such as Eminem, Jay-Z and Drake. So essentially because my favourite artist is Drake and I am female, I am therefore seen as masculine. That is BS!

Why are people being demeaned for expressing an interest in something that they enjoy? It is completely uncalled for to shame someone for such a ridiculous reason. It is not essential that you like the music that I like. In fact if you did the world would be a very boring place. The whole purpose of music is entertainment and enjoyment so why in the twenty-first century is music shaming even a thing?

Deny it all you want but every single one of us has a playlist of  cringe worthy “guilty pleasures” that we would be absolutely mortified for anyone else to hear. Everyone has a few dirty little secrets they keep on lock down. When my music is on shuffle in the company of others I am in constant fear that the likes of Sex on the Beach or Gasolina might play next, but it shouldn’t be like this. I should be free without judgement to blast Vengaboys all day long. We all have the right to rap an entire verse of an Eminem tune and feel beast or rock out to Aerosmith if that’s what you’re into.  Whatever floats your boat, be proud of it and embrace it. Love the music you love and to hell with what anyone else thinks. Do you boo!

Jesus Died So We May Be Free to live

I have no idea why so many psychologists are interested in our musical choice. Numerous professionals have carried out dense research to determine what a person’s musical choice says about them. David Greenberg is a psychologist at Cambridge University relevant to this subject. Apparently his research indicates that those who like soft, instrumental music are more empathetic and sensitive than those who favour other musical genres. Does that mean that because I like rap music I am insensitive and careless? Hell no!

Scientists in Austin, Texas claim that those who favour country and pop music tend to have lower intelligence scores.  Their observation is based off The Short Test Of Musical Preferences (Stomp) test which assesses musical preferences. I personally enjoy listening to a bit of pop music and at the same time see myself as intelligent.

So based on my musical preferences, psychologists see me as unintelligent, insensitive, careless and masculine. All four of my ‘prescribed’ characteristics are untrue. Music shaming needs to end and psychologists need to stop analysing us. Let us listen to our music in peace.

Hip Hop session

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Emma Louise Nolan