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In studying the lyrics of popular music, and particularly aspects of violent attitudes toward women, teachers discover what language represents to students and what students experience through the songs. The texts created about artifacts like song lyrics suggest more about the students as knowers than about the objects being studied. Exploring issues of violence against women in song led to the examination of problematic associations of identity and difference in students' interpretations of a student's analysis of an album by the group Metallica. The question of whether any listener can fully identify with a subjectivity completely different from her own problematizes any critique of sexist or violent imagery in pop music. Students often see women as deserving of their situations and saw no need to problematize what appears to be the victimization of women. Students also tended to miss how such gender construction serves dominant interests and reinscribes male privilege. In today's atmosphere of curriculum revision to acknowledge diverse voices, popular music offers an important transgressive site where experiences long denied as part of the learning process can be both acknowledged and interrogated. Popular music proceeds largely by metaphor, and its seductive nature makes it an important place for teachers to instruct students concerning such cultural representations. Instead of ignoring violence, teachers must examine its underlying ideologies and thereby involve students in a critical consumption of the culture in which they are embedded. (Contains 20 notes.) (HB)

Descriptors: Aggression, Cultural Context, Emotional Response, English Curriculum, English Instruction, Epistemology, Females, Higher Education, Popular Culture, Popular Music, Songs, Student Attitudes, Violence, Womens Studies, Writing Instruction

Autor: Brunner, Diane


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