The song I would like to research for my podcast project is “Til It Happens To You” which was released by Lady Gaga in 2015. My second runner up is the “Pretty Hurts” music video that was released in 2013 by Beyoncé. Both songs embrace underlying social issues that are embedded throughout modern feminist ideology. “Til It Happens To You” is my first choice due to the gravity of the topic that Gaga is calling awareness to. The sickening reality is that far too many college students are either survivors of sexual violence themselves, or know someone whose life has been permanently impacted by their attacker. Sexual assault and rape is an issue I am passionate about because it has negatively impacted the lives of so many amazing women and men in our community. Being a rape survivor herself, Lady Gaga was able to channel her personal experience when co-writing “Til It Happens To You,” which is extraordinarily powerful in and of itself. Furthermore, the single was recorded by Gaga for The Hunting Ground, a documentary that addresses campus rape and sexual assault across the country. These institutions have continuously failed to adequately address sexual violence and defend the fundamental rights of student survivors. Oftentimes, the perpetrator is not properly tried or held accountable for violating another human being and blatantly committing a crime. Society must begin facilitating conversations surrounding the seriousness of rape and sexual assault to overcome the stigma that has been associated to it. Whatever the situation may be, it is never the survivor’s fault. No human being deserves to have their body violated regardless of what they were wearing, how much they had to drink, or how much they may have been “flirting.” Society must listen to survivors and stop assuming because outsiders will never fully understand the impact of sexual assault until it touches upon their lives. Sexual assault and rape is not only an important social issue, but it is one that I would like to learn about in greater detail so I can better serve as an ally for survivors.

The message of “Pretty Hurts” also addresses a far-reaching social issue that has shaped the lives of women. The song’s lyrics relate to feminist ideology, women empowerment, and body image, which are subject matters that society repeatedly fails to properly address. Beyoncé’s music video for “Pretty Hurts” depicts the damaging consequences of inflated beauty standards that society holds women to. The music video displays how far too many women aiming to reach these impossible standards develop eating disorders along their mission to achieve “perfection.” Additionally, the music video is set at a beauty pageant, which further alludes to the notion that society has turned into one big beauty contest and that we are all being judged solely upon our appearances. I am interested in learning more about how “Pretty Hurts” correlates to modern feminist movement. I would also like to research the physical, mental, and social impacts of high beauty standards and why society has become so fixated on analyzing the female body.

Conducting research on “Til It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga will most definitely prompt additional exploration into the heavy topics of rape and sexual assault not only on college campuses, but across the nation. Similar to Gaga’s song, analyzing “Pretty Hurts” in-depth will enable me to dive deeper into the root issues of societal beauty conventions and learn more about the pivotal role they play in the oppression of women. “Til It Happens To You” is classified as a pop song, which is evident through the song’s rhythm, catchy melody, and repeating chorus. The slower parts of Gaga’s song are ballad-like, so I would likely classify “Til It Happens To You” as a pop ballad. Seeing that “Til It Happens To You” openly addresses the social issue of sexual abuse, it is directly applicable to the Me Too Movement. Furthermore, since the rise of the Me Too Movement there has been an increase in awareness of the widespread sexual assault and rape cases occurring on college campuses. A rise in media addressing sexual violence attempts to speak to the unimaginable distress and weight that so many survivors carry with them every day. “Pretty Hurts” is categorized as a power pop and, or a soul ballad. At times Beyoncé’s song is slow in tempo, but also possesses a lavish musical arrangement that places emphasis on the song’s melody and harmonies. Without looking directly at the musical composition and the explicit construction of each song, I would most likely group both “Til It Happens To You” and “Pretty Hurts” in the same pop ballad genre.

As I mentioned above, both songs are important to my personal beliefs and concerns. Being a Political Science major, I have learned about systemic forms of oppression that disproportionately impede the intrinsic rights and unfavorably shape the lives of citizens. I have always tried to serve as an ally for vulnerable groups and I believe that I could advocated on behalf of sexual violence survivors through a podcast focused on “Til It Happens To You.” That being said, I am willing to dedicate the remainder of the semester to studying and listening to either of these powerful songs. The only concern I have with these songs is that both of them touch upon extremely fragile subjects and I would never want to offend anyone or trigger them in any way whatsoever.

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