Kick in she back door: Violence Against Women Takes Road March

Kick in she back door by veteran band Burning Flames recently won Road March in Antigua. Some bands refused to play the song because its offensive lyrics endorse anal rape of women. Nonetheless, it emerged as the most popular song of Antigua’s carnival.

Local activist group, Women Against Rape spoke out against the song saying:

We find the contents of the song unacceptable. The lyrics promote a lack of respect for women and condone the abuse of women and acts of non-consensual sexual aggression and violence against women. To put it frankly: the song encourages rape and/ or sexual violence against women and is in direct contravention of among others Article 4(Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter American System).

We find the song so extremely offensive that we are calling upon the Hon. Minister Jaqui Quinn Leandro, Minister responsible for Gender Affairs and the Honorable Minster of Information and Technology, the Hon. Minister Edmond Mansoor to ensure that all steps are taken to ensure that all media houses within Antigua and Barbuda and those agencies connected with the media and carnival to immediately stop playing the song in public.
Below is a partial transcription of the lyrics:

[woman screaming]
[man mocking woman’s voice “murder murder,  ah kill he gine kill me”]

If she front door lock and you can’t get in
And she bathroom window lock
And you can’t get in
And she bedroom window lock
And you can’t get in
And she kitchen window lock
And you can’t get in

What to do?

Kick in she back door
Kick in she back door
What ah mean?
Kick um in

And she bawling murder
[more screaming]

I don’t really know bout you
But I know just what to do
When a woman batten down she house
Make up she mind to keep you out
You push your key to find it jam
And it in {something} in you hand

So the solution to get inside
Cause she lock down she house so tight
Whether rain or shine
Morning, noon or night
Is the only way to win this fight

Chorus

[more screaming: “Call the police, come of mi yard, you too damn wicked”]

Women does mek things real hard
Especially when they get mad
No matter how hard you try
No easy way to slip inside
So the solution to get inside
Cause she lock down she house so tight
Whether rain or sun
Morning, noon or night
Is the only way to win this fight.

The song conceives of heterosexual relations as an adversarial competition in which men, through the use of sexual violence, emerge as winners.  Sex with women is seen as a man’s right and therefore women’s consent to sexual relations deemed immaterial.  In fact, if you follow the song’s logic, if women refuse to consent to vaginal sex, they should be punished by being anally raped.  The song writer’s lament that “women does mek tings real hard, especially when they get mad”  suggests that women should not have the right to determine under what circumstances they will consent to sex.  It rests on an implicit assumption of a man’s right to control a woman’s body because they are in an intimate relationship.  All these beliefs need to be discussed, unpacked and refuted.  As heterosexual relationships are normalised and naturalised, often sexism, misogyny  and unequal relations of power between women and men in heterosexual relationships are made to appear normal and natural too.

Not only has the song not been banned, it’s the most popular of the season and will no doubt be exported across the soca-loving Caribbean.  Since it’s quite likely that many of us will hear it, whether we like it or not, or may very well like it, even though we don’t like the message, we might as well use it as an opening to discuss sex, gender, power and violence in heterosexual relationships.

So, let’s talk about sex. And power, pleasure and gendered expectations.

What does equitable, just and loving heterosexual sex look like? To the many, many vocal people who see absolutely nothing wrong with message in this song, who have argued that the lyrics speak of the “reality” of relationships, what would you say?

10 thoughts on “Kick in she back door: Violence Against Women Takes Road March

  1. Flojo says:

    This is absolutely outrageous! The fact that it won road march is even more stunning. Of course people will ‘accept’ the lyrics of the song as reality but is it a reality that we want to continue to embrace. And, if we continue to say “it’s the reality” then we simply continue to accept and tolerate violence against women. I’m glad that WAR spoke out against these offensive lyrics. I would not be surprised if violent acts against women escalated in the coming months.

    Like

  2. Dian says:

    I am happy to see that people have recognised the need to something about the song but I’m concerned that not enough people are on board, men as well as women.

    Like

  3. This is something else, I can’t believe Burning Flames – they done lost their damned minds and the screaming! What on earth were they thinking and why the hell!! Just wrong on so many levels!

    Like

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