Statement: Below is a gender analysis of “Loser”, a popular Caribbean dancehall song by Lady Saw. The writer believes this song effectively portrays subjective perspectives on roles of men and women, gender relationships, issues of power, sexuality and patriarchal attitudes towards social constructs of homophobia and prostitution. The likely impacts of the results of the analysis will be concluded.
“In Caribbean popular music, there is no shortage of songs whose representations of gender, from a North American liberal or left perspective, would seem controversial.” (Manuel, 1995) This statement gives insight into the fact that the Caribbean, as a cultural space, is adept at introducing gender issues to the content of musical expressions. It is not only from the perspective of North America that such content would be viewed as controversial, as many analyses have been done based on such an assumption within the Caribbean itself. However, Caribbean popular music is arguably prominent outside the region and has contributed to the formation of several social realities as to how gender roles are appropriated and construed.
Fundamentally, there is a certain depth to popular music within the region, where the constructions of gendered ideals, communication, politics and relationships embedded in lyrical content are concerned. An analysis of such concepts can reveal the nature of gender socialization and the role of patriarchy, as well as the binary approach undertaken by agents within the Caribbean society. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in Canada, a gender analysis is a set of methods employed to understand the relationships between men and women, making visible their roles in the spaces of family, community, economics and politics. It is geared at providing also, information on the intersectionality of gender, with other social constructs such as class, ethnicity and age. This can in turn tell which gender has power, the nature of that power, and the forms of struggles for power and also how society affords privileges. (Canadian International Development Agency, 2011)
The song, “Loser,” by Marion ‘Lady Saw’ Hall, released in 2004, has a web of gendered expressions and issues that are put forward in the lyrical content. However, before analyzing this content, it is prudent to establish an understanding of the artiste and the possible factors which led to the penning of this musical message. Lady Saw, a revered veteran in the dancehall space, began performing in at the age of 15 years. She grew into prominence singing hardcore lewd music, which gave insights into sexual power struggles between men and women. However, her craft was not well received as she created it in a space historically dominated by male artistes. (“Gale Musician Profiles:” 1997) Saw, nonetheless, maintained a presence reminiscent of a male artiste, cutting her hair and singing potent lyrics about female sexual dominance,...