by Women’s Center Ambassador Megan Prangley
Maybe you’ve heard this new song Animals by Maroon 5 on the radio- maybe you haven’t. Just in case you’re thinking, “What am I missing?” here is the dangling-carcass-filled, Halloween approved music video. Caution- it is unsettling, especially if you’re like me and don’t enjoy blood.
To preface all of this, I love Maroon 5 and I fall into the fandom who swoons over Adam Levine on The Voice every week, but this video is a quick turn off. It clearly depicts a male character stalking a female. This includes following her without her knowing, taking pictures of her, bothering her at a club, and even coming into her house without her even knowing to watch her sleep. The big problem with all this- Adam Levine is using his shirtless chest, rippling muscles, and aggressive sexuality to make this looks sexy and desirable. Stalking is NOT sexy, it is a serious crime. You can go to jail and be fined for stalking in Michigan- that is the reality. This music video normalizes and even glorifies this offense.
What’s even more terrifying, all of this commentary on stalking and gender roles is wrapped up into a catchy pop song! People are singing this; I know I was, without realizing that the lyrics are championing rape culture. I can hear people groaning, “It’s just a song,” but let’s actually look at these lyrics…
“Baby I’m preying on you tonight/ Hunt you down eat you alive/ Just like animals…”
“Maybe you think that you can hide/ I can smell your scent for miles/ Just like animals…”
Creepy, but it’s not the first time women have been compared to animals in our society and popular media. Imagine anytime you’ve heard a girl been referred to as a “bitch” in movies, porn, music, etc. The goal of this language is to keep women down, or make them seem “lesser than”. This idea that women can be treated like animals is problematic considering that animals in our society are used, conquered, tamed, and/or cruelly slaughtered. Linking women to animals is supporting rape culture and violent crimes such as stalking. It encourages that women are property and can be treated like objects, something to “hunt down”. This sadistic attitude normalizes other violent crimes like sexual assault, rape, etc.
There will be people who read the commentary and think people are overreacting to the song. Some of the responses I’ve seen online say something along the lines of, “The music video is fine because the female actress is his wife.” Wait, what? It doesn’t matter if the victim is his wife, or a total stranger, or his best friend. Marital rape is also a crime. You need consent from a sexual partner every single time, being a spouse does not mean your body is no longer yours. Also following your wife or partner around the streets without them knowing, checking up on them constantly, and being over possessive are signs of an abusive relationship. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month; “Animals” could not have come out at a worse time.
It’s simple, Animals makes stalking look like it’s not a crime, makes violence seem sexy, and lies that women want to be pursued even after they clearly say “no”. This video is disturbing, propagates rape culture, and stirs up tired gender myths. Evaluating this song matters because everything we see, hear, read, and scroll past online defines our culture. Now I turn the radio off whenever this song comes on because I can’t unsee Adam Levine committing that scary crime while showering in blood. Remember, if you or a friend is a victim of stalking, or sexual assault there are resources on campus and in the community! Visit the Women’s Center, the Counseling Center, or the YWCA. The GVSU Women’s Center can also talk with you about your options and connect you to other resources.