As we starting warming up our legs for spin class, our instructor shared some news.

“I got yelled at my someone in my afternoon class yesterday.  She told me I shouldn’t use songs that contain the B word.”

Hmmmm.  It took me a second to digest this news.  First off, I can’t believe anyone actually listens to the words of a song during an exercise class.  To me, it all becomes a big jumble of sounds.  I’m just trying to find the beat (which is a very hard task for someone rhythmically challenged as myself) and trying to slog up that hill, or sprint to the finish line.  The goal of the music is simply to motivate us.

Now to the harder part.  Music with what some consider vulgar language.  Personally I don’t like overly graphic lyrics.  I don’t like the use of vulgarity simply for the use of it.  I don’t like it in film, or novels, or stand up acts.  I think we have a rich and diverse language, with millions of words that can be used to convey our thoughts.  But that’s my personal opinion when it comes to my own listening/reading time.  I think every person is entitled to express themselves using any word or expression they want.  I don’t want to be told how to speak, and I don’t think anyone else should be told how to speak.

Then there is the public domain.  The appropriateness of music that will be listened to by many people who don’t have the ability to opt out of hearing it.  Music played in stores, or restaurants, or exercise classes.  How explicit should the language be in public areas?

Heres my line of distinction: in a place where children are highly likely to visit (supermarkets, malls, etc) I think the music should be “clean”.  But a health Club?  Where members are required to be over 16?  (I realize that 16 is not an adult, but really….) I’m not so sure.

Then there is the actual word itself, which I will refer to as the B word in case there is anyone under 16 who wants to read musings of a middle aged woman.  Is the B word bad?  Is is demoralizing?  I realize this is an easy question to answer, but for arguments sake, let’s say it’s not.  My opinion- as a lyric, as a line in a book, I think it’s fine.  I think it’s a form of artistic expression.  I think it’s a powerful word that can be used to clearly state a specific point.

But what about the other use, when someone uses it as a weapon against someone else?  I’ve been called this word (more often by other women actually) and have used this word.  It’s usually used out of anger.  It’s often used in retaliation.  It’s most commonly used when someone doesn’t have the language skills to convey their meaning in a different way.  (I’m still thinking this out, which is why today’s blog is called Part 1.  Expect a Part 2 when I’ve thought about it some more, or been referred to as one)

So let’s get back to the exercise class.  I think it’s ridiculous that someone complained about the language in a song used for a class.  I defend the instructors right to use whatever music she feels is best for the choreography of the workout routine.  But I can’t deny the complainers right to complain about what sort of music she is forced to listen to in a class.  It’s a slippery slope- what’s right?  What’s wrong?  How do we preserve the right to play music we like without offending others?  I wish I knew.


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