How Rape Culture Got Recycled Into A 12-Year-Old's Viral Music Video

Matty B is a 12-year-old rap impresario from Georgia known for remixing radio hits. Skylar Stecker is a preternaturally talented 13-year-old singer from Wisconsin whose vocal stylings sound well beyond her years.

Together, the pair recently redid "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes — and released a video along with it that's been garnering a lot of attention. Not just because their cover is catchy (though, admittedly, it is), but because of the video's concept, which centers on a boy (Matty B) chasing a girl (Stecker) who doesn't seem to want to be caught.

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As Emilee Lindner at MTV points out, its boy-chases-girl scenario is just another instance in a long line of music video plots that propagate rape culture, right underneath our noses. Rape culture is thematically endemic in pop music from Justin Bieber's "Baby" to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" and even "I Will Possess Your Heart" by Death Cab For Cutie. And we're so numb to the grotesqueness of the message that we barely even notice it's offensive anymore.

No one is blaming Matty B here. He's just a child, imitating artists who came before him. This video, despite its overarching concept, isn't graphic or hyper-sexualizing.

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But it is clear evidence that pop culture socializes little boys to believe that you can win a woman with persistence — even when she walks away, over and over again. It is an example of how girls learn how little their consent is valued. It's also a missed opportunity to portray a different version of the power balance between the sexes. Instead, it's a rinse and repeat of a trope whose retirement is long overdue.


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