Can’t Hold Us Down

May 21, 2007

I want to discuss Christina’s song and video for “Can’t Hold Us Down.” (The video is after the jump) The song hits directly on the double standards set for women. Women have been expected to be seen but not heard, and to not have an opinion; “Call me a bitch cause I speak what’s on my mind, Guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled.” It’s so much easier to call an assertive woman a bitch than to give her the same respect an assertive man would receive. Women have to behave a certain way and they can’t do the same things as men because of these expectations that society holds strongly. “If you look back in history it’s a common double standard of society, The guy gets all the glory, the more he can score, While a girl can do the same and you call her a whore.” This is the same message she’s brought up in other songs of hers. However, this song also directly tackles the men who feel they can take advantage of women. Please watch the video before reading further commentary:

Christina, along with Lil’ Kim, is telling women to stand up to men and to not be held down by society’s double standards. The division between men and women is made clear by having them stand in two separate groups in the streets. Women have to stand up together and not let men victimize them. Lil’ Kim is known for taking control and asserting her sexuality. She may be hyper-sexualized but she doesn’t let herself be taken advantage of by men. Christina, like other women in the video, is wearing little clothing but when a man grabs her butt, she directly confronts him. She isn’t letting the man get away with violating her, and the women crowding behind her shows power for the female gender. Just because a woman is wearing revealing clothes does not mean she is calling for men to touch her. And No, the excuse should never be, “She asked for it.” There’s no excuse for men to be able to violate or disrespect women. I found one comment particularly interesting from the Ride or Die Chicks blog. The author writes, “A woman touching a man in a private area is a happening that is never really talked about, not that it never happens, but the chances are much slimmer for a man to be sexually assaulted. Women are less likely to violate the space of a man but more likely to have their space invaded.” Have the double standards for women allowed for more room for sexual assault? Double standards are almost telling women that if they behave as outwardly sexual as men, then they will be put down and men can take advantage of them. And when women are violated, since they have always been expected to keep to themselves, they do not speak up or confront the problem.

Now onto a different subject that came to my attention while watching the video–Christina’s Latina identity. Most of the people in the video appear to be Hispanic or black or just more ethnic looking. Even Christina herself looks more ethnic with her bronzed skin and her dark hair. With other people of color around her, Christina looks more like a Latina. She looks like she is trying to fit in by looking more ethnic. Moreover, the clothes she and the other people are wearing are very urban, which is usually connected to inner-city minorities. I’m not sure why Christina has chosen to dress more urban and to have the video set on the city streets. Is she saying that more sexual assaults are occurring in inner-city neighborhoods because of the specific way women are dressing?



  1. […] it, one can assume that the reason teen pregnancy is high among young Latinas is because they are hyper sexualized, a stereotype that continues to plague Latinas as being voluptuous, sexy, morena, vixen, exotic, […]

  2. […] it is easy to assume that the reason teen pregnancy is high among young Latinas is because they are hyper sexualized, a stereotype that continues to plague Latinas as being voluptuous, sexy, morena, vixen, exotic, […]

  3. I’m a Mexican woman and I strongly believe that education and discipline are extremely important factors in preventing teen pregnancy. The video above seems to promote rebellion and lack of good judgement (the clothing, etc) amongst its viewers which are mainly teens I would think. Nevertheless, interesting article.

  4. For those of you who are Spanish speakers or have friends and/or family with teens who may be at risk of pregnancy, the following article in Spanish may be beneficial to them:

    Conductas sexuales de los adolecentes:

    Which translates to ‘Adolescent sexual conduct’.

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