I have to admit, I’m a sucker for catchy pop songs, especially more obscure ones. (For example, a mashup of PSY GANGNAM STYLE and Carly Rae Jepsen’s call me maybe titled Call Me Gangnam). So I was pleasantly surprised when I found the song Who Do U Think U R? by Kaitlyn K. The song was produced by a student named Katilin, and the video was a collaboration by various students at Cypress Ranch High School. This is a high school near houston, texas. A summary by the Huffington Post summarized it well: “Written and sung by Cypress Ranch High School student Kaitlin K., the songstress employs the help of her peers to lip-sync and dance for a cause in the school’s hallways”. (Piazzola). The video is impressive, and reminds me of something you would see in either High School Musical or Glee. The lip dubbing in the video by various students is done quite well.
The song lyrics address the topic of bullying, tackling from the angle of / asking the question about what gives bullies the right to think they are better than everyone else. For example, the main chorus asks the question of why bullies think they are kings over everyone else in the school. “So Who Do U Think U R. Who died and made you king. Think you know it all
You don’t know anything. Who Do U Think U R.” (K, Kaitlyn). I think this song asks important questions, despite being a bit bubbly and chippy. I mean, what gives you the right to be an asshole to everyone else trying their best to get through their school day? Another section of the song adresses the issue of physical bullying and people with pretentious attitudes. “When you’re out in the crowd, knocking little kids down, Does it make you feel big, does it make you feel proud? You got all the best stuff, you got all the right clothes, But your attitude sucks, you need a new one of those!” (K, Kaitlyn.). The song does subtly address some of the root causes of bullying, hurting others to make one’s self feel better about their own life and situation. This stanza also adresses bullying based on class, were poorer students are harassed for not having the latest, expensive fashion trends. (I would like to make the caveat that this mostly applies to bullying between women, who are expected to wear certain clothes more so than men in school).
Although I enjoyed this song, and like how it adresses bullying in a way that is popular and raises awareness more so than other forms of media. (A catchy anti-bullying song might be seen by more people than an ordinary text-based blog posting). But, although it may be viewed and listen too by more people in total, awareness raising such as this loses some effectives when in is presented in a way that is less serious than other forms of anti-bullying advocacy. That is my biggest concern with this type of media in addressing serious topics such as bullying and harassment. For example, there is a section of the song that adresses physical harassment. “I kinda wanna say thank you for what you’ve done When you say I can’t, makes me know I can. When you push me down, I just get up again. (K, Kaitlyn). The issue with this line is that it makes the assumption that the physical harassment is at a level where the victim can get up and leave the situation. This song ignores the darker scenarios were victims of bullying are physically incapacitated or irreparably harmed by their perpetrator, where (in these specific cases bullied students are physically unable of “getting up” to fight back or walk away).
The final concern I would like to address about this anti-bullying song is that it doesn’t specifically address the LGBT community with it’s anti-bullying message. It does not make reference to, at least to my understanding of the music video, the specific hardships of students who identify as non-heterosexual. I understand that if a music video, especially one focusing on the topic of bullying, gets too specific that it will have a much narrower audience and get less widespread recognition. Thus, I understand why the video addressed the topic of bullying in general.
In conclusion, I think that the song and music video Who Do U Think U R? by Kaitlyn K is a positive form of activism to combat the issue of bullying. Catchy songs are listened to more and gain more widespread recognition than a text-based blog or website. The power of activism and awareness raising comes from not preaching to the choir (reaching individuals that already know, understand, and support your message) but preaching to the open street (to individuals who are unaware about the prevalence of bullying in schools). Awareness raising is only an effective tool if your message is reaching people that have not heard about it already.
Piazzola , Marissa. “Anti-Bullying Anthems: 5 Empowering Music Videos Created By Teens (WATCH).” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/anti-bullying-anthems-6-e_n_1418149.html>.
“Cypress Ranch High School.” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2012. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypress_Ranch_High_School>.
K, Kaitlyn. “Kaitlyn K – ‘Who Do U Think U R?’ (Song & Lyrics) (Cypress Ranch Anti-Bullying) Lyrics.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxj8nDQPPO0>.