Dear 7-Eleven: “Crazy Bitch” isn’t ice-cream music

The following is an email sent to the Swedish headquarters of 7-Eleven.

(UPDATE: 7-ELEVEN HAVE RESPONDED AND INFORMED ME THAT THEY WILL CONTACT THEIR MUSIC SUPPLIER TO MAKE THEM AWARE OF THIS ISSUE.)

Dear 7-Eleven Sweden:

Yesterday, a beautiful day here in Stockholm, I picked my 3 year-old daughter up from daycare. One of the things she likes more than anything is to go to 7-Eleven and get a strawberry frozen yoghurt. She insists on sitting in the store while eating it…she likes watching the people and sitting at the table.

So, we get into the store and get her frozen yoghurt. She is loving it, as usual. There is music playing, of course, but I don’t pay much attention.

Then, after a few minutes, I begin to notice the lyrics. The song is “Roses” by Outkast, the chorus of which includes the line: “I know you’d like to think your shit don’t stink…” OK, so this isn’t the first time my daughter has heard a swear word, and probably not the last. I’m prepared to let it go. Then, the rest of the song kicks in:

Better come back down to Mars Girl

quit chasin’ cars

What happens when the dough get so low

Bitch, you ain’t that fine

No waaay…no waaay…noo waaaaay

Crazy Bitch

Bitch,

Stupid ass bitch,

Old punk ass bitch,

Old dumbass bitch,

A bitch’s bitch,

Just a bitch

This refrain is repeated over and over. Loudly. I ask the staff at the store if they are the ones who selected the music, and point out that my daughter should not have to sit through misogynistic trash like this. The clerk is apologetic, and tells me that all 7-11 music is centralized and streamed through to all of their stores. He then shuts the music off. (Credit to your staff.)

This can seem like a small thing…music that no-one pays attention to. But, these songs are part of a broader culture of aggression against women, and since your stores cater to a lot of younger customers, phrases like “stupid ass bitch” and “crazy bitch” being played over store speakers only confirms what a lot of younger people are being trained to think: it’s OK for women to put up with this kind of aggression.

My daughter is 3…must she hear the expression “bitch” 125 times in 4 minutes just because she wants to have a frozen yoghurt at your store? Perhaps your music selectors didn’t know what they were doing when they OK’d this song. But, you need to be aware that it is precisely this kind of “everyday sexism” that makes life for women so difficult.

My daughter is just starting out in life. She will undoubtedly encounter sexism for most of that life. What I ask is that, at the age of 3, she can enjoy the simple pleasure of eating an ice-cream without being reminded of that fact.

Yours,

Christian Christensen

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About chrchristensen
Christian Christensen is Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University, Sweden.

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