For the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, Madame Rap has selected 22 popular songs in French and English that glorify pedocriminality and incest, in chronological order from 1952 to 1996.
[TW: incest, pedocriminality, sexual violence]
While rap remains designated by the dominant culture as the most violent and sexist music there is, these variety, pop and rock songs normalize rape culture, pedophilia and grooming, and glamorize sexual violence against children.
This sickening anthology takes many forms: sexual assaults presented as consensual (and rock’n’roll) romance, pedophilic desires sold as sultry transgressions, under-age girls portrayed as sex-starved teasers trapping poor adult men, or fantasies, and even stories, of incest.
These texts raise many questions. Why, today, six years after MeToo, are we still unable to take a critical look at these more than problematic lyrics? We absolutely must condemn them, for they have shaped the imagination of entire generations and marked many moments of our daily lives, be they romantic, festive, family or intimate.
While rappers continue to be denied their status as authors, their capacity for narrative and second-degree, these noble gentlemen of the music world can wrap themselves in their standard masculinity and benefit from complete impunity. Even better, they are portrayed as poets, geniuses, symbols of our cultural heritage, role models and coveted stars. Yet some of their writings are clearly predatory.
Contrary to what we might think, images, texts and representations sexualizing children and celebrating pedophilia are not exceptional, but systemic and totally accepted in our society. They have infected literature, cinema, the arts, music, the media, advertising and popular culture for far too long. If we fail to recognize this, how can we take proper care of the victims and pretend to put a stop to these forms of violence?
160,000 children are sexually abused every year in France, according to a report by the Ciivise (Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence Against Children) published in September 2023. 45% of children who speak out at the time of the abuse are not kept safe and do not receive care, and 58% of the professionals who are notified do not protect the child following the disclosure of the abuse.
- Henri Salvador – Ma petite Jacqueline (1952), written by Maurice Pon
- Claude Nougaro – Cécile, ma fille (1963), written by Claude Nougaro
- Elvis Presley – Kissin’ Cousins (1964), written by Bernie Baum et Bill Giant
- The Grateful Dead – Good Morning, Little School Girl (1967), written by unknown/original version recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson in 1937
- France Gall & Maurice Biraud – La petite (1968), written by Robert Gall
- Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue (1968), written by Van Morrison
- Léo Ferré – Petite (1970), written by Léo Ferré
- The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (1971), written by Mick Jagger
- Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade de Melody Nelson (1971), written by Serge Gainsbourg
- Christian Delagrange – Petite fille (1972), written by Frank Gérald (pseudonym of Gérald Biesel)
- Michel Berger & France Gall – Si l’on pouvait vraiment parler (1974), written by Michel Berger
- Led Zeppelin – Sick Again (1975), written by Robert Plant
- Christophe – Petite fille du soleil (1975), written by Didier Barbelivien
- Gilbert Bécaud – Une petite fille entre neuf et dix ans (1976), written by Gilbert Bécaud
- Rod Stewart – Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) (1976), written by Rod Stewart
- The Knack – My Sharona (1979), written by Doug Fieger
- Jean-Luc Lahaye – Gamine (1989), written by Jean-Luc Lahaye
- Bernard Minet – Hey jolie petite fille (1990), written by Jean-Luc Azoulay
- François Feldman – Joy (1991), written by François Feldman
- Faith No More – Edge of the World (1991), written by Mike Patton
- Neil Diamond – Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen (1993), original song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield in 1961
- Étienne Daho – Quand tu m’appelles Éden (1996), written by Étienne Daho
See also: Why I am a feminist and I love hip hop.