It’s raining men

Question 2: Language, sexuality and music – discuss the relationship between language, sexuality and popular music production (you can focus on one song or several, up to you)

Music is prevalent in our lives. As a matter of fact, all cultures have their own type of music. Popular music production these days are centralized around the notion of sex. Research has shown that about 92% of the 174 songs studied, contained ‘reproductive messages’ (Grandoni, 2011). Reproductive messages here would, of course, be referring to messages about sex. It was also noted that songs that made it to the top ten chart have more sexual messages(Grandoni, 2011).

The song Bed by J. Holliday is one of the many popular songs that contain sexual messages. There is an excerpt of lyrics which says “wrap me in your legs, and love you til’ your eyes roll back, I’m tryna put you to bed” . Even though it is a short sentence of lyrics, it is clear that the song is trying to draw a mental picture of the sexual activity so that listeners are able to imagine the situation. The lyrics are clearly and perfectly describing the sexual activity in detail. Therefore, when listeners are able to imagine the sexual activity, it will arouse the listeners.

Another song that we can take a look at is Peacock by Katy Perry. The lyrics to the song is “Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? Don’t be a chicken boy, stop acting like a beeotch”. From the lyrics, the peacock is definitely not referring to the animal peacock but it is an innuendo for penis. Even Katy Perry said that her song Peacock is like the world’s biggest innuendo and stated that songs with her would have a lot of double entendres. Hence, innuendos are used in lyrics of popular music to make the song more enjoyable and to let the listener’s imagination run wild.

In conclusion, popular music usually contains explicit sexual messages in their lyrics be it in the form of a description of the sexual activity or as an innuendo. The play with listener’s imagination and arousal through words is the key factor in making the song successful. Hence, there is definitely a relationship between language, sexuality and popular music production.

Question 3: Give a brief intro to the notion of ‘performativity’ to someone who’s got no clue about it. Illustrate with examples pertaining to language and sex(uality) and/or desire.

Performativity can be defined as the underlying conditions that make performance possible (Cameron & Kulick, 2003). In addition, according to Austin (1997), performatives are language as action. Examples of performativity utterances are such as ‘I hereby now pronounce you husband and wife’ or ‘I promise you’. Therefore, performativity is an action that is conveyed through words in speech. In other words, performativity is a speech act. The difference between performativity and performance is that performativity is a process through which a subject is creating while performance is what a subject does and it is only one dimension of performativity.

An example of a performative act in relation to sexuality can be seen in male conversations which involve gossiping about gay men. The gossiping about gay men is a performative act of speaker’s heterosexuality (Cameron & Kulick, 2003). They are trying to validate their sexuality as a straight man by showing strong dislike for gay men and by bringing gay men down. Another example of performativity can be seen in drag queens who uses linguistic styles that index socially conflicting positions (Cameron & Kulick, 2003).


Austin, J. L. 1997 [1962], How To Do Things with Words, 2nd edn, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and Sexuality

Grandoni, D. (2011). 92% of Top Ten Billboard Songs Are About SexThe Atlantic. Retrieved 18 April 2018, from

J Holliday bed lyrics – Google Retrieved 18 April 2018, from

katy perry peacock – Google Retrieved 18 April 2018, from

Vena, J. (2010). Katy Perry Says ‘Peacock’ Is ‘The World’s Biggest Innuendo’MTV News. Retrieved 18 April 2018, from


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  1. The main similarities between Tokyo Girls and The Great Happiness Space is the importance of spoken language in the jobs of both the female and male hosts. To both the male and female hosts, their job involves “healing” their socially- or romantically-deprived customer by weaving dreams out of sweet nothings: common topics for conversation include work or everyday life, and even personal issues. By providing their customer with a listening ear and simulating a relationship with an attraction person for their customer, the hosts and hostesses stand to make a profit as the simulations they create ensure that the customer gets hooked on the attention and willingly pay for more. However, there is a stark difference in the tone and usage of language between the hosts of either gender. For the female hosts, one of them mentions that sometimes her customers tell her to keep quiet, implying that perhaps they expect her to act more like the “ideal” Japanese woman, demure and shy, allowing for the male to speak more while all she is allowed to offer is her attention and acknowledgement. She adds on that other customers “want to learn English, not about your life”. This does show that these Canadian women are seen as exotic, and one of the motivations for many customers is to learn English, a language with ever-growing prestige. Being able to hold a conversation over English over wine with a beautiful Caucasian woman would certainly provide customers with a (false) sense of sophistication and accomplishment. However, these male customers do not seek sexual favours. We see that they are mostly businessmen, or at the very least just office clerks. These men know that soliciting prostitution services would only hinder their reputation among their family and colleagues since it is looked down upon in society, so they stay away from doing so.

    Meanwhile, the speech acts demonstrated by the male hosts from The Great Happiness Space are vastly different from the ladies from Tokyo Girls. The male hosts are very persistent when touting for customers, showering passing women with compliments and attempting to start conversations in a bid to usher them to their host club. Even in the club, the men are the ones who start the conversation in an effort to entertain, asking their customers about their life or if they want more drinks. These hosts also project an ideal image that their female customers desire—a dashing, outgoing man who is still tender enough to be sensitive to a girl’s emotional needs. The hosts are also more rowdy than the the hostesses and customers from Tokyo Girls, where the setting looks more posh—the male hosts constantly chug alcohol every night and yell chants to liven up the party. The Great Happiness Space demonstrates a setting that presents socialising taken to more risqué levels: their female customers are not only drawn to the club out of loneliness or infatuation, some even desire to have sex with the hosts. These women, especially the regular customers, seem to be more open to having sex with the hosts they fancy as most of them already work as escorts or prostitutes in the same area.

    Of course, being a host and hostess clearly looks much easier than it actually is. Despite the high salary cited by many of them, most of them do not seem to express a high level of job satisfaction as well, because of the array of demands from various customers and the working hours that turns their daily schedules upside-down.

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