Helen Keller is an American icon who is best known for learning to communicate in spite of the fact that she was deaf and blind, but she also was a writer and had a strong political voice. 3OH!3 references Keller in the song “Don’t Trust Me”, but the lyrics in the song’s hook show no respect for this brilliant female icon: “Shush girl, shut your lips / Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips”.
The two 3OH!3 group members are goofy and are not meant to be taken seriously. However, it can be more damaging to the view of women in general when the song is seen as a joke. Because of 3OH!3’s poppy beats and lurid comedy, young people sing along to “Don’t Trust Me” without really listening to the distressing lyrics.
Take a look for yourself:
The “Don’t Trust Me” music video shows women bumping and grinding suggestively around the 3OH!3 singers, but the song’s lyrics take the cake with their truly disturbing implications.
Like other popular songs, women are repeatedly called “hoes” in “Don’t Trust Me.” First of all, calling a woman a “ho” in this context dismisses her humanity, bringing her value down lower than a man’s. Also, the song tells us not to trust women. Why? Simply because they are women. Yeah, it would be hard to trust women with your heart when you don’t see them as thinking, feeling persons, but as sexy things there for men’s gratification
The lyrics go way downhill from here, telling us that the woman in the song (you) wants to drink with the band. Then, the song’s story goes:
“Bruises cover your arms
Shaking in the fingers with the bottle in your palm
And the best is, no one knows who you are
Just another girl at the bar…
Shush girl, shut your lips
Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips”
Also, why would the woman in the song have bruises on her arms? Why is she alone at the bar? Why are they telling her to not to speak but to “talk with [her] hips”?
The woman in the song sounds like she is depressed and physically beaten, or has perhaps been usingintravenous drugs. The singers tell us all they really want from her is sex. The 3OH!3 singers tell her not to talk about the problems but to essentially be a body by talking with her hips.
Singing along to music like this makes it seem normal to joke about and see women as things and not people. When you don’t see women as people, hurting them can become a more digestible idea. Degrading a group of people and calling it a joke does not make it okay. 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” is a demeaning piece of work disguised as a funny pop song.
If you want to let 3OH!3 know how this song makes you feel, you can send them a message through their MySpace page. Remember that is it is important to talk about songs like this with the people around you so they don’t repeat these lyrics without knowing their true meaning.