Justin Bieber’s new single, “What Do You Mean?” should be required listening for all sexually frustrated young men.
The former teen star and bad boy seemingly turned a new leaf by advocating for confirmative consent in his latest single.
“What do you mean when you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no?” Bieber asks his partner in the song.
At the outset, it’s easy to dismiss Bieber as a guy complaining about his wishy-washy girlfriend. On second listen, the lyrics hint at a more serious subject rarely touched upon by mainstream pop artists with the same amount of influence and reach as Bieber.
The EDM-influenced tune propels the topic of sexual assault to the forefront of pop culture. While sexual assault is heavily discussed on college campuses across the nation, it was almost a punchline in pop culture thanks to one of 2013’s biggest hits, Miley Cyrus and a foam finger.
After the date rape innuendo that was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Bieber makes a bold statement against sexual assault by asking his partner in the song what she means when she says “yes.” Even Bieber knows sometimes “yes” may mean “no.” It’s really that simple.
It’s a lesson all young men and women should be required to learn. Stopping to make sure your partner is on the same page as you before moving forward shouldn’t be frowned upon in college culture.
Even LSU recently made some steps toward quietly addressing sexual assault with its “We’re Committed” campaign. The initiative aims to decrease the occurrences of sexual violence across campus and to offer free resources and outreach to victims.
Sure, it sounds great in theory, but how the university plans to actually reach out to students and effectively encourage them to use these resources remains to be seen.
Currently, when students log in to myLSU, they’ll see a “We’re Committed” banner in rotation among UREC and Campus Life announcements.
The banner states, “The University Administration expects that every student will complete this short, interactive training to be the best partner in prevention.”
While the university’s administration “expects” students to complete this training, it doesn’t require it.
After the stumble that was last year’s “It’s On Us” campaign, LSU’s track record with programs for hindering sexual violence isn’t great. The “Do it If You Want” approach toward educating students doesn’t redeem LSU either.
Sexual violence is happening. This is a conversation students need to have. They shouldn’t be expected to have it — they should be required to.
LSU should take a page out of Bieber’s book and address it bluntly. Because even Bieber knows #ConsentIsCool.
John Gavin Harp is a 20-year-old mass communication junior from St. Francisville, Louisiana. You can reach him on Twitter @SirJohnGavin.