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Warm-up playlist: Time to get pumped up without being put down

December 13, 2012 – 4:51 PM

By Ashleigh Sargent and Mariah Philips

Get ready, it’s game day!!!!! As you prepare mentally and physically, you want help getting into your zone.

Which songs pop up on the warm-up playlist? Chances are, messages of female empowerment and gender equality are not major themes in your favorite jams.

In fact, it might be quite the opposite. As two female college athletes, both with a competitive background in basketball, we have ample exposure to the warm-up playlist culture.  Walking into a gym the first thing you hear is music from speakers.  Basketball players like the playlist because it energizes them before competition.

But take a closer listen, and the words dropped into those catchy beats tell a much less motivational story. Most songs that have the type of sound (i.e. heavy bass and fast-paced rhythms) also call for female subordination.  Think of the chart-topping “N****s in Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West in “I got that hot b**** in my home. You know how many hot b*****s I own?”

This hardly begs an explanation.  If the music is not completely objectifying women, it’s presenting them as hypersexualized.  Big Sean raps in his song Dance A**, “They pay me respect/they pay me in checks/and if she look good she pay me in sex.”  Women are good for one thing only — or so it seems in these songs.

When players prep for competition, it should be a time to feel strong, not to absorb jabs at their gender. Sure, the songs are catchy – the main requirement of effective pump-up music. But isn’t it time we also paid attention to the message? When people attend college basketball games, they see accomplished and strong athletes. Younger girls aspire to be like them and yet, they watch warm-ups with shouted messages of female inferiority.

We think this needs to stop. We have compiled a playlist of equally motivating songs that include serious messages about equality and empowerment. Yes, it was more challenging than going to the fall-back alternatives, but isn’t it better to get pumped up without being put down?

Anthems to avoid:

Pop That by French Montana

Mercy by Big Sean

N****s in Paris by Jay-Z, Kanye West

Shake Señora by Pitbull

Clique by Big Sean

Dance A** by Big Sean


Instead play these:

Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert

So What by P!nk

Survivor by Destiny’s Child

We are Never Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift




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