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Tori Amos haunting ballad Me and a Gun invites its audience to listen to the emotional mind state of a recently violated date rape victim. Ms. Amos voice is taught and sounds frighteningly alone unaccompanied by musical instruments. Immediately the listener is made aware of the severity of the tone of this piece.

As the song progresses, the story unfolds and the audience is informed of the graphic nature of the crime against the woman whose story we are hearing. She was raped; face down, on the hood of an antique Cadillac Seville. Amos lyrical details increase for the listener the feeling of just how dehumanizing the act of forced sexual activity can be for a woman. The victim wonders if it was her choice of dress, a slinky red thing , that lead her assailant to believe the attack was welcomed.

Amos song attacks socially upheld beliefs about rape. One of these commonly held myths is that rapists are strangers lurking in alleyways, ready to attack. The fact of the matter is, more often than not a rapist knows his victim personally before the attack occurs. The second myth that Amos confronts in Me and a Gun is that women provoke rapists by dressing or acting a certain way. This sort of thinking plagues American society. Often heard are the choruses of she was asking for it or what does a woman expect leaving the house in an outfit like that . To some, these types of statements might sound old-fashioned and ridiculously unprogressive, but one would be dismissive to not admit that many people still subscribe to this way of thinking. Sadly, women are less than safe in a world whose citizens believe in those kinds of ideas.

Sexual power dynamics are not to be taken lightly. To dismiss the right of the female to say no is to dismiss the ability of the female to make any decision at all. As blame continues to fall upon the victim, our society and its gender relations continue to suffer. It is work like that done by Tori Amos that may help to encourage misinformed individuals to open their eyes and ears to the truths about male and female sexual power.

Me and a Gun is a chillingly beautiful and compelling song whose message is all the more poignant when delivered with Amos forthcoming vocal tone. However, artistry aside, Tori Amos song gives the listener an opportunity to experience at a safe distance, the dramatic emotions rape can arouse and perhaps will enlighten the listener to think more critically about commonly upheld beliefs about rape victims.


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