|Image from the music video for a song |
the sisters do not understand
“Oh yah, I just love that song,” said Sister Alyssa Wahl, second counselor in the Relief Society Presidency, activity organizer, and DJ. “I heard it on the radio and knew it would be super fun.”
The song in question, Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side,” describes how the narrator’s clandestine sexual encounters have been so vigorous as to leave her unable to walk straight. This impaired condition gives rise to the song’s title’s complaint of walking “side to side.” In addition, the sexual encounters, which seem to happen “all day” and “all night,” are with a man disapproved of by the narrator’s friends.
The LDS sisters were largely oblivious to how the song’s narrator acknowledges that the sexual encounters allow both partners to not think about anything, including, one assumes, the physical or moral implications of their energetic sexual get-togethers. The sisters seemed equally unaware that the narrator acknowledges her attraction to the man as a temptation, going so far as to call her relationship a “deal with the devil.”
Far from objecting to the song and its sexual content, content which stands in just about the starkest contrast with what one would believe to be these Mormon women’s ideals, many of the sisters cheered when it started.
“Yah, I saw the music video on Youtube,” said one sister, “and it was cool to see them on exercise bikes.” This sister’s comments reinforced her obliviousness to how Nicki Minaj’s rap portion of the song refers to bicycles in a highly sexualized manner.
The song’s sexually explicit content was not lost on all of those in attendance. As Sister Wahl noted, “my younger sister came to the activity, and she said that I might not want to play that song again because it might not be appropriate.” In response to her sister’s concern, Wahl said that if anyone said anything about it, she would put on something that was “a little old-school,” something “safe and appropriate” that she was sure everyone would enjoy.
Her “safe and appropriate” backup selection was Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive.”