“Dirty Dancer” – Why Enrique Iglesias, Why?

Even his hotness can't hide his lackluster songs... (image via hdmusicvids.com)

I think I’ve lost my respect for Enrique Iglesias.

As I posted in my thoughts on his song “Tonight”, Iglesias used to produce such great songs. Who can forget this?

Something went terribly wrong. Ten years later, he’s resorting to saturating his songs with sex to appeal to the mainstream music crowd. I’m not a pop music aficionado, but at least I think that’s what he’s attempting to do – otherwise, why would he bring himself down to that level when he has the potential to do so much more?

“Dirty Dancer” is, well, dirty. The lyrics can be summarized as him singing about a dancer (see, stripper) who really wants “it”. I know, such deep and meaningful stuff. I suppose that the song itself can be catchy, as I’ve had friends and acquaintances who have gotten the song stuck in their heads, but I can’t bring myself to like it at all.

Hey, it’s just pop music, right? Who cares as long as this is confined to the clubs?

If that was the case and “Dirty Dancer” was restricted from being aired on the radio, I wouldn’t mind it as much. However, the other day my nine-year-old cousin heard this song and started singing along. Thank goodness she didn’t understand what she was saying. Unfortunately, there are pre-teens who can grasp what a “dirty dancer” is or use Google to find out. That isn’t that bad because they’re going to find out about those things when they’re older anyway, right?

Wrong. My main issue with “Dirty Dancer” is the way Enrique Iglesias presents women within the context of the lyrics and the video. He makes it seem like they’re crazed sex fiends when they’re really not – he’s just imagining them to be that way, or utilizing them in that sense for his music video. Essentially, it’s demoralizing to the female gender and that type of message should not be allowed to influence people.

I can see the slight double standard here. Why can Katy Perry and Rihanna include sexual themes in their music but not Enrique Iglesias? Isn’t that sexist in itself?

Not really, because while Katy Perry and Rihanna are singing about melting popsicles and S&M, Iglesias is doing more than that – he’s undermining women and beguiling people to believe that they can be taken advantage of. Which is clearly incorrect.

He's not doing much in the video besides sitting around and acting amused... I've seen better.

Oh, here’s the link to the video. It’s extraordinarily explicit. You’ve been warned.

What are your thoughts on “Dirty Dancer” and the degradation of Enrique Iglesias? Or do you think what he’s doing is just fine?

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33 Comments

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33 responses to ““Dirty Dancer” – Why Enrique Iglesias, Why?

  1. Personally I think he can do much much better than Dirty Dancer. It was a terrible song considering the songs he’s made in the past. Looks like he’s trying to make some easy money.

  2. That’s awful. I mean, for starters, this music is disrespectful and demeaning to women. Even the title indicates that she is—for the lack of better word—filthy. She’s just there for his “pleasure”—and nothing more. Secondly, it says a lot about him and his attitude toward women—and he’s destroying his reputation.

    But then again, he’s not entirely responsible. Forgive me if I’m being harsh, but sometimes the choice women make to earn “power,” “equality,” and “freedom” is demented. It’s really hard to put all the blame on Enrique while the girl chose to be on the clip.

    In addition: the society has accepted this ideology of women feeling empowered through sexual exploitation, so it won’t be a problem for Enrique’s fan or (some) audiences to allow this degrading video.

    Honestly—it’s inane and inappropriate.

    • Yeah, I wonder if Iglesias feels sorry or guilty for his latest songs. I also wonder if he’s actually losing dedicated fans in the long run, as the personality (or lack of personality) he’s portraying now is completely different than the image he showed during the beginning of his career.

      It’s true that there are women who are willing to go to self-demeaning lengths to secure fame and fortune, but that can also be said about men. I agree that Enrique Iglesias is not entirely responsible for the trend that has entrenched pop music, but I feel that he is at fault for contributing to the production of this song in the first place.

      The idea of women utilizing sex as power is prominent in parts of history, but in contemporary society that sort of message shouldn’t be spread. I don’t want young girls and boys to believe that being a stripper or selling one’s body is a great or glamorous profession when it’s absolutely not.

      Thank you for your insightful comment, it allowed me to expand on my thoughts of Iglesias and this song. (:

    • B

      I do not find this demeaning at ball and i am a woman. The woman he is singing about is a stripper or “dirty dancer” not all woman are these and she is just there for his “pleasure” as you said cause hes probably paying for her services. And these women actually make a decent sum of money so stop being so bloody pedantic. Idiot.

      • Well, if she’s just there for his pleasure, like you said, is that not in itself demeaning? Even if he is paying her, is she not submitting herself to his will and therefore making him her superior?

        “And these women actually make a decent sum of money so stop being so bloody pedantic.”

        I’m sure a lot of women in these types of professions would rather be doing something else – not everything is just about the money.

      • It is good to be a pedantic for the right things. She is being purchased by the guy like a Milk duds from the dollar aisle from Wal-Mart. Wouldn’t that be degrading?

        Yes, they make a lot of money—but not all of them are happy with what they do. They prefer to be/do something else instead of pole dancing or stripping. It is not OK to say it is not degrading when it is explicitly sensual, and it is not secluded. This is what Ariel Levy wrote in her book, The Female Chauvinist pigs, about women demeaning other women by making this whole predicament a no big deal thing. But it is a BIG DEAL. Well, at least for those who have dignity.

    • TiaMaria

      I agree totally!!! I think a great deal of the blame should be on women. If girls don’t want to be treated like objects, stop acting like sluts! It degrades us all..

  3. Cara

    I agree whole heartedly with EVERYTHING you said.

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  5. I second Cara. I liked him better when he used to sing decent songs like Hero. I think the fame and money got to his head, hit the guy with full force too.

    • It does seem that with songs like this he’s selling out to the pop industry’s demand for sex – it’s a tad disheartening.

      • It’s very disheartening, it shows us what the world is going to be tomorrow.In my opinion life on earth will be a living nightmare!The media (a significant percentage of it) is responsible for poisoning people’s minds,especially young minds, from they way they dress and to how how the think and carry themselves.The evidence is already there!

        Enrique only adds fuel to the fire, encouraged by the pop industry,whom I think should jump off a cliff to spare us.Mily Cyrus is another one.A good girl turned bad,I knew sooner or the later the goody goody Hanna Montana image will be scrapped,it was inevitable.Her music video”Who owns My Heart” was horrible!They all looked looked like hookers in “Party in The USA”

        The music industry has to get a grip,they heavily influence the way alot of people behave and if they continue with sex appeal theme we’ll in for dark days.Look at it this way,soon a majority of women will be dressed in nothing but a few scraps of cloth,that is, if they let themselves get caught in the web the music ind. has woven.It can be even worse, much much worse.

        I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to the time where society still had high standards,where principle was existant,when people wore decent clothes,to the days when music was decent,clean and made sense.

        Hey!Let me het this clear: not all music today are bad, but a lot of them are.That the music industry aren’t completely responsible for how people behave,it’s just that they play a big part of it.That not the entire music industry is a bad influence.

        In the end people will have to do what’s good for them, for their benifit.Persons will have to smarten up and make the right decisions,but that’s easier said than done.
        I know I’ve kind of strayed off topic but can’t keep stuff like this in,that’s where my blog comes in handy:)

  6. cassie

    I disagree because if you really listen to the the lyrics they are not talking about taking advantage of a girl they are saying that shes a ‘dirty dancer’ she wont be lonely and you wont be her only they are just pretty much talking about her its not like they are saying shes a dirty dancer so im going to go have sex with her if you dont like the song then dont listen to it… and as far as Rihanna goes in her song S&M shes saying sex in the air but in Dirty Dancer he doesnt even say anything like that

    • “its not like they are saying shes a dirty dancer so im going to go have sex with her”.

      Actually, that is what he’s saying. In fact, he states it quite blatantly. He literally says “she’s a dirty dirty dancer” and proceeds to make explicit a lot of unnecessary information… “she’s a five when she drinks, but she’s a ten when she’s on top of me.”

      “as far as Rihanna goes in her song S&M shes saying sex in the air but in Dirty Dancer he doesnt even say anything like that.”

      I definitely don’t condone Rihanna for her lyrics in “S&M” but Enrique Iglesias does include inappropriate innuendos in his lyrics as well. Like the lyric I quoted above, or, “got all the moves that make you get it up”.

      “if you dont like the song then dont listen to it.”

      Thanks for the suggestion, I won’t. (:

  7. STB

    I agree with everything but the last part. The Gagas, Katy Perrys and Rihannas of the world are just as bad and do just as much damage.

    Until both sexes stop treating women like their worth comes from how sexy or attractive they are and reinforcing the notion that women have to be slutty to be desirable, it will continue to remain that way.

    • You’re right. I might go back and edit that… what I was trying to say was that Iglesias is more at fault, however, I see where you’re coming from. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and maybe Rihanna do have songs that promote being yourself and not conforming to the status quo, it’s too bad that their costumes/images/certain other songs rely on sex to sell.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, and for pointing out my mistake!

  8. Meaghan

    Isn’t it possible for a woman to be sexy or to enjoy dressing in a sexy or provocative way without it automatically meaning that she is demeaning herself for a man? Instead of looking at Rihanna or Katy Perry’s songs as portraying women as sexual play things at the will of man, perhaps they’re trying to even the score by asserting their own enjoyment of sex. Like, “hey, you might think I exist for the explicit purpose of pleasing you, but in fact it’s the opposite.” I don’t know. I’ve always thought of Rihanna and Katy Perry as independent women in charge of their own bodies and minds. And as the ones in charge of them, they have the right to show them off too. Also, to the person who said that because Enrique is paying the stripper, he is therefore superior to her… I totally disagree. You’re viewing stripping or “exotic dancing” as a career that women choose under duress or because they have no other options and that’s not always the case. To believe so is narrow minded and judgmental. Here’s a shocker for you: Not every person aspires to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or a homemaker or a Kardashian. Some people don’t have big dreams or want to be “successful,” by society’s standards. And it has nothing to do with low self esteem or few opportunities. Sometimes, but not always. Some people don’t want to be rich because they’re comfortable with what they have or they don’t want to be doctors or lawyers because they’d rather enjoy their lives than slave at an office or whatever the hell their reason is… But the fact is not everybody wants to be Suzy Homemaker. Some women truly, authentically, for no other reason than because they enjoy it…. CHOOSE to be strippers. And if we’re viewing the job of a stripper as a career like any other, than by paying her, Enrique would quite simply just… Be her boss. For the night. And I don’t know about you, but while I respect my boss and know in my profession he may hold more authority than I do, I do not feel inferior to my boss as either a person or a woman.

  9. Meaghan

    By assuming women who choose certain careers must be subclass people and would “rather be doing something else,” aren’t you judging and demeaning them yourself? Because by assuming a stripper must aspire for more, you’re saying that it’s the career people who have no other options choose. Which makes me think you’re probably not a stripper…. Which would make you superior, right? To the stripper? Kind of like you guys are saying Enrique thinks he is? Heh. Least he pays her.

    • I’ve never been into a strip club so I may not be the most knowledgeable person regarding this career, but I’m pretty sure that there are a myriad of dangerous things likes drugs or rape (or prostitution) that a person risks when deciding to become a stripper. These things alone indicate that that “job” may not be the best for any woman, or anyone really.

      I agree with you when you say that artists such as Katy Perry or Rihanna wield their sexuality in a way that lends them power as females. Yet you can’t say that strippers are gaining power by removing their clothes for pay. It may just be my morals, but sex itself is something that should be kept behind closed doors – heck, look at all those politicians and other people who get in trouble in our society for their inability to control their lust. And stripping with a stranger for money is just, well, dirty. There’s honestly no other way to put it.

      “By assuming women who choose certain careers must be subclass people and would “rather be doing something else,” aren’t you judging and demeaning them yourself?”

      No. I’m demeaning the fact that they’ve decided to degrade themselves to the level that they’ve had. It’s possible that an affluent, beautiful woman could want to become a stripper – but that reveals a lack of morals on her part. I suppose it’s a fault of our society that sexuality is something that can be displayed in public and paid for. Women selling themselves for the pleasure of others is a big problem, whether you like it or not.

  10. Queen B

    it’s just music ….nothing wrong with it.. if your child or a child you know is singing and watching such videos that you think are disturbing than it all comes down to the parent and what they allow their children to see….. they rate it for a reason media can’t control what your kid sees that’s the parents job… if you as a parent does let you kid see such thing that’s ok just explain that it’s a song and all that other stuff that comes along with it etc etc …my parents let us watch and wear what we wanted and we didn’t become dirty dancers…..:) plus are dirty dancers realy degrading themselves??? it’s been a job in our society way long before we were here and it will be here long before we are gone it’s a service that one choose to provide or purchase …it’s not forced on either party ….

    • Hm, okay, I see what you’re saying. It’s true that parents should play a prominent part in deciding what or what not their child is exposed to, but of course with the internet and other environmental influences (such as the child’s friends, TV, etc.) they may pick up on things they weren’t prepared to know about yet. For example, my little cousin (who’s only nine) learned what LMFAO stands for from one of her friends. Clearly that is not something her parents could have prevented her from knowing, and even if her parents attempted to explain who knows what subconscious effects that knowledge may have on her? It is proven that people, especially young children, model the behavior of adults whether they are aware of it or not.

      As for your question of whether dirty dancers are degrading themselves, in my opinion, yes, because to take your clothes off for money seems to require someone to have a pretty low level of dignity (or maybe high levels of self-esteem not to be embarrassed, I’m not sure). I’m actually starting to see your side and Meaghan’s (the above commenter’s) if the behavior is not forced or anything, but there is something dirty and disrespectful about the act of stripping that I can’t get past. Just thinking about all the wonderful things the stripper could be doing, such as going to school, spending time with family and friends, getting a job that doesn’t call for the removal of one’s clothing… eh. Not my cup of tea.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  11. Queen B

    Do you know how many dirty dancers do it to pay for school??… the next time you look at your doctor/lawyer/Nurse/teacher and so on … remember she might have been a dirty dancer 😉

  12. Richard Gere

    I think that this is a new age, this are the new songs now, is fantastic, you should see it as another different kind of expression, what’s the problem about sex songs?? why sex still being a forbidden topic?? I think that it’s an excellent way of expression

    • I don’t think it’s a forbidden topic exactly, but not one that should be expressed so openly in a medium that little kids and others can be influenced by it. Sure, if all the people who listened to the song were able to discern what’s right from what’s wrong (basically, if they knew not to take the song seriously) then that would be okay, but there are people who would listen to this song and become morally degraded as a result. Girls may assume being a dirty dancer is something one would want to do, and guys may assume that girls are fundamentally lower than them because they are willing to take on this role… neither of which is true. While I agree that sex songs are not horrible, they should be censored so that young children and others are not losing their innocence before they are supposed to.

  13. Liz Dallton

    i personally think this song sucks along with a lot of stuff on the radio, catchy or not

  14. I agree with you… I fell in love with him when I heard the song “Hero”, but after that, his songs just became all sex and honestly crappy.

  15. Anita

    Thank you for this article. I actually listened to quite a few of his songs before, but only today watched and listened to his latest songs and was really shocked. I remember watching “Hero” as a younger child and being quite surprised by some scenes in there, but it has just gone way over the top now.
    I have totally lost respect for him. Not just the lyrics, but the music videos are so explicit. I guess we all do have our own ways of living, but his recent songs just feel so shallow, as if sex is the only important thing in the world. For people who think that he’s just having fun, it seems a bit extreme with all his latest songs? I also feel disturbed by the way the word “love” is used so easily.
    Of course everyone has freedom to do what they want and sing what they want. But aren’t these actions similar to something like ignoring someone on the street, whistling at girls walking outside, just things that you would consider rude/inappropriate in our daily lives? Yeah, no one will get caught by the police etc, but it’s very degrading as a human being, and I feel like we have to look at the bigger picture of what we are doing.

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