While much attention is devoted to the negative aspects and influences of pop culture, little is publicized about the positive and empowering role pop culture can play in helping address violence prevention. The generalized disdain by adults of youth pop culture contributes to the ever-present generation gap that limits the type of communication and understanding that is so necessary for risk reduction work. Songs can provide valuable educational links for difficult or controversial topics and many songs by current artists address such issues as: suicide, rape, domestic violence, and homophobia. Because we at Arte Sana believe in the power of music and have used music to work with youth, sexual assault youth educators, domestic violence educators, and Latina women's groups, this section will focus on possible song and movie links. We will periodically update the links and maintain the master list of possible links that are organized by category.

We welcome any comments or ideas you may have regarding this section and would love to receive further recommendations regarding other popular culture titles.

When using music as an educational tool, it is important to try to keep as current as possible and use songs that your target audience may already be familiar with.  Opposite messages may also be reinforced, by using the original song content. In addition to current songs, this list also includes those from other periods and diverse genres that may be useful.  Explicit content songs should be pre approved by parents, teachers, or the group host agency and should only be played (the lyrics should not be handed out, segments of the song may be displayed with an overhead projector).  An advisory should also be offered in order to prevent the possible triggering of sexual assault survivors, school and center counselors should also be identified as resources available.
By validating dating equity, personal boundaries, resiliency and survivor empathy, songs can be used in a group context to promote respect and empathy.  
In Girl-Empowering Songs
the narrator does one or more of the following:
  • Accepts responsibility for one’s own well-being
  • Sets limits and boundaries
  • Expresses sexual autonomy & desire
  • Values economic independence over economic exploitation
  • Expresses emotional independence
  • Articulates relationship & intimacy criteria
  • Is assertive; can make choices and say “no”
  • Has self-respect and expects respect from others
  • Expresses the ability to walk away and move on
  • Articulates needs
  • Refers to lessons learned
  • Advises others to take care of themselves
  • Expresses pride of cultural heritage
  • Is supportive of others who have been used or victimized
  • Decries injustice and exploitation 

Gender Benders:

Bend it Like Beckham

Boys Don't Cry

But I'm A Cheerleader

Billy Elliot

Before Night Falls

A League of Their Own

Shakespeare In Love

Different for Girls

Triggering Media for Sexual Abuse Survivors:

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