Sriracha is a hot sauce made of chilli pepper paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic, yet it is also the ambiguous focus of Marteen Estevez’s new single, ‘Sriracha’ which, like the majority of modern pop songs, uses repetition and a tangible metaphor that anyone can understand.
Estevez is unique for not only his eccentric haircut, but in the way he crafts his music. Getting recognized from a major production company and maintaining an account on Soundcloud is an innovation made possible in the last few years. Estevez is now one of the few artists who have found success through this platform.
The high school junior, a San Francisco Bay Area resident, goes back and forth from making R&B tracks to mainstream pop music. This varied collection can be streamed on his Soundcloud page and through Spotify. As for his professional credibility, the singer recently signed a deal with Warner Brothers, the place of origin for ‘Sriracha’.
However, if one really thinks about the lyrics, one wonders, is it appropriate to make the odd objectification of a human being to a bottle of hot sauce? Does his coming up with a repetitive and techno-beat song really deserve the positive response he has received. Is this metaphor, something so simple and basic, really accountable as “art”?
Furthermore, the fact that Estevez is only sixteen, raises concern and controversy. After all, comparing a girl’s personality to a spicy condiment is demeaning. However, there is something inherently wrong with the song. It uses an odd metaphor comparing a human being to a glass bottle.
Nicki Minaj, along with many famous artists, famously compared herself to an hour glass in ‘Win Again’ during which she sings, “Tell ‘em I got that hourglass figure though.” Songs with a female sharing an attitude like this, is exactly why people feel it is ok to objectify individuals through the media. Through hearing this, listeners are given the impression that to compare people to things is somehow cool.
“It’s kind of a sexist song. You have this guy singing about how ‘hot’ this girls’ body is and how when his friends hang out with her, they all want to watch her” says Grace Zientara ‘18 “He has made it out to be that this girl’s body is as hot as [sriracha]. And that is just not right in my book.”
It’s not just females who are affected by the lyrics in this song. Jared Wu ‘18 was taken aback by the content in the song, which he claims goes too far, “I think it is sexist and his age does not excuse the fact that it is sexist.” Wu also added that by having the woman in the music video dress in a suggestive manner, they are appropriating a style which is demeaning to females.
What Estevez crafted is seemingly more of a stereotype than an actual representation of woman. During an interview with justjared.com, Estevez said ‘Sriracha’ is more of an attitude or confidence from a woman, rather than a perfect body shape, which according to him, varies depending on what you view as the ideal physical form.
Yet still that personality is equally as harmful. Young people who listen to this song might feel that in order to be ‘lil racha’ they have to act confident and constantly floor people with their personalities. Unfortunately, this objectification of females and their role in society dates back far through the history of music. Britney Spears sung ‘I’m a Slave 4 U’, Enrique Iglesias wrote “Tonight I’m Lovin’ you” which has a much more uncensored version. Not to mention Prince, who made an entire career out of singing about the female body, sometimes to a ridiculously exotic extent.
Given the money and the power that musicians are given, one would think the influence they yield would be of a positive and uplifting nature. Yet still, many of the famed artists from this decade are stuck back in high school, exploring their immaturity through songs that are catchy and just ‘everybody’ loves.
Are we awarding Grammys to misogynists and objectifiers in disguise? Does each YouTube view Estevez get reinforce the defamation of human beings through the media? Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this issue, is how few have questioned Estevez’s meanings.
While doing extensive research for this article, finding even one remark on the use of females in the single was close to impossible. Yet Estevez’s video has 275K views on Youtube, and no backlash from the media or any of its consumers. It is apparent that few have issues with Estevez’s song, When of course there is something very wrong about the content of the song.
There is no need to protest, no need to revoke a high school musician’s credentials, and most certainly no need to call for a media war debating the existence of this single. By acknowledging that the song has problems and that it is not going anywhere (probably only cultivating more viewers) the best solution would be to talk. Starting a dialogue about songs like ‘Sriracha’ is one of the best ways in which future artists and musical consumers can learn to create and follow songs that reflect a more civil society. Perhaps that is one of ‘Sriracha’s’ benefits, but for now, it is not worthy of being a hit song.