Who Let the Dogs Out? The Patriarchy, Apparently

When I was putting together my playlist titled, “Harness Your Woman Power,” the song “Who Let he Dogs Out” did not make the cut. Actually, since the song has been ranked on worst songs of all times lists over and over again, “Who Let the Dogs Out” has not been on any of my playlists. But this week I watched the documentary, “Who Let The Dogs Out,” and my opinion on the song changed.

The documentary focuses on Ben Sisto, who became fascinated with the song after finding an incomplete citation on the song’s Wikipedia page. And while trying to complete the citation, Sisto was launched into a wild goose chase to discover the true penman of the famous question, “who let the dogs out?” There are nine different people who claimed to have written the hook. But while watching this documentary about the true ownership, I noticed something. Almost all of the people who claim to have originally asked, “who let the dogs out?” wrote it as a kind of rebuttal to the misogynistic music of the time.

Before The Baha Men, who released the most famous, “Who Let the Dogs Out,” in 2000, there was 20 Fingers. 20 Fingers wrote a song with the hook, “Who let them dogs loose?” followed by barks. A woman by the name of Gillette then released a version of the song called, “You’re a Dog” on her debut album. In the documentary, 20 Finger recalls, “I was unhappy with a lot of the dance floor misogyny. There were so many negative songs out there about women. I wanted to write a song where women could just have fun.”

And 20 Finger wasn’t the only person who thought the best way to combat catcalling was through asking, “who let the dogs out?” Many of the other nine people who claim to be the author sight misogyny as their inspiration. 

“Who Let the Dogs Out,” by The Baha Men is actually a cover of the song, “Doggie,” which was written and recorded by an artist named Anslem Douglas. In an interview about the true meaning of the song, Douglas revealed that the song is really about men who bark at women, “It’s a man-bashing song. I’ll tell you why.”

So, let’s get into it. The song starts and we’re at a party:

When the party was nice, the party was bumpin’ (Hey, Yippie, Yi, Yo) And everybody havin’ a ball (Hah, Ho, Yippie, Yi, Yo) I tell the fellas, “Start the name callin’” (Yippie, Yi, Yo) And the girls respond to the call ― the poor dog show up! 

Douglas says that the party is a metaphor for society. Everything was going fine, and everyone was just living their lives until these men, the narrators of the song, showed up. And when they start giving women a hard time, these women respond to the call by asking, “Who let the dogs out?”

crowd Unsplash I for one had never spent that much time listening to any of the actual lyrics of this song. But now that I have, I am pleasantly surprised. Douglas and The Baha Boys successfully created a lighthearted song that takes on the patriarchy. And I think a lot of people have been singing about women empowerment having no idea that’s what they’re doing. What I had thought was just a silly question turned out to be a commentary on the system that exists in our society that allows men to degrade women in their music.

From 20 Fingers with, “Who let them dogs loose,” to The Baha Boys with, “Who let the dogs out,” it seems as though all these artists are trying to tell us that the patriarchy let the dogs out.

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