Much of popular contemporary rap features misogyny and has for decades. An analysis of 490 gangsta rap songs produced from 1987 to 1993 revealed that 22 percent of the songs featured misogynistic lyrics, according to the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture – specifically, referencing assault, rape and murder – but they’re so dang catchy!
How does a feminist reconcile his or her belief in gender equality with an unjustifiable love of oft-misogynistic rap music? The good news is, it’s possible to do without giving up rap entirely.
But hold up, feminist? Aren’t feminists crazy man-hating lesbians? Nah. People of all genders, sexual orientations and dispositions can be feminists. It’s real trendy these days – even li’l baby T-Sweezy (that’s Taylor Swift, to y’all not in the know) recently became indoctrinated in the Church of Feminism (not a real church).
Nowadays, a feminist is just a person who believes that no one is better than anyone else because of what body parts a person has. However, for those still uncomfortable with the F-word, I’ve taken the liberty of providing an alternate term with the same denotation: rational human.
As a feminist and/or rational human, you disapprove of misogyny, but say you also have a deep, abiding passion for rap – what’s to be done about the resulting cognitive dissonance? Here are some tips for guilt-free rap appreciation.
- Consider all derogatory terms used to describe women to be gender neutral. Men can be bitches and hoes. Easily.
- Realize that male rappers who rap about violence against women are really just baby boys expressing their deep-seated mommy issues through misdirected anger toward all women. Shhhh, Eminem. It’s okay now.
- Realize that rappers who objectify women are simply expressing their appreciation for the female form through the only means they know how: crass, yet somehow generic analogies comparing female anatomy to cars or baked goods.
- Seek out rap that isn’t misogynistic. It exists! Check out Common, Yo-Yo, Lupe Fiasco, Queen Latifah, Talib Kweli, Salt-N-Pepa, Yasiin Bey, Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte, The Roots and Silvana Imam. (Quick personal aside: Does anyone want to form a feminist rap crew with me? I’m open to name suggestions but partial to Pap Shmear.)
- Don’t feel guilty about your love of rap! Don’t apologize for it! Enjoying rap doesn’t make you a bad feminist, and aspiring to absolute gender equality shouldn’t put a damper on your musical enjoyment. Even T-Sweezy knows that feminism is about doing whatever is right for you and not being limited by your gender.
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Doing some research on what hip hop is and the history of it would greatly inform your opinion piece. Judging from this it's obvious that you don't know, this isn't meant to be a personal attack on you. This link will tell a little about what is, what is was and why it was created and what it means to those who did create it.
You've made no mention of when the multimillion dollar recording companies started mass marketing it they're the ones promoting the sex, bling and thug image. Because you sex sells. You've made no mention about the principles of hip hop or the people who started it. Or the various genres and subject matter reflected.
It's a reflection of where it was created and the reality and experience of those who created it. When it was created it had a consciousness behind it. Yes it started in poor working class black and brown neighborhoods and it reflected that reality. Be it drugs, crime, gangs or misogyny were all present in those communities.
The problem it is now being sold and marketed to an audience that doesn't understand it nor is being put in a proper context. With gangsta rap it's being sold to both black and white audiences who don't understand it nor live the experience being reflected. So many look at it and say its glorifying violence against women, thuggery and ignorance, which can be true to an extent but its also someone's reality and a life that they live when not viewed in the proper context it'll be viewed differently.
Now it's become all about selling an image or creating a character the Nellys, 50 cent and have no substance behind them.
There are many different genres that include rap and deal with different subjects.
It's not a pretty subject but its someone's reality and life experience. And you've focused entirely on a portion of rap/hip hop without understanding why it's there and how it got there from is its beginnings.
This article definitely gave me the feels. Good job!
1. How did this make it past the editorial board? This article is so problematic. It begs the question, are there people of color in charge in any capacity? How did this not get called out? Or is it a test, to see the response, to inspire the kind of conversations obviously needed?
2. What the author does is exactly akin to me going into another culture and saying, "This part of your culture is bad. Here's how you can enjoy it with a clear conscience!" And then I walk away, feeling proud, because I'm ::so:: informed.
3. The misogyny that's been in rap for decades has also stood beside thought-provoking, relevant artistry in the genre since the beginning. What you're saying is not new or news.
4. Nice job listing the mainstream nice guys. There are plenty more.
5. DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE "DEEP-SEATED MOMMY ISSUES" BIT.
6. This article is not going to make anyone say, "Wow! I CAN listen to rap! It's not all bad!" Likewise, is won't make anyone identify as a feminist who didn't already. It has an air of self-congratulations instead of the emotional depth that comes from experience.
10. This a perfect example of when the word "feminist" leaves out the perspectives of people of color. Grand speeches that obviously speak of only one experience are not helpful. This is not the experience of people of color. We don't need articles saying, "Hey, ya'll, that part of our culture people judge us on isn't all bad!" In a way, you're giving credit to the uninformed people who judge. And a poorly-written article in a college paper isn't going to change those unconscious parts of people's brains that make them jerks.
Geez. Just... geez.
a black feminist
I would also like to know what major this woman is. I would have to guess a journalism degree with a minor in women's and gender studies.
Probably one of the worst Shorthorn articles I've ever had the displeasure of reading.
Fantastic: I guess adding some other names ( such as: snoopy dog and gangsta nation...), keeping baby eminem warm and cosy...
Kudos! You Rock...
I like how you can just glaze over the whole "mommy issues" being the root cause of the misogynistic rap lyrics. Some real progress could have been made here. Like recognizing that the cause of "mommy issues" was probably that their mother was abusive or neglectful.
Lita, I am SO in love with this article. Amazing job!
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