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Gender Objectification in Hip-Hop Music

Essay by   •  September 17, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  2,542 Words (11 Pages)  •  197 Views

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Gender Objectification in Hip-hop Music

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Gender Objectification in Hip-hop Music

Introduction

In 1981 some music videos were aired by MTV something which took the stage like never before in the culture of rap/hip hop culture. Since then Music videos have now become essential in the industry of music thus recording companies have now got the chance to record new songs each day as well as promoting new artists. However, in the culture of pop particularly in the hip-hop/rap videos, they have been under condemnation specifically because of what they are portraying in our cultures. It comes as no surprise to most the acknowledgment that rap music is dominated by sexist themes and lyrics (Tyree & Jones, 2015). The music videos have been associated particularly with increased negativity towards women and also how we see them in our cultures.in addition research shows youth learn about sexuality, gender roles, and relationship from them. (Tyree, 2013).

      Basically, rap music impacts how gender is viewed in the world specifically in black women. In essence, the overt and pervasive disrespect and denigration of Black women within contemporary hip-hop culture has been suggested as being devastating to the psyche and identity development of Black women (Henry & Jackson, 2018). This has been of concern and its important for us to do a research on the music lyrics and videos. Hip hop has come under scrutiny because of the characterization of sex and gender. Historically rap music was dominated by men and what specifically has come under scrutiny is what they really say about women in those songs. “Often I read the lyrics or watched the videos and asked myself, ‘What do the women think about all this?” (Chiu, 2005).  The language they use as been termed as misogynistic. But also, women rappers have also taken the stage of rap-hip-hop music and what they do is also worth of examination and dialogue. Research has shown that about 20-37% of the lyrics used in hip-hop and rap music basically show misogyny. Misogyny has been evident in some individual artists songs like from the songs of hip hop rapper Eminem. Misogyny has been present in his songs when you try to listen to the lyrics he has used. On his third album in studio about 10 of the 14 songs he has written contain misogyny. (Stephens, 2005).  The words used such as “bitch”, “hoe” these words show the sexual objectification of women, as well as legitimization of violence against women, lack of trust in women and the view of women as prostitutes in the society. (Rudman & Lee, 2002). The essay will perilously examine how artists and rappers view gender, the representations of sexuality as well as the messages conveyed in those particular songs and videos.

Race has been evident in the hip-hop/rap culture. In fact, this has played a major role in gender objectification. (Aubrey & Frisby, 2011). For instance, in the song TIP DRILL we can see that the song has only black women in it. Also, some of the songs have discussed about have mainly black women and a few mixed races in them. in this particular video the women present are black and this tries to imply that black women or girls are the only ones that possess big butts since the lyrics say “it must be ya ass cause it aint ya face/ I need a tip drill, I need a tip drill” clearly these lyrics show how women are downgraded especially the black ones since men are only interested in butts and not anything else. Black women are said to have big butts and that’s the reason why they are chosen in these videos. Black women are living in a state of psychological distress due to the many competing and conflicting perspectives about what it means to be a Black woman in contemporary society. (Henry & Jackson, 2018). Race is also evident in Kanye west song “MONSTER” where white women are put to be hurt by sexualized black men. This tries to show how black men can be monsters such that they can rape women. In the video there is a part which shows a black man cutting a women’s body using a chain saw. From the video as viewers we can see how the black women are cannibalized and wicked while the white women are damaged and lifeless.

Women are presented as sexual objects in hip-hop/rap music. (Mulvey, 1975 This has massively changed how women are viewed in our societies today. For instance, in the song TIP DRILL by Nelly. this song is full of sexualization as we can see naked black women being touched anyhow by men while dancing. This scene tries to show that for young men its not a bad thing to judge a woman based on her body and what it implies to the young women is that men are always after them because of their bodies. The message that this video basically conveys to the young girls affects them in various ways. A video like this will basically make them have a low self-esteem hence lack of attention from men. The “sexual violence, sexism, ‘beat downs,’ sexual dishonesty, ant lesbianism and the legacy of color prejudice portrayed in hip-hop videos and all hammer away the self-esteem” of young Black women (Henry & Jackson, 2018). In an attempt to try to impress and attract men, women will basically tend to present themselves like the way they saw in the video. (Nikodym, 2013).

       Rap/hip-hop music sexuality portrayal has also been an issue of concern. Black Women are nowadays seen as heterosexuals. “Black Female heterosexuality seems to move deeper and deeper into unhealthy territory that is less about personal satisfaction and more about men’s satisfaction” (Springer 2009).  For instance, in the song “MAKE IT NASTY” by Tyga, to start with even before this video starts there is a warning that articulates” due to the sexually explicit content you must be 18years of age in order to view video” basically this tells us as viewers that in that particular video naked women will be present and in addition the women are sexualizing themselves for men. In the video we can see women kissing each other something which is shocking since it something which is seen as odd. The video is basically made for the male contemplation since what is present is women who are naked and kissing each other. We can also see them rubbing and sucking on each other’s breasts.

      Age and gender roles is also evident in most of rap/hip-hop videos particularly in the ones I have discussed. We always see that the rapper singing is mostly surrounded by young women around them specifically ladies who are at the mid-20s. (Dines & Humez, 2015). what such scenarios tries to convey is that the only way to be beautiful and attract men is by being a young lady who can express her sexuality way that satisfies men.

      Women hatred, down grading and dehumanizing is also evident in hip-hop culture. For instance, in songs such as MAKE IT NASTY. The usage of words such as “bitch” shows how much hatred we have towards women. This is also present in some of the Eminem songs in his third album studio. It’s also evident in Kanye west MONSTER. The whole video shows almost naked unresponsive hurt bodies of women. The video shows parts of women which are like thrown anyhow. we also see Kanye in hold of a freshly detached head of a female. there is also a stereotype of the vulnerability of white women towards men (Aubrey & Frisby, 2011).

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