Pardon the pun, but when it comes to degrading and sexist representations of women In music, does hip hop deserve its bad rap? Almost exclusively blamed for the negative images of women in music videos, hip hop is often perceived as unforgiving misogynistic. In hip hop and rap, many of the lyrics and images portray women of all ethnicities as sexual objects and depict the exploitation of and violence against women. The Image of dozens of semi-naked women dancing provocatively around one blinded-out rapper has become standard in music videos.
Similarly, pimps have morphed from abusive, controlling and criminal men to trendy, stylish icons. Hip hop has become a mess of unrealistic and arguably dangerous Images of female sexuality. Ludicrous’ song and video “Pimping All Over the World” is a good example of misogyny (hatred towards women) in hip hop. The lyrics list women off like possessions: “The fancy cars, the women and the caviar. ” Further, the singer dismisses the woman’s protests that he uses her for sex by saying that he takes her places. Ludicrous raps, “[… Don’t always think I’m tyranny get In your pants, cause see me my Poplin’s In 3-D, I’m taking you places you only see on T. V. ” It’s clear that sex is Just something else to buy and that the woman is Just as easily discarded. The lyrics explain the harsh reality: “C… ] It’s plenty women to see, so if you ass Don’t show up it’s more women for me. ” Some defend the sexism In hip hop as being part of the hip hop artist’s life. If hip hop artists are representing their cultural reality, I wonder why there are so many videos featuring several scantily-clad women dancing provocatively around a male artist.
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I find it hard to believe that any hip hop artist grew up or lives in that reality. So, how did this Image become the accepted standard of hip hop music’s video format? Devon Holt, author of Hip Hop Slop: the Impact of a Dysfunctional Culture, speaks of the declining quality of hip hop artistry: ” They’ve surrendered their authentic artistic traits and settled for the less demanding challenge of selling sew (CTD. In USA Today). The motivating factor that leads to the distorted representation of women In music videos is, of course, the all-mighty dollar.
Whether this is the artist’s decision or the record company’s is another question to consider. The glorified pimp has also become central to hip hop culture, but inaccurately reflects the occupation and reinforces a dangerous sexist relationship between men and women. The pimp Is someone that subordinates women, limiting their financial independence and exploiting women as a sexual commodity to be bought and sold. Yet, Newly markets “Pimp Juice,” a neon green energy drink, and 50 Cent and Snoop Dog released a song titled “P. I. M. P.
When a hip hop artist takes on this role, he not only continues to spread negative beliefs about women, but he also makes It cool. The hip hop obsession with pimps celebrates the pimp as a smooth-talking, hip-dressing figure, who is the embodiment of power and a pop culture icon. But being a pimp is not a glamorous occupation and the hip-hop representation of pimps Ignores the criminality and cruelty of the profession. In reality, pimps are violent, oppressive and criminal, exploiting women and girls for sex and money. Despite the current popularity of the pimp and the sexism present in hip hop, neither of these are or cultural group.
Well-known feminist scholar bell hooks illustrates this issue, noting that misogyny in hip hop music is a matter of important concern due to the sexist depictions of women and the exploitative and violent way in which women are represented in the songs and videos. However, hooks continues by saying that there is a racist element behind blaming hip hop for the spread of sexism in our culture, which makes misogyny the problem of the black community, despite the fact that goosing is widespread across many cultures and musical genres. Hip hop is certainly not alone in its negative portrayal of women.
For example, the Rolling Stones have a song called “Under My Thumb” that talks about the need to keep a woman in her place, Z Top’s greatest hits album is decorated with scantily-clad women, and a few years ago, Canadian one-hit wonder Risky J. Made a splash with a pop song called “No means no,” turning a feminist mantra against rape and sexual assault into a lame tune trying to persuade a girl to having sex with him. In Koran’s song “For No One,” the band’s hate for the world extends to women and in Sean Pall’s R videos, his use of highly sexualities images of women has been extensively criticized.
The proliferation of misogyny is not genre specific, though the backlash has been felt almost exclusively in hip hop and rap. In response to the overwhelmingly sexist representation of women in hip hop and rap music, Essence magazine launched their Take Back the Music awareness-raising campaign in January 2005. Take Back the Music explores the repercussions of the negative images of black women in the Edie and promotes artists who are depicting positive alternatives to the misogyny commonly found in mainstream hip hop.
Take Back the Music is about encouraging critical thinking and raising the level of public debate on how women are depicted in popular culture, and the hyper-sexualities images that we are presented with. Take Back the Music is the first of many positive steps to change the status quo of hip hop. Stephanie Laves and her friends in Boston got together to create a radio station, Radio LOG, that plays hip hop, but only those artists who provide an alternative, costive image of young American women.