When approaching the topic of the representation of women in rap music there are certain things you may want to ask yourself
before jumping to any conclusions. There are different angles at attacking the issues surrounding the topic. The
following are some questions I've thought of that you may want to reflect on. You may be surprised at how your opinions
are altered or deepened.
1. Who are the people that market rap music to the public? What demographic do they come from? And
what benefits do they get out of portraying women in a highly sexualized light?
2. Do the women who participate in the images and videos feel that they are being objectified? If a woman
decides to be an object of sexual desire is she thus by default being objectified?
3. Is there really one direction the finger can be pointed at for blame? Society produces a large demografic
of young males that are attracted to the quick access to money and power brought upon by the creation of rap music.
They are enticed by the lucrative business, and see it as an easy way out. What kind of societal structure do we have
to have young men thinking this is the only way "out". We must ask who maintains and upholds these exploitative systems.
4. What does the success of this music have to say about the values of our society?
5. Why is there such a disproportion of female to male rappers in the industry? What "image" is more marketable
and why? Think about the content of the lyrics themselves, could a female speak of males in such degrating terms as
the males do? Would males allow a female to speak such a way about their "gender"? Why do females allow it, and
perpetuate it by buying into it?
This is the cover of the July 2004 issue of XXL.
"As the crudest and most brutal expression of sexism, misogynistic
attitudes tend to be portrayed by the dominant culture as an expression of male deviance. In reality they are part of a sexist
continuum, necessary for the maintenance of patriarchal social order." - Bell Hooks