Gender Controversy in Hip Hop

Hip-hop has been the center for debate since this genre emphasizes on the roles of gender so extensively. The role of women most of the time is for “pornographic uses of their bodies” (Neal, “Hip Hop’s Gender Problem”). For example, currently Nicki Minaj has millions of fans. In one of her latest videos, “Anaconda”, she and a bunch of other dancers twerk and are almost naked. This pretty much defines the culture of America. Majority of people here listen to hip-hop and enjoy the mostly male-dominated singers’ and rappers’ vulgar lyrics about sex, violence, and drugs and the music videos of almost-naked women dancing seductively.

America’s hip-hop culture is definitely evolving where gender roles are becoming increasingly defined towards males being dominant over females and where they objectify women. There is an increase in objectification in women because it helps with more viewers and appeals to the general audience’s tastes, which is kind of weird if you ask me. I prefer hip-hop where there is no objectification of women, but that is lately hard to find because “the performance of black masculinity continues to be hip-hop’s dominant creative force” (Neal, “Hip Hop’s Gender Problem”), and if you think about it, this is generally true. For example, when I think of artists of hip-hop, I think of Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Dr. Dre, who are all African American. Their music generally emphasizes on “black masculinity”, and this seems to define what masculinity in America currently.

According to Neal, hip-hop is merely a reflection of sexism and misogyny that defines American culture. I believe this is somewhat true. He believes that “images and lyrics used to objectify women are a representation of how American society actually treat women.” Social media definitely portrays this. I’ve seen numerous videos on Facebook and Vines that are usually about a man saying “DAM!” while staring at a woman’s behind. I’ve noticed also that it seems to always be a man doing this to a woman; it is never the other way around. In some parts of American culture, this seems to be generally accepted. In the YouTube video, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman”, a woman walks around in NYC for 10 hours and receives multiple comments from men in a way to flirt with her. For example, one man says “Hey look it there! I just found a thousand dollars!” as the woman passed him. Most of the men were really creepy in the video after noticing her “sexy” physical features and wouldn’t probably greet a guy the same way.

At the same time, hip-hop has a definite influence on American culture. Hip-hop influences people through their music lyrically and through music videos. For example, let’s go back to the objectification of women. All these hip-hop songs currently accomplishes this, and many people listen to their music. Therefore, I think people who listen to this music objectify women the same way the music does. It’s sort of like when you listen to classical music when studying. It helps you stay focused and motivated. I believe hip-hop songs work the same way. They say it is okay to openly objectify women, so the people who listen to these songs in general feel the same way.

I think it’s sort of like an endless cycle right now. American culture seems to emphasize the objectification of women by men and so does hip-hop music. These things go back and forth so the influence will stay dominant for a while, until some outside influence stops it. Hip-hop’s prevalent theme is objectification of women, and it’ll most likely stay this way for a long time since majority of people seem to enjoy it.

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