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GenderRoles in Pop culture
The pop culture has been known to create their definition of thegender roles, and they have showed a wide range of inequality in theprocess. More specifically, the rappers are also known for theirderogatory representation of women and how they promote violence intheir music videos. For instance, the videos often have nude womendancing in a way that suggests they are sexual objects. Instead, themale rappers take the main roles in the videos, and they treat thewomen as a part of their properties. This essay will reveal how theHip-hop lyrics and music videos paint women as sexual objects andundermine them but, a new breed of female rappers has reversed suchideologies and they have acquired vast popularity and wealth too.
Howthe Music Videos Paint women as Sexual Objects
Most scenes in the Hip-Hop music videos reveal how the women arehypersexual since the producers want to use the image to get moreprofits. In this case, the music producers and the rappers want tomake more sales, and they will use any means at their disposal toappeal to their audience. In fact, they have also decided toincorporate sexual themes in their music videos with the hopes thatthey will find a larger audience (Cundiff, 10). More specifically,the women in the videos often wear indecent dresses that are sexualin nature. The nudity reveals that the hip-hop genre has decided touse them as sexual objects instead of giving them a more decent rolethat they can play. For instance, the women are often dancing in thestrip clubs while the rappers are beside them. At the same time, someof the music videos depict the sexual politics that are alsopromoting how the Black women are seen as objects that satisfy men.Artistes such as 50 Cent in the song “PIMP” and Lil Jon in “GetLow” are seen praising the sex workers and strippers for theirskills (Cundiff, 12). To some extent, the rappers are promoting theculture while they show how the women fit the role of the sexualobjects more perfectly. The video imagery also urges the younger onesto believe that girls are the ones to meet their needs and they willcall them using some derogatory phrases such as “bitch” and“whore” simply because they meet the definition of the sexualgods (Cundiff, 12). Hence, the practice is also going down to theyounger people that adopt such beliefs and look at women the way thatthe music videos paint them.
The Music Videos show that the Male Rappers own women
The Hip-hop genre has painted men as rich and successful people thatown cars, jewelry, women and mansions too. In this case, the womenare just part of the properties that the men possess. In fact, acommon theme is the way that the women are given a lower position inthe society, and they do not have any decent role (Hunter, 15). Theimage reveals that the men tend to be more successful and popularthan the women do. Instead, the male rappers also reveal that thewomen are just a part of the vast properties that the rappers own.The scenario shows that the women play a minor role in the familiesand the success of a man. It also implies that the women are supposedto remain in the kitchen where they will undertake the householdchores. On the contrary, they are not expected to brag about thesuccess that they have acquired as a couple or a family. The way thatthey are sidelined in the music videos reveals the gender inequalityin the pop culture. It justifies the assumption that men are the onesthat succeed in the society while the women are supposed to be thestay-at-home moms (Hunter, 17). The skin tone distortion is alsoanother common factor in the music videos. In particular, the Blackmale rappers are more likely to favor the ladies that have theEurocentric features since they have a light skinned complexion thatis more appealing than the dark skin (Conrad et al., 135). Forinstance, the young girls might grow up knowing that they are onlysupposed to meet the needs of men and have a light complexioninstead.
The Music Videos Praise Masculinity
The Hip-hop songs also propagate the idea of masculinity since womenare seen as the weaker people in the society. Their lyrics and themusic videos often paint the idea of violence that portrays the menas the stronger people. More specifically, it is common to hear therappers using words such as “pussy” or “bitch” whilereferring to their opponents (Hunter, 17). Such words are often usedin painting their competitors in the industry as women even if theyare men. Using the phrases is just a way of showing how the otherrappers are weaker than they are supposed to be. Apart from that,some of the rappers have been known to use violent lyrics as a way ofappearing tougher as well. For instance, Chief Keef is one of therappers known for the music videos that portray violence as a way ofachieving what one wants. His “Love Sosa” music video shows youngmen holding guns as they smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. The othersong “I Don’t Like” by Chief Keef insists how he “hates bitchn****s.” The portrayal reveals how pop culture looks at the genderroles and reveals why it is not impressive (Hunter, 15). The rappershave focused on gender inequality, and they paint the women as peoplethat are weaker emotionally and physically too. Hence, if a mandepicts more emotions and seems weak, he is referred to as a woman.Besides that, the light-skinned male rappers are seen as weak menthat cannot face the dark ones that are associated with criminal andviolence too (Conrad et al., 135). In the process, men are forced totoughen up and hide their emotions as opposed to appearing as weakerbeings. The same portrayal also extends to the younger children thatbelieve showing emotions is a behavior typical of the women. As aresult, they will strive to hide their feelings since they want to beconsidered as strong and tough.
Some Female Rappers have succeeded without the Sexual Image
Some of the successful rappers are women, and they have focused onbuilding their images too. For instance, the likes of Nicki Minaj,Remy Ma, Eve-E Missy Eliot and Queen Latifa are just some of thewomen in the Hip-hop genre. The women have shown that they can playthe main role in some of the music videos and they can control theirdestinies even if they are still acting like the sexual objects.Instead, they have reversed the roles, and they also use men as theirsexual gods that are expected to satisfy their needs as well. Thesame women have also been able to acquire wealth just like their malecounterparts and that has rejected the typical portrayal thatundermines women (Cundiff, 13). In this case, the women have pavedthe way for more young girls that have embraced the culture but,they focus on ensuring that they portray the female gender in apositive way instead.
In conclusion, the essay reveals how Hip-hop views women as sexualobjects but, a current generation of female rappers has shown howthey can succeed without the nudity. Besides that, the videos alsoreveal how women are seen as part of the properties that the rappersown. In the process, it undermines the position and social statusthat the women hold. In fact, they are seen as people that aresupposed to stay in the kitchen and play a supporting role. TheHip-hop music videos also reveal how the men are seen as the violentand stronger ones while the women are weaker and emotional. Thedepiction is common in the lyrics that refer to more insecure men as“bitches” or “pussies.” The images in the pop cultureillustrate how women are emotional beings and that urges men totoughen up. The younger persons end up adopting the themes that thepop culture associated with the gender roles in the society.
Conrad, Kate, Travis L. Dixon, and Yuanyuan Zhang. "Controversialrap themes, gender portrayals and skin tone distortion: A contentanalysis of rap music videos." Journal of Broadcasting &Electronic Media 53.1 (2009): 134-156.
Cundiff, Gretchen. "The Influence of Rap and Hip-Hop Music: AnAnalysis on Audience Perceptions of Misogynistic Lyrics." ElonJournal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 4.1 (2013).
Hunter, Margaret. "Shake it, baby, shake it: Consumption and thenew gender relation in hip-hop." Sociological Perspectives54.1 (2011): 15-36.