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By Leslie G.

Hip-hop culture is known for its love of music, but is this love not for women? Hip-hop through the years of its existence has not shown any appreciation to women and has belittled women for superiority to men even though, there are great female artists out there as well.  Hip-hop culture has a negative effect on women which gives men a certain belief in power that degrading women is acceptable for entertainment and personal pleasure. 

Hip-hop culture portrays and belittles women as sexual objects for pleasure of men. For example, hip-hop music videos always show women in revealing clothing dancing around for money and men, which sends a message that women are just eye candy who can only be attractive if she is dressed and dances provocative, it rarely shows a fully dressed woman being respected. If there were to be a woman fully dressed, then she is either treated as someone who is stuck up, a lesbian, or just ignored by men with no kind of recognition because of her form of dressing style. In it’s getting hot in herre by  Nelly, the lyrics stated:

“No deceivin, nothin up my sleeve and, no teasin
I need you to get up up on the dance floor
Give that man what he askin for (oh)
Cuz I feel like bustin loose and I feel like touchin you (ah, ah)
And cant nobody stop the juice so baby tell me whats the use)
Its gettin hot in here (so hot)
So take off all your clothes.”

This derogative song is implying to these women that they need to do whats neccesarry to please the man since there is no use in opposing it. These lyrics are negative connotations to both women and men as it portrays a how to mistreat a women and to only be seen as sexual and not intellectual beings. Hip-hop empowers the view that men take upon a dominant role by portraying their manliness and masculinity through violence, ability to intimidate others, how many women they have by their side, gun play, and invulnerability. As Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a cultural critic that was interviewed for the documentary Hip-Hop: beyond Beats & Rhymes states “throughout American history the violent man using the gun to defend his family, his gift and kin becomes the suitable metaphor for the notion of manhood and has been taken from American history into hip hop culture.”

Vixens, dancers in music videos, are paid to act provocative which leads the artist to think they have the right to take advantage of the women, off  and on the set. Artist threat these women like sexual object or slaves, this is no way anyone should be treated. As in Kiss And Tail: Hollywood Jump Off , Karrine Steffans states “I had to be a hustler, because if I didn’t do it I was going to die out there”. These videos that reach #1 are allowed more air time and give the message that degrading women is acceptable. In the song Ain’t No Fun by artist Snoop Dogg, he writes:

"I know the pussy's mine, I'ma fuck a couple more times
And then I'm through with it, there's nothing else to do with it
Pass it to the homie, now you hit it
Cause she ain't nuthin but a bitch to me
And y'all know, that bitches ain't shit to me
i gives a fuck, why don't y'all pay attention
Approach it with a different proposition, I'm Kurupt
Hoe you'll never be my only one, trick ass beeeitch!!"

This demonstrates that hip-hop culture accepts this treatment of women and name calling such as “bitch”, and “hoe” that degrade women are appropriate because of what is praised in the hip-hop culture. Men have come to believe that its perfectly fine to be a player as it is praised in this industry dominated by men, but for a woman to be this way it is looked down upon. It’s a double standard that sets back female artist who still have to degrade themselves to compete and be accepted in a male dominated industry, regardless of skill. Female rappers still have to dress provocatively to compete in the market, , which only reinforces the message of sexism and inferiority.  

Ultimately, women are treated unequally and are seen as less credible as men in the hip-hop culture. To be accepted, women must degrade themselves by using sexual explicit images, lyrics and improper language throughout music videos. If hip-hop culture wants to take a stand for minorities, then women shouldn’t be excluded for the show of masculinity of men through their belittlement. As a society, we need to stand up against the music industry for equality to leave a legacy for generations to come.  

Works Cited:

1.    Hurt, Byron. Director, Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes, 2006.

2.    Nelly. “It's getting hot in herre.” Nellyville. Universal Records, 2002. Mp3

3.    Snoop Dogg. “Ain’t No Fun.”Doggystyle. Death Row, 1993. Mp3

4.    Spirer, Peter. Director, Kiss and Tail: Hollywood Jump off (Documentary about Hip Hop Groupies & Video Vixens Using Sex to Get Ahead).