I enjoy listening to some mainstream rap, especially at parties. There’s nothing like a song with a great beat, catchy hook, and strong bass. For example, I love Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O,” well, all of it except the part when Rick Ross alludes to date rape in the second verse, “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it”
Ok I’ll give another example, Juicy J’s “Show Out” is a workout favorite of mine, but if you listen closely to the lyrics, the rappers refer to women as bitches and hoes throughout the track. So now do you understand why my like of this music is so problematic? I am a woman and I should hate these songs because they disrespect and hyper sexualize women as a whole.
Prior to watching Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad,” I didn’t pay attention to the repercussions of demeaning rap music. The video shows a young girl reenacting the dances she sees in the music videos. Seeing this little girl gyrate her hips is what got me, I mean she couldn’t be more than 8 years old. That’s disturbing. Even more, these videos are showing girls to value themselves solely by their looks, there are few mainstream songs that actually appreciate the intelligence and worth of a woman, Alicia Key’s “Woman’s Worth,” is a fave of mine.
In fact, throughout the media (with some exceptions) you can clearly see women valued for their looks alone; for example, the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” commercial, Hillary Clinton and the focus on her pantsuits, etc. Society is teaching young girls to value themselves on looks alone; I didn’t succumb to societal pressures because I have a strong support group of friends and family, along with the fact that I learned from an early age to be skeptical of the media’s portrayal of women. But for the girls who don’t have support groups?
But the true challenge to myself is how do I, as a college student who loves to go out and dance to this music, respond? Do I abstain from listening to the music? Do I send an open letter to a music exec? Do I lecture my little sister on why this lyric or that lyric is bad? Where do I begin? Is it enough? Better yet- am I even ready and willing to do all these things?