Gender Ideology and Hip-Hop

By: Maria

It is often that
men and women are placed into different gender roles. Women have been oppressed
throughout most of history, and it is still easy to find today. Men have been
placed into a masculine gender role where they need to be tough and powerful. Men
and women have been put into gender roles since the beginning of time, so it is
not unusual for there to be gender ideologies associated in hip hop and rap.
For males, this ideology usually revolves around masculinity, power and
violence. For women, this ideology tends to fall along the lines of women as
sexual objects; however, this has been challenged by many women over time.

It is no secret that hip hop has
gone through significant changes over time. This is extremely true when it
comes to women in hip hop. In many recent male rap or hip hop music videos,
there tends to be women dressed in little clothing dancing either in the
background or on the male rap or hip hop star. These women are used as sexual
objects rather than treated as respectable women. However, though it might be
less easy to find, there are many female hip-hop and rap artists who have
defied this ideology. Artist Eve is one example of a woman who goes against
this ideology.  Instead of being an
object, Eve sings more about hardships of life rather than only about partying,
alcohol and sex. Eve is an artist that takes back their own power in their
lyrics. In her song Love Is Blind, Eve speaks about domestic violence and
sexual abuse. For some artists, there has been a cross between these two
ideologies. Nicki Minaj is one of those artists. Nicki Minaj can be seen
dancing and as a sex object but also as powerful in her own way.

Male rap and hip-hop artists have
ideologies used to revolve more around power and masculinity, but this ideology
has changed over time. In the earlier days of hip-hop and rap, songs were often
based on living in the ghetto and the subculture of hip-hop including graffiti
and break dancers. These songs were about males living in hard neighborhoods
and their lives that have come out of living in those situations. The lyrics
were about fighting police and fighting against the situations that they lived
in. These songs were about their hardships, and they were not revolved around
partying or alcohol.  Since then however,
there has been a shift with males in hip hop and rap. Though this isn’t true
for all circumstances, it is easy to find music videos and song lyrics where
men are objectifying women and talking about sex, violence, drugs, alcohol and
partying. There is usually product placement in these music videos where
products are often placed and used in music videos so that viewers will buy
these products.

There has been a significant change
in gender ideologies throughout the evolution of rap and hip-hop. It is easy to
find these ideologies, however if you search hard, you can find people that
also defy these ideologies and choose not to be what they are expected to be. These
individuals choose to defy these ideologies that they were placed into and they
try to create a new gender ideology.

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