Seeing as I’m completely uninterested in this topic, I’m not sure how interesting this blog will be, but bear with me, I’ll try and keep your attention. It seems that one of the most common things that comes up throughout this class and is so prominent in popular culture is gender. The separation of gender and the roles that gender plays in popular culture, this does not exclude Hip Hop. Hip Hop has an amazing gender divide, a counter culture started by men, obviously is going to make it harder for a woman to make it through. Yet here we are with many female rap artists that have become huge hits, yet for all the strength they show in rising in a culture designed by men, they still manage to objectify themselves for men.
Let’s look at male rap/hip hop (whatever we’re calling it these days) today, most songs consist of how they’re going to “party in da club” and hook up with some “ho’s.” This is common in hip hop music today, most songs are just about getting it on, and partying, but what’s so disturbing is that females cannot escape the reputation as an object in this culture. Whether it is in their own songs or in male artists’ songs, they are an object, and maybe that’s just what Hip Hop culture is about. Let’s look at Niki Minaj, a female rapper on the rise, her songs consist of her, ironically objectifying herself, whether recognizable or not, it’s there. To develop a reputation as a bad ass or one of the boys, female artists simply reverse the formula, instead of men objectifying women, it’s women objectifying men, which unfortunately leads to women objectifying themselves.
Okay, it’s a turning circle of confusion, stay with me! To put it in as simple of terms that I can think of; to use men, and to only want to “hit it and quit it” brandishes women as a slut, even though this is what is supposed to be the empowerment of women in the hip hop culture, that they in fact can use men, just like men use them! All right so let’s look at Niki Minaj, who seems to be caught in the ever-provocative position of her legs spread wide and a clearly uncomfortable and open view of her vagina. This is a female rapper? What is she even trying to say? “Come on in boys, I’m open all the time!” This confuses me, this doesn’t play into the role reversal in Hip Hop culture, how often do you see 50 Cent or some other male rapper grabbing their crotch, like “Hey ladies, you want some of this?” This may be the unfortunate thing about Hip Hop and gender roles, is that the female needs to objectify herself to get the ratings and sell the albums that she does, as for the male he can just rap, produce music, and get the same ratings. I really can’t say, but that’s my observation.
So, I sound a little prude, I’m not saying that women should be ashamed of our bodies or hide them, by all means let your freak flag fly, but what is the message we (females) are sending out there? Unfortunately in our society, we aren’t as accepting of the female body as an empowering image, our image of power is derived from men, what we believe to be strength comes from the image of muscles, manliness. For a woman to be “strong” she too needs to be manly and muscle-ly and forever copying men, to be accepted, or even taken seriously, proving that we too can keep up! Forever playing catch up, this is how our society is designed. In Hip Hop especially, women will always be struggling in a game created by men.