The idea of women and how women should act has evolved through centuries due to many forms of the media. One of the most prominent forms is through music, specifically rap and hip-hop. Rap and hip-hop music emerged during the 1970s, often as a source of expression through music. As seen through many current rap artists, the expression of emotions through music has turned into hatred and objectifying views towards women. As new artists have emerged, women have increasingly become sexually exploited through the form of lyrics and music videos. Misogyny is the hatred or disdain of women. Misogyny in music portrays an idea that reduces women to objects rather than human beings solely for men’s ownership and abuse . Although misogyny has not always been present, it has become a constant theme throughout all the works of new artist such as Eminem, Robin Thicke, and Lil Wayne. The theme of misogyny in music has become widely accepted throughout society and has flourished through the music industry for years.
Robin Thicke’s music video of “Blurred Lines” is very aggressive on the male part. It shows girls flocking to Robin, Pharrell and T.I., and the men are objectifying the women by having them walk around in bikinis almost as if they are just flaunting their bodies for the men. The video is completely in the dominant gaze and objectifies women because it puts the men in the power position, and makes it seem like the women are only there for the men to look at and flirt with. The women in the video are looking into the camera trying to seduce the viewer into believing the idea that objectifying women is okay. What the video does well is distract the viewer from the lyrics that are obscene and focus their attention on the beautiful women walking around or caressing Thicke. In the lyrics of the song “Blurred Lines” Thicke sings, “What you don’t like work… I know you want it”(Thicke). He is saying to the female dancer she has to work for him but he can have her for free or for whatever he wants. He also sings about knowing the women want to engage with him sexually and physically but they must work for it. The idea of women wanting men and men being able to have their pick is one that is popular now-a-days and has become a big issue in society. Whether or not the men are singing about women in a derogatory manner may or may not be doing it for money, publicity or to make a name for themselves does not matter, the artists should be thinking about how women feel when they hear and watch the songs.
In the music video of the popular song “Beat the Pussy Up” by Loverance featuring IAMSU, it provides images of attractive women dancing around at a bar and vying for the attention of the artists. In the first moments of the video they talk about entering an exclusive party they were invited too that is filled with alcohol and beautiful women who are there simply there to give out sex. As the video continues you hear lyrics like, “Im gonna get deep in it” or “Call me I can get it juicy for ya.” Insinuating that not only will sex be had, but it very well might be the best sex that these women will ever have. This video eventually cuts to a scene where a rapper talks about what he wants to do a girl like “fill me on up, put it in your gut” and as he is saying this he looks as if he is directly speaking to a girl looks to be smiling and enjoying everything the rapper says. As you watch the video every girl seems to enjoy the lyrics and the artist’s presence further confirming the values and labels men put on women. For example, a label often put on women is “hot piece of ass” which relates women similarly to barbequed meat. These labels will often leave women feeling like sex objects and pieces of meat that can only contribute to world by having sex. I think if women were to push back on dominant gaze that males have on women within the music industry they should resist and shoot down artists that write songs that are as disrespectful to woman as “Beat the Pussy Up.”
Eminem has always had trouble with the opposite sex, and although everyone can relate to this in some form, Eminem’s experiences have been well…legal and public to say the least. Eminem’s fans know that his relationship/divorce from his wife Kim Scott was rather chaotic for him. The couple divorced once, remarried each other, then later divorced again three months later with a lawsuit she filed against him. Eminem has also been sued by his own family (mother and aunt), and his ongoing feud with Mariah Carey over their alleged relationship, which seems to be brought up from time to time in some of his work. All of this leads to the excessive amount of violent Misogyny in his songs, specifically, “Superman”. This song is about Eminem’s perception on women. To him, women are whores, gold diggers, and liars. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone from the opposite sex and doesn’t want to be affiliated with women in general. To him, women lie, and all they want is fame and the life that comes with it. In order for him to not get hurt again, he basically plays games with them. An example of that is in the beginning in the music video, Him and the girl (pornstar Gina Lynn) describe themselves as “wanting” and “loving” each other. All this goes on and all of a sudden his opinion of her changes: “Ooh you drive me crazy, bitch you make me hurl”. In other words, he says she’s another worthless slut and in the video, he kicks the chick out of his home along with her belongings as if she was a prostitute. He tells them that he is their superman, and how the girl drives him crazy. To him everything is a game, and he is the winner because he will never fall for a female’s game. “I’d never love you enough to trust you, we just met and I just f*cked you” just comes to tell you that he’s using women for sex one after another treating them like shit. In a few clips in the music video, Eminem is shown in a sea of almost naked women basically wanting to grab a piece of him and this interpretation shows that women want nothing but lust from men and all of them are the same. “Love that tattoo what’s that say? Rot in Pieces, uh that’s great” is basically telling his ex to go f*ck herself and die. And finally,” “Put Anthrax on a Tampax and slap you till you can’t stand.” basically put the nail in the coffin of this misogynistic song and video. In my opinion, he’s just going with the popular hip hop culture’s ideas that he grew up around and trying to keep a traditional, stereotypical hip hop view of women in his music. Sexism sells in the hip-hop industry unfortunately. The majority of rappers/rap songs use offensive vocabulary (all because they think it’s cool), “bitches” and “hos”, etc. If you find Eminem sexist, then you should find most other rappers sexist too.
“Pop that” featuring rap artists such as Drake, Rick Ross, French Montana & Lil Wayne, shows endless amounts of woman in bikinis and swimming pools. The singers are singing about them doing a certain type of dance called “twerking” during the entire song they ask “what you twerking with” the girls seem to be enjoying themselves even though they get referred to as “Bitches and Groupies”. At certain points the men are completely surrounded by woman. They are bumping and feeling on them. A line in the song that really stands out to me is when they say “pop the pussy bitch” that line is very vulgar. The females in this video are being used as only an object for sex and erotic dancing. The fact that the video never shows the females fully clothed and seen only in bikinis proves that they are only a sex factor in the video. I know that objectifying woman in the music industry will never end since it sells very well. The only realistic way to put an end to it is having the women who allow this to happen to them to stand up for themselves and produce music videos with an alternative gaze. But that won’t happen since the pay is good and the desire for fame is great.
The genre of rap and hip-hop is a thriving industry and although it may portray misogynistic views they are not going to stop producing it. Some people may choose to listen to the message it sends and others may not but consciously or not the mindset of the young audience is changing and forming around these lyrics and music videos. It is very hard to single out songs that have done very well without objectifying women or by using an alternative gaze where women are portrayed as empowering figures. The few that are out there don’t merely do as well as those who do use woman as sex symbols in order to sell the song. Most of these songs really have no meaning and really only sell due to the woman and the sensual content and appeal in the lyrics and music videos. As long as our society deems it acceptable we will continue to see this and accept it as a daily norm. Young men are becoming aware with this music that they have so much control over women and they can make them do whatever they want. The messages being sent through the lyrics and music videos is definitely not a message society should be living by and it is extremely important that an alternate gaze of female as dominant figures becomes apparent in music videos.