To be a woman who loves hip hop at times is to be in love with your abuser. Because the music was and is that. And yet the culture is ours.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 16, 2015
Hip-hop remains a curious thing, indeed. To iterate, the rampant misogyny that exists within the genre is reflective of our entire country. Needless to say, hip-hop’s sexual objectification and commodification of women deserves its share of ridicule. Misogyny operates within hip-hop through derogatory labels, physical manifestations of scantily cladness and threats of violence.
The male ego proves to be fragile, thus the majority of men prefer to place themselves in positions of power. Systemic misogyny presents itself as a feature, not a glitch within America. Hypermasculinity reinforces the patriarchal nature that encourages men to only associate with women, per their ascribed role.
Certainly, misogyny does not represent contempt or rejection of women because then there would be a disconnect. The resulting disconnect would cause a complete lack of contact and connection between men and women. Therefore, misogyny thrives within the ecosystem of women who provide a service to the ‘dominant’ male.
The ‘dominant’ male and the ‘servant’ female roles are born directly from the result of our society’s patriarchal order. Misogyny’s problematic routes stem from unhealthy gender norms and relations that condition lawmakers, jurors and judges.
A woman who challenges male authority or declines to serve is perceived as, “insubordinate.” Women’s ascribed social roles and responsibilities are what provide the basis of their subordination in the first place.
Women are subjected to cavalier treatment throughout every aspect of their lives. Hip-hop has struggled to rid itself of hypersexualized lyrics and behavior. This inability to disassociate directly correlates with the persistent approach to the objectification and commodification of women as merely physical beings.
Men mainly value women for their role as a trophy wife or mother figure. A trope within hip-hop that reflects this misogynistic determination goes something like, “Can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.”
Male entitlement runs rampant within the ecosystem of hip-hop. Cardi B became subjected to physical harassment from a male who groped her ass backstage at the Mayweather versus Mcgregor fight. For ultimate proof of misogyny, look no further than the IG comments left on Cardi’s reaction video. Therefore, since Cardi used to be a stripper, many men deemed that she should accept these types of microaggressions and chalk it up to her past.
Thankfully, we have outspoken and unrelenting artists like Cardi B to assert sexuality, conquer critics and empower all women to do the same.
What Does it Take to Effectuate Change ?
Unfortunately, Cardi B is only one woman and not only that but she exists within a heavily male dependent industry. Within this industry, the female emcee does not receive adequate representation.
In public settings, women become targets of, “cat-calling” where the male aggressor expects reciprocation for their unwarranted and often sexual advances. To shift the paradigm of these situations, one woman decided to document her cat-calling experiences.
Misogyny presents a wide ranging and highly complex batch of complicated issues. For instance, the problem that society experiences in relation to hip-hop and misogyny deals with the explicit. Opponents of the genre emphasize the toxicity of explicitly derogatory and demeaning lyrics. Certainly, hip-hop does not receive pardon from this entire issue.
But what about the less overt forms of misogyny? Subtle misogyny occurs by means of unequal expectations, vague performance reviews and various forms of biases. This creates an underground component of the issue that elicits plausible deniability for the aggressor.
Where the Fault Belongs
Let me be clear: misogyny, sexism and the repulsive rape culture within our country are all men’s issues. The toxic behavior of males must be divided from the entrenched stigma against victims. Our country operates under a false pretense of gender equality and a false assumption that our judicial systems function properly.
What is difficult to discern about these issues relates to the sources by which we learn these behaviors. Sure, a parent or caregiver’s behavior and/or instruction may lead to misogynistic tendencies. Certainly, when it comes to learned misogynistic behavior, subliminal messaging and societal conditioning cannot be overlooked either.
Recently, at Howard Homecoming a male fraternity member threatened several females and displayed [outwardly] disrespectful and deprecatory sentiments [behavior.] An observant woman (@SkyMilan5) decided to document the entire situation. Upon knowledge of said documentation, the man and his “brothers” both tried to cover the camera and persuade the woman to stop recording.
This is a compelling issue and until everyone marks their pivotal stance there will be no changes. Too many people live on the fence and refuse to use their voice to emphasize their beliefs and collectively effectuate a change.
It’s time to reject the mantra of “Boys Will be Boys.” If we continue to subscribe to systemic denial of misogyny, we will never progress and thrive as co inhabitants.
“There is no them, there are only facets of us” (John Green)
Written by: Ian Romaker