North Texas Daily

Breaking: Feminists can listen to rap

Breaking: Feminists can listen to rap

Breaking: Feminists can listen to rap
June 23
11:56 2017

Amanda Lee | Staff Writer

You’re in the car on the way home from work, frantically switching through radio stations to find a pick-me-up for the ride home. Finally, you find a station that isn’t playing an ad and settle. You’re enjoying the beat about to break your car speakers until you hear, “She gonna f— the squad what else? Imma f— her broads what else?

Pause.

I have been listening to hip-hop and rap music since I can remember. My first exposure to rap was through the radio, as I can recall reciting the lyrics to 50 Cent’s “Magic Stick” until my mom heard the lyrics and hit me in the throat. I had no idea what the song meant but I enjoyed the music.

This was the extent of my relationship with music for a while. Myself and most other kids recited lyrics about sex or drug abuse without realizing exactly what we were talking about. This did not stop me from singing “Thong Song” in the grocery store with an innocent grin.

I was almost proud I knew these songs. Yes, I could sing about “booties” and “loosening up my buttons” when the Pussycat Dolls played at the mall. Knowing more words to explicit songs than the next kid gave me a sense of superiority. But I can’t feign this childlike ignorance anymore.

I am a feminist. I understand that feminism is “intersectional” and not all women have the same experiences. I am old enough to understand and recognize misogyny around me. That being said, I know exactly what is being said in the songs I enjoy and this makes downloading music a whole new ballgame.

Artists from all genres, including country and rock music, glorify the abuse or mistreatment of women. Misogyny is sprinkled into a large majority of songs whether it be blatant or well hidden.

Hip-hop is an easy target for critics, but even country songs can be misogynistic and sexist. Back when she was “country,” singer Taylor Swift sung in her song “Better Than Revenge,” “She’s better known for the things she does on the mattress.” Yikes.

And while I feel guilty humming along, I know how to respect myself and respect other women, regardless of how they choose to behave. You can’t call me hypocritical for listening to music that does not always empower women when little girls are exposed to Disney movies teaching them to be dependent on a man.

No, I do not want to give my money to a man or woman who advocates for the mistreatment of women. But I also don’t want to cover my ears and hide every time an inappropriate song comes on. If Migos comes on, chances are that I’m turning them up rather than down.

While there is said to be a separation between the art and the artist, there is also a separation between the listener and their morals. Trying to avoid all music going against my beliefs requires me to sit in a cold, dark room alone.

Just because I drop what I’m doing when I hear Yung Nation does not mean I condone a man “trying to have relations with [my] booty.” Just because you see a woman at a club having the time of her life as Lil Yachty explains he only wants a woman for “one night,” does not mean the woman thinks this behavior is okay. Her music choice is not her consent. Women who understand the inappropriate content in a song will not adjust their morals to fit the behavior described in such songs.

So should women engage in a personal war against all major music genres that degrade women? If you have the time and resources, sure. But do not feel guilty if you can’t. Of course, I would enjoy rap and hip-hop a lot more if the lyrics were more uplifting of women, however, this is not the case. When I hear Chance The Rapper talk lovingly about his daughter and her mother, I find myself snapping in approval. It is sad that it is rare to hear popular music applauding women, but hope is not lost.

Music is a reflection of our society and not the other way around. As fans of popular music change their attitudes towards women and destroy rape culture, we will see our music adjust to the times.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my music and my ears will not bleed. But don’t think I’m not changing the lyrics in my head while I’m dancing to validate myself.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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