Hip-hop and rap music are commonly criticized for its anti-feminist lyrics and degrading exploitation of women in music and music videos. (Sharpley-Whiting ) Many feminists have taken action against the music industry, which produces these messages in the music they release. However, in the hip-hop genre there are plenty of successful female rappers promoting feminist views, artist such as Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige have made the choice to condemn the derogatory culture towards women. (Oliver, 382–384) However others female hip-hop artist, such as Lil Kim or Rihanna, have decided to provide no resistance towards the deleterious depictions of women in their music and in turn sometimes exploit themselves. Due to her extreme fame, success, and controversial image, at the front of this discussion is female rapper Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj is challenging the common view of women in hip-hop by proclaiming feminist ideologies through the art of reclaiming the genres negative undertones towards women and by providing an opportunity for women to be seen as equals rather than objects.
Feminism, in its simplest definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. (Webster) Feminists fight for equality for women to men socially, politically, and economically. At the peak of feminist discourse is equality for men and women in education and in employment. However, feminism also focuses on more than issues regarding the rights of women in relation to men. Issues of gender equality and women’s right to control their sexuality are also at the core of feminist theory. A key argument made by many feminists is how women have very little control over their sexuality, mainly being defined and controlled by men. This control is only fueled by patriarchal societies and cultures. (Ariffin)
Antonymous to feminism is misogyny, which in its crudest definition is hate of or towards women. However, the term is more often less overt and simply implies prejudice towards women. Misogyny is exhibited in numerous ways, such as deprecating jokes, pornography, violence, and self-contempt taught to women. (Johnson) This contrasts to feminism in that it does not move towards equality for women. Misogyny does not promote change in social, economical, and political constructs for the betterment and egalitarianism for women, but in fact encourages anti-feminist views of women. Second-wave feminism in the late 20th century claimed misogyny is “a cause and result of patriarchal social structures” (Millet) Misogynistic ideas and attitudes can be seen in multiple forms of media and art, including hip-hop music.
Feministic and misogynistic messages are present in hip-hop music and in hip-hop culture. Hip-hop music lyrics, videos, and culture often support or normalize the objectification or victimization of women. Analyses have found that of rap songs sampled thirty-seven percent depicted women ‘‘simply as objects of male desire and pleasure, while...