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"Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
I don’t need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive car and your caviar
All I need is my guitar
Keep your Kristal and your pistol
I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don’t need your silicone I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine

I’m not the average girl from your video
and I ain’t built like a supermodel 
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I’m not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be india arie”

sex positive feminism!

"Intersectionality suggests — and seeks to examine how — various socially and culturally constructed categories such as gender, race, class, disability, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality."

I saw an important intersectional connection between hip hop feminism and sex positive feminism. These ideologies have been created and introduced recently, so I actually couldn’t find a widely accepted definition of hip hop feminism to compare to sex positive feminism. I think the definition is being constructed right now, but a few similarities stuck out to me. Women in hip hop (artists, dancers, producers) form their representations of women in media based on what they think is socially desirable and marketable. How do men want women to act? How they should behave in different company? How, when, and especially where they are allowed to express their sexuality? Sex positivity challenges social norms about performing gender and conforming to stereotypical roles.
 
 In particular, I am thinking of how sex work and hip hop are connected. There is considerable lyrical discourse pertaining to relationships among different kinds of sex workers, such as the stripper, the prostitute, the slut, the pimp, the video vixen, and also the police who are there to stop sex work. Are the only spaces we have for these characters in music videos, where we see a one-dimensional portrayal of the sex worker experience? When looking at hip hop feminism, it is becoming increasingly important to learn about sex positive feminism. The songs that challenge a patriarchal system (see our post on Christina Aguilera’s ‘Still Dirrty’) are marginalized, never hit singles on the radio but tucked into a CD where you must seek the information to find it. Other accounts of sex work in hip hop are usually not delivered by females, and not very informative about the actual experience. Sex positivity also informs issues such as sexual orientation, pornography, and gender identity which have not yet been seen in commercialized hip hop. I think by continuing to incorporate sex positivity into our analysis of female hip hop music, we might start to see those characters develop a little bit, see some of those taboo issues confronted, and have the opportunity to understand them more thoroughly. 

This Popular Male Artist perspective is brought to you by Drake.

Katie Couric: “Some lyrics can be demeaning to women, what does that mean for the new generation?”
Drake: “There’s a fine line between demeaning…and fun, and wit. A lot of the music that me and Wayne made, for example…it’s fun, it’s witty. ‘I Wanna F*** Every Girl In The World, that’s one of our biggest songs. Is it to be taken literally and dissected? No. It’s more just fun, witty moments. Hip hop has elements of comedy. Those make the best punch lines. “

"I ain’t bein disrespectful baby I’m just bein Millz
And I dunno how fake feels so I gotta keep it real
I just wanna f___ every girl in the world

Every model, every singer, every actress, every diva
Every House of Diddy chick, every college girl, every skeezer,
Stripper and every housewife that resemble Eva
My role model was Will, so married women and MILF,
It doesn’t matter who you is
You can get the business” 

ha
ha
ha 

I’ll leave you with this thought:

Women’s anger challenges men to acknowledge attempts to trivialize opression with, “I was only kidding." And women’s anger is unacceptable to men who look to women to take care of them, to prop up their need to feel in control, and to support them in their competition with other men. When women are less than gracious and good-humored about their own oppression, men often feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, at a loss, and therefore vulnerable.” -Allan G. Johnson

As a black woman and a feminist I listen to the music with a willingness to see past the machismo in order to be clear about what I’m really dealing with. What I hear frightens me. On booming track after booming track, I hear brothers talking about spending each day high as hell on malt liquor and Chronic. Don’t sleep. What passes for “40 and a blunt” good times in most of hip-hop is really alcoholism, substance abuse, and chemical dependency. When brothers can talk so cavalierly about killing each other and then reveal that they have no expectation to see their twenty-first birthday, that is straight up depression masquerading as machismo. […]

This is crystal clear to me when I’m listening to hip-hop. Yeah, sistas are hurt when we hear brothers calling us bitches and hos. But the real crime isn’t the name-calling, it’s their failure to love us – to be our brothers in the way that we commit ourselves to being their sistas. But recognize: Any man who doesn’t truly love himself is incapable of loving us in the healthy way we need to be loved. It’s extremely telling that men who can only refer to us as “bitches” and “hos” refer to themselves only as “niggas.”

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, from fly girls to bitches and hos, pp. 72-75

This video is incredibly interesting and touches on many views of women in hip hop.  Some of the quotes from it are shocking as well.  Irv Gotti the record produces says that it’s ok to have 15 year olds in his videos.  Further when they touch on the disconnect between rappers and artists holding their mother above anything else, yet treating other women as sex toys, he says it goes “mom, dad, God” (Gotti).  I thought that hierarchy was interesting as well. To go against that, however, Kevin Powell, who is a writer and activist, disagrees.  He thinks that all women should be viewed at that standard and that we have become accustomed to treating women as bling.  

Beyonce - If I Were a Boy

When I first heard this song, I thought it addressed the issues that were stereotypical of men to sing about in hip hop songs: sex, promiscuity, having multiple women at one time, etc.  However, after watching the video, I felt as though it made women seem weak still.  The idea of the man being the cop struck me.  Is it more masculine? Is it to represent power?  The relationships cops have in general are very strained because of hours that they work etc.  So does it send the wrong message to women who have husbands/girlfriends who are cops?

Beyonce is a very popular artist, and she does a lot of songs to address women’s empowerment.  Do her videos match?

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