Throughout history, women have struggled across different aspects of life to establish equality or become the dominant figure. In the United States today, life experiences from women are not held to the same standard as men. Examples of this can be demonstrated through sports, art, politics, and especially music. According to the article, Life and Hip-Hop: How women’s role in the industry allows for empowerment, breaking norms, it states “success was more challenging to achieve for women compared to their male counterparts. Los Angeles Southwest College sociology professor Kristine Wright said the genre of hip-hop’s treatment of women draws parallels to the world of sports – specifically basketball. Much like the WNBA, she said women in hip-hop have traditionally been paid less and receive less attention than their male peers, like those in the NBA. With female artists historically receiving less attention, Wright said there is a conception among industry executives and popular artists that promoting female sexuality can result in greater industry success. Some female rappers like Nicki Minaj have been pressured by these ideals to change their looks as a result, Wright said.” (Wright, 2021). This quote is important because it describes how women were able to rise to success and overcome misogynistic hardships in the music industry. Unfortunately, since hip-hop can be seen as a reflection of how our society is today, this patriarchy-based world we live in applies to the industry and its promotion tactics. If the industry believes sales will increase if the artist is provocatively dressed, then that is what they will try to promote. In my opinion, this is disgusting. I have never heard multiple accounts of men being coerced into nudity exposure just to become successful. Although it can be seen as empowering to take control of your own body, it should not feel like the path to success requires you to expose your own body. This relates to our class as we dig deeper into learning about how women and men are treated differently and where this stemmed from. According to Women Race & Class by Angela Davis, it states “ Men and women were created equal: they are both moral and accountable human beings” (Davis, 42). I like this quote a lot because I feel like it relates to the music industry in an interesting way. If we were created equal with morals and a sense of accountability, how is it that we live in a society that justifies immoral actions to succeed when committed by a woman? Is nudity for money not immoral? The bigger picture of this all can be seen when men rise to success in the hip-hop industry pretty much by making songs with explicit lyrics related to female encounters meanwhile females have to actually do these explicit things. Until recently, you’ve probably never heard of women making an attempt to sexualize men the way they do. Again, it can be seen as empowering because it shows how women can play the same game men play, and sometimes do it even better. It also shows dominance because if they know they have something the industry wants, it gives them leverage and an understanding of how to use it to their advantage. I’m sure the society we live in today is familiar with the term “Pussy Power”.
Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. Vintage Books, 1983.
Brown, Natalie. “Life and Hip-Hop: How Women’s Role in the Industry Allows for Empowerment, Breaking Norms.” Daily Bruin, 12 Nov. 2020, https://dailybruin.com/2020/11/12/life-and-hip-hop-how-womens-role-in-the-industry-allows-for-empowerment-breaking-norms.