Culture | August 18th, 2020

The Harsh Reality of Misogyny in Hip-Hop

By: De'ja Stokes
The Harsh Reality of Misogyny in Hip-Hop

Megan Thee Stallion endured a lot of pain and scrutiny after allegedly being shot by Tory Lanez on July 12. Just before the arrest of Lanez,  a resident made a call of disturbance in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood. Upon the arrest of the rapper, officers found a gun in his SUV. Initially, reports stated that Megan suffered from a cut on her foot from broken glass.  After rumors circulated, the hip-hop star rectified those claims on July 15. She revealed that she suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. 

“On Sunday morning, I suffered from gunshot wounds as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me,” said Megan via Instagram.

Although Megan received a lot of support and love, the situation instantly became a subject of ridicule on social media. While many didn’t find the incident amusing, other twitter users made jokes and memes about Megan being shot. Many felt the responses to the female rappers’ misfortune derived from misogynistic views.

“In hip-hop music, misogyny relates to any aspect of rap that supports or normalizes the objectification, exploitation and victimization of women.”

The notion of misogyny relates to the topic of how often a black woman’s agony is ignored. In the situation with Lanez and Megan, social media did not take it seriously. Other celebrities such as 50 Cent and Draya Michele publicly joked about Megan being shot.

Subsequently, this compelled Megan to speak about the lack of protection that Black women face in their communities. The ridiculing pushed her to tears via Instagram live as she explained her innocence in the alleged shooting situation.

In hip-hop music, misogyny relates to any aspect of rap that supports or normalizes the objectification, exploitation and victimization of women. Misogyny is a long-standing issue within the hip hop world, and for years nothing has changed.

After the first female solo hip hop album was dropped by MC Lyte in 1988, women flooded the hip hop scene. “At the same time, the lyrical content of our male counterparts seemed to shift,” said Ellen Chamberlain in her “Misogyny in Hip-Hop” TED talk. Male rappers soon began to incorporate an excessive amount of slurs and derogatory statements directed to women into their lyricisms.

These lyrics consisted of disrespectful and violent behavior towards women. Harsh lyrics continue to be normalized causing some to feel comfort in applying it to their everyday lifestyle—not just in music. Ownership and outlook seemed to shift the scales in hip-hop, according to Chamberlain.

“Women have always been a central focus of degenerative rap lyrics,” said Neha Makkapati, a Daily Nexus journalist.

In 1993, Queen Latifah dropped the iconic feminist song “U.N.I.T.Y” in response to all the male emcees calling females out of their name in their lyrics. But even then, the song did not receive a lot of recognition on the radio. Perhaps she bruised a lot of egos with the record or the message was too powerful. Back then many appreciated the song. It confronted the lack of respect for women in our society and slurs against them.

“The concept of misogyny in hip-hop portrays women as less than what they are.”

The hip-hop culture has also portrayed women as props. Chamberlain pointed out the fact that hip-hop crews from the 90s such as No Limit Records, Terror Squad and Bad Boys had at least one female rapper present. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, those ladies only gained the opportunity to shine because of their position in proximity to men as props rather than independent successful artists. “Here[in hip-hop], violence and mistreatment are ok. It’s ok to mumble slanders of how women are nothing more than vehicles for sex,” said Makkapati.

The concept of misogyny in hip-hop portrays women as less than what they are. The lyrics and content have also made some men view and treat women as nothing more than objects. So undoubtedly Lanez felt comfort in shooting a woman because of the amount of misogyny not only in music, but in other aspects of life too. Although he never disclosed his side of the story, from the outside looking in, Lanez is satisfied with the violence and mistreatment toward women. 

“Whether it is referencing, degrading and/or forceful sexual acts, slut-shaming, or the treatment of women as objects, on the surface, the rap genre appears to be more degrading and anti-feminist than other musical traditions,” said journalist, Isabella Decarlo.

While misogyny does exist in hip-hop culture, it also exists in other genres of music. It also exists in our everyday lives and other cultures, not just music.