Music is a very influential tool, especially with its wide availability. Websites such as YouTube.com, Pandora.com, and GrooveShark.com allow listeners to choose from a huge variety of music, and mp3 players let people listen to music on the go, wherever they are. Music can be uplifting and inspirational, but the type of music that many youth listen to nowadays is deeply misogynistic and degrading.
There are many influential rappers in today’s society. In his song, “Want You,” Lil Wayne raps, “You know you fucking with a good dude. You know you give good brain like you graduated from a good school.” This is a metaphor that ridicules a woman’s education and intelligence, insinuating that women exist for the sole purpose of sexually pleasing men. Instead of respecting a woman for her intellect, this song promotes a message of valuing women only for their sexual abilities. It reduces women to being portrayed as sex objects, as if their highest aspiration in life should be to work as a stripper or a porn star, rather than living a virtuous life and fulfilling their intellectual potential as a modest woman. In many rap videos, the producers dress women half-naked and her sacred body parts and hair which should be covered in public and shown only to her husband in private are shown to the entire world.
Rapper2Chainz also has some misogynistic lyrics in his music. He raps, “She got a big booty, so I call her Big Booty.” This encourages people to fetishize women’s body parts, ignoring everything about them except their sexuality. It is very damaging because not only does it reinforce the rampant objectification of women, but it also attempts to replace a woman’s identity as a human being with an identity of being someone else’s turn-on—nothing more. It allows men to completely ignore things like what type of personality a woman has, what experiences and interests she has, what she feels emotionally, what she thinks about and hopes for and dreams of, etc.; it allows men to completely ignore everything that makes someone human, and instead, view women as nothing more than real-life versions of a blow-up sex doll: something to be used solely for the purpose of the man’s physical pleasure.
In a seven-minute freestyle, the late rapper Big L raps, “All chicks ain’t shit, ain’t no such thing as Miss Right so we can never be a couple, hun. Fuck love, all I got for ho’s is hard dick and bubble gum.” He makes it clear that he isn’t interested in a real relationship, but only wants to use women for sex. He continues, “Fucking chicks is a rule. If my girl think I’m loyal then that bitch is a fool.” In those two sentences, he glorifies infidelity, trying to make it sound cool that everyone should be doing. He also refers to the girl in the song as a bitch, which makes it clear that he has no respect for her.
In another song by Big L, he raps, “Every bitch that I’m fuckin with now is cock suckin. It’s like I’m allergic to not fuckin. Ya niggaz is faggots… I fucked ya bitch but I ain’t rape the slut she gave it up.” Here, he brags about being sexually promiscuous. Much worse is his contribution to rape culture in his implication that a non-consenting woman was actually consenting when he had sex with her. His comment that it’s like he’s “allergic to not fuckin” suggests that he is having difficulty controlling himself sexually (or that he is a sex addict and isn’t trying to control himself at all); combined with the line “I fucked ya bitch but I ain’t rape the slut she gave it up,” it comes across as a weak attempt at excusing himself from the rape, which is one of the most serious crimes anyone could ever commit. Cultural attitudes toward rape have contributed to the problem; often, women who accuse men of raping them are ignored or are told that it wasn’t really rape. Although alcohol consumption is bad and should be avoided, anything from a woman drinking alcohol to simply wearing “sexy” clothes is used as an excuse; the “well, she was asking for it” attitude is much too prevalent in today’s society.
These lyrics that objectify, invalidate, and dehumanize women are very destructive. Young people, who are the main target audience of rap music, are more prone to being persuaded by the implicit and explicit messages that song lyrics have. The mistreatment, abuse, and rape of women are all things that are encouraged by such lyrics. They encourage the cycle of abusive, harmful relationships to continue, as well as encouraging men to have sex with many women outside of marriage, which leads to single mothers struggling to raise their children. Music can influence people more than they realize, and harmful messages in lyrics can have a huge negative impact on society as a whole.