• [In] a recent survey of 116 U.S. cities, there was an average of 42 tanning salons per city. This means that tanning salons are more prevalent than Starbuck’s or McDonald’s.

    Paige Goedde
  • Males today have become much too obsessed with maintaining a masculine image in order to be constantly climbing higher on the social ladder

    Sarah Pierce
  • If the TV industry really wants to give these teens hope, they need to portray gay teens as they are—uncertainty and all. 

    Ashley Davidson
  • If we were all to just put down our devices for a short while and pull our eyes away from our phones and television screens, we might save some lives, treat everyone a little nicer, pay attention to the things that really matter, and succeed more in schoolwork and in life.

    Jillian Leedy
  • Pro-life supporters believe those who are pro-choice think that fetuses are not human, while pro-choice supporters actually think that fetuses are not human beings, a distinction that clearly needs to be made and clarified. 

    Todd Testerman

Hip-Hop: The False Advertisement of Women

By Brandon Albert

Generation after generation, music has revolutionized cultures around the globe. Every generation goes through a trend of music that greatly inspires that specific era on what to wear, how to act, and what to say. Music is something that everyone can connect with and as it continues to evolve, so will society. There is one genre that has continuously stirred up conversation and sparked many debates regarding the direction it is taking its listeners. Only one genre has had the gumption to speak out against the government on a regular basis. Only one genre has found a way to make every other genre cater to its style and inescapable appeal. Since the 1980’s, hip-hop has changed the way people think, but not always in a positive manner. It is clear that hip-hop has been a trend setter and has guided our culture over the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, corporate sales have taken over the content of hip hop music, motivating artists to take different approaches to selling music. Nowadays, popular rap music includes derogatory lyrics about women and videos typically showing women half-naked with the intentions of obtaining more listeners and viewers. Unfortunately, sex sells in our society, and the media has uncovered this fixation. Hip-hop has convinced a large portion of society that this is how women should be treated, but new times call for new measures and it is time that the people recognize and give women the respect that they truly deserve.

In the rap world, women represent success, and they are treated almost as accessories: a means for rappers to prove that they have made it to the top. It is not that rappers feel that women are inferior, but they feel treating women like a collector’s item is how they should go about displaying their new-found success. Artists always try to have the hottest girls in their videos which makes other people, predominantly young men, think “Wow! They are definitely living the good life!” The purpose of this façade is to simply make money, but rappers do not realize the extent to which their music is affecting the younger generations. When children watch television and see someone throw money in the air, with lots of cars and women, that image is stored in their minds as the definition of success. They begin to nurture the idea that in order to achieve success, you have to have beautiful women by your side. For example, in a song entitled “Successful”, artist Trey Songz says “The money, cars, clothes, the hoes…I suppose…I just want to be successful.” The chorus of this song is a perfect example of the mentality that artists relay to their listeners. After the community hears the same message repeatedly, it should be no surprise that kids will start to repeat this behavior, causing a chain reaction.

In the beginning, women were hardly mentioned in lyrics and videos. If you look back at the RUN DMC days, Reverend Run and the gang always rapped about different life experiences. Hip-hop was fun, refreshing, and new. There are a lot of innovative artists that are still keeping hip-hop fresh and exciting such as Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, and Lupe Fiasco. For example, in a song entitled “Hurt Me Soul,” Lupe Fiasco says “ I used to hate hip-hop... yup, because the women degraded . But Too Short made me laugh, like a hypocrite I played it. A hypocrite I stated, though I only recited half omitting the word "b****," cursing I wouldn't say it. Me and dog couldn't relate, until a b**** I dated. Forgive my favorite word for hers and hers alike, but I learnt it from a song I heard and sort of liked.” Lupe expresses his concern for the current state of hip-hop and through his music he is continuing to spread the message in order to influence each and every listener.

In the beginning, capitalism had not sank its claws into the heart of rap, but as the years progressed, women began to show up more and more in videos because that is what the public wanted to see. Due to commercialism, hip-hop has sold out women in efforts to attain more recognition. Looking at the majority of songs that have been on the Billboard’s Top 100 List, it is evident that this is the case. Songs like Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and Ludacris’ “What is Your Fantasy” attest to the idea that sexual content is often the cause of higher sales. Catchy songs like these are the reason that society has learned to accept false impressions of women and it is crucial that society joins together in order to put an end to this type of thinking.

How do the women feel about their image in the media? It is safe to assume that many are outraged at the fact that they are being portrayed in a derogatory manner. Considering hip-hop consists of mainly African-American artists, a lot of the women featured in the videos are African-American. The average African-American woman is affected by hip-hop culture the most because there is a direct correlation. When people see African-American women dancing and strutting in the videos, a lot of people form a general idea about them and believe that all African-American women behave in that manner. When young African-American girls see these women in videos, they become negatively influenced by what they see. This is exactly how false images are spread throughout the community. Television has even taken notice and uses hip-hop as a means of reaching out to viewers. For example, shows like Flavor of Love are a product of what the media has generated from the rap influence. The show is extremely disrespectful towards women, depicting several women fighting to be with one famous man. It’s almost as if society thinks it is okay to treat women in this manner, since it is justified in many songs and other forms of media. Hip-hop has almost made it okay for people to talk about women with such disgraceful terms. It is time the community recognizes what is going on and does something to change the perception of women to a more positive and uplifting image.

On paper, women are perceived as equals; however, the media has continued to work against this idea through different outlets, such as music. Hip-hop has changed the faces of women in the community from a more positive image to a more negative one. As long as the community allows the industry to put out these videos and sing these songs containing these false messages, we will not change our ways. We must recognize what is occurring and put an end to it before it gets too far out of hand. As shown throughout history, our actions will have an effect on the outcome of the situation, which is why it is crucial for everyone to put an end to the problem at hand. As a hip-hop fan, I am not asking you to put down your headphones, turn off your television, or stop downloading music from your favorite artist. As an advocate of hip-hop, I am solely asking you to think about what you are listening to. Supporting the artists that are out there putting out positive messages and making good music is the only way to end this problem. In a commercially focused business, it is essential that we support these artists by purchasing their music. Help make their music be heard and in return we can we can take hip-hop to another level.

The Ohio State University

Winter 2009

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