Book: Gender Matters
Chapter: 8. Sexism and racism in music
This essay aims to examine the debates around the issues of sexism, particularly as they relate to the interpretation of misogynist lyrics in rap and hip hop. The lyrics of these songs are offensive to many women because of their use of terms like ‘ho’ and ‘bitch’ to refer to women, but it is important to try to analyse these lyrics in context, since there have been a number of campaigns within the right wing press and by politicians which have centred on the offensiveness of the lyrics of these songs. These attacks have bordered on racism and it is therefore important for feminists to consider very carefully their analysis of hip hop and rap, so that they understand the conditions of their production and the range of interpretations which are possible.