Women’s portrayal in Hip Hop music videos

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  1. Rap music videos have the power to shape the image and status of women in society. Who says appearance does not matter? Indeed, we know that this statement has been proven false. Like it or not, women are some of our top advertising agents in the music industry. Over time, rap music videos have slowly influenced false perceptions of women. Most of the lyrics in hip hop music today consists of mentioning the size of women’s’ breasts or gluteus maximus’ instead of her beautiful personality or her intelligence. These perceptions misrepresent women in music videos and portray them as sex symbols or material objects which suggest they are powerless and submissive.


    A study done at McKinley Senior High School 2009 has shown that 67% of students feel that women are represented as sex objects in music videos. Eight- four percent feel as though there is more to a woman than her physical features but the media still depicts females as sexual objects. Women should not be portrayed as submissive people in need of protection and adoration in rap music videos; this is a false perception hurting the image of all women. In these videos, women wear extremely provocative clothing to appease the desires of males further implying the sex symbol stereotype.


    Although women are portrayed as sexual objects, some female rap artists are fighting to change the image of women in hip hop videos. Female rap groups and artists such as Salt n Peppa, TLC, Beyonce, Eve, Nicki Minaj, and Queen Latifah are making music to empower women and show their ability to support themselves. Songs like “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child and “Unpretty” by TLC have reversed the roles of women usually portrayed in music videos and show their strengths rather than weaknesses. These videos show women taking charge and being in control. Unfortunately, groups like these fade out and the only image that is left is the image of women being portrayed as sex symbols.


    Rap music videos displaying women and negative sex appeal are ruining the image that women fought as hard to earn. Women have advanced economically and professionally throughout the past decade. However, the media’s portrayal is affecting the self- esteem of younger girls in today’s society. As one survey concludes, "at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are "unhappy with their bodies." According to the Academic Search Premier, this number increases to 78% by the time young girls reach seventeen" with the help of the media’s negative depiction of females. Rap videos not only affect body image, but they also convey a mentality that all women are inferior to men. In a society that claims that we are all free and equal, there is an awful lot of influence in the media that concludes otherwise. One day, women may stop being looked at as inferior, and gain a better self-image if the media is willing to change a bit.

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