Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Media Project

Rap music is both loved and hated in today’s society. Rap crosses both racial and socioeconomic lines. Rap music videos consistently cause controversy for the sexual content and demoralization of women. Since rap music is highly sexual then it only seems natural that its music videos would also be hyper sexualized. Since women are objectified in the media it seems almost second nature to objectify them in everyday life. Rap music takes a lot of the blame for how women are objectified in today’s society. Nelly a popular rap artist came out with a song in “Tip Drill” ( http://www.myvideo.de/watch/839263/Nelly_Tip_Drill) 2003 that completely revolutionized hip-hop and the objectification of women.

By definition a tip drill is a woman that has a nice body, large breasts and a big butt, but has an ugly face. The chorus is:

I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't ya face

I need a tipdrill, I need a tipdrill

I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't ya face

I need a tipdrill, I need a tipdrill

I said if ya see a tipdrill point her out, where she at

Point her out, where she at

Point her out, there she goooooes

I said if ya see a tipdrill point her out, where she at

Point her out, where she at

Point her out, there she goooooes

The Video is full of half naked black women dancing around being groped by men. The video first aired on BET, the video was so controversial that BET began only airing the video after 2 am. The video tells young men that it is ok to judge women simply on their body and it tells young girls that men only want them for the bodies. This is a dangerous message to send to young impressionable girls, because they see a video like this and if they have low self-esteem and are not receiving attention from men they may try and present themselves like some of the girls in the video at an attempting to garner attention from men. Douglas talks about how the ideal body that young girls try to attain is that of a twelve year old boy with Pamela Anderson’ breast. In class we talked about how the “ideal body” differs from race to race. Women of color usually want a bigger butt where as white woman want bigger breasts.

enlightened sexism is more “virulent for African American woman because it intersects with the new subtle racism and with misogyny in some sectors of the black community.” (131) Douglas also talks about the wide range in which African American women are portrayed in the media. You have the half naked gyrating women in the tip drill video and then you have arguable the most famous woman on tv Oprah. Douglas argues that women who present themselves with sexual desires equal to those of a man, or simply a women proud of her body and not scared to show it off, no matter their intent they are giving permission for men to objectify them. While one may make the argument that the women in the tip drill video are making a desperate attempt to liberate themselves through their sexuality Douglas would say that they are just giving men permission to objectify them and call them sluts. Douglas even references the infamous Nelly video and talks about a particular scene in the video were a credit card is swiped down a woman’s butt. Douglas does not go into much detail about the video but she does talk a little about some of the backlash the video received. The women of Spellman refused to have Nelly on their campus unless he engaged in a dialogue about the sexist views portrayed in some of his videos. Many would argue that rap music videos have been detrimental to the experiences of young black women, however the severity of these effects are difficult to measure. It’s hard for someone who may not be socially aware to believe that these women are being mistreated, they may argue that they are being paid and are not forced to participate in the videos and actually have to audition to even be considered for a part.

Entertainers and rap artists are put in a difficult position. They obviously want to make money and sex sells. Men are the key demographic considered when making a music video. The men watching these videos do not want to see women in formaly dressed ball room dancing they want to see them in bikinis humping each other not to mention that in order to have a good music video the video has to somewhat coincide with the lyrics which are usually sexual. I think people sometimes get confused and blame rap for the objectification of women rap music did not create this notion of objectifying women however it does reinforce it. Rap music videos, glamorize the negative aspects of the everyday lives of black women and strengthen the stereotypes. The strengthening of the stereotypes in these music videos puts the young black woman in a box in which mainstream society views them.

There is not one clear-cut solution to this problem. However the blame should be more evenly distributed with some of it falling on the shoulders of the distributors of these music videos, who are often white. Women also need to step up and start refusing these roles in music videos or at least demanding some changes. It’s hard for men to not objectify women when you have women who willingly participate in these videos. In order to bring about a change I believe it has to start with women demanding more respect for themselves and then I believe this will have a trickle down affect affecting society in general and how men view

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