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bell hooks and gangsta rap

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In reading bell hooks’ opinion about sexism and misogyny I had to admit to myself that I had no idea what she meant by sexism and misogyny. So, to accurately know what she was referring to, I looked them up on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. For the word sexism, I found there were two meanings that support hooks’ ideas: 1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially: discrimination against women and 2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. The word misogyny, according to Merriam-Webster, is: a hatred of women. With these definitions, I feel that both words with their meanings truly expose what bell hooks is telling us what Americans, and it seems she talks about the black male Americans, think of the black female culture.

     In ‘Gangsta Culture…’ bell hooks tells us that the ‘patriarchal ways of thinking…are glorified in gangsta rap’ (116) and I think she’s right. Although I do not think she is right in all that she says in this narrative. She also says that ‘young black males are forced to take the heat for encouraging via their music the hatred of and violence against women…’ (116), and this I do not believe it completely true. She believes that the black men of America have taken themselves to a new degree in order to make themselves ‘higher’ than black women – she believes that the black men should be equal to the black women and that the men should believe that as well. She talks about Calvin Broadus a.k.a. Snoop Doggy Dog (which he later changed to the current title ‘Snoop Dogg’) and his album Doggystyle. She tells us that the cover is degrading toward black women, which it is, but not just to black women, to all women.

bell hooks shows us that black male sexism is real and it is in America’s music. She is correct, but it is not just against the white people of America. Snoop Dogg’s album is degrading toward the girl whose butt’s out of the doghouse, but it
was her choice for one; and for two, it’s not just black women he’s degrading on the cover. hooks is just placing blame on Snoop’s cover, but she doesn’t say much about his music, this is where the music of the gangsta culture comes to play.

In 1993, Snoop ‘Doggy’ Dogg put out an album entitled Doggystyle, and its front portrait is describing a form of male dominance toward the woman society and one of the dog’s is say...


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... doesn’t? Dr. Dre, Eminem, Fifty Cent…all at some point have referred to women as objects instead of WOMEN, but why single out just Snoop Dogg? Has he done something even worse than Eminem calling his own mother a whore? It’s just the music, they are just notes on a page and words from mouths. I feel bell hooks needs to do more digging because Eminem speaks worse of women than Snoop Dogg does, even though Snoop has the pictures and Eminem just has words.

bell hooks closes her essay by saying, “If black men are betraying us through acts of male violence, we save ourselves and the race by resisting.” (123) I believe in what she is saying, but she is one sided. Maybe she is just saying that we, as women, would rather be called just ‘girls’, ‘women’ or even ‘chicka’, but that is every woman, not just the black women. But, did she even think about the girls (black and white) that like to be paraded around like giraffes at a circus? Did she realize that she is just one person, as am I, and she can’t change the world she lived in? The world is cruel and evil and some of the men in it are just as nasty and immoral, but it’s our choice whether to live in the world…or in the circus.


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