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Although misogynistic themes are nothing new to the music industry, rap music in particular has caused a significant uproar over the graphic lyrical exploitation of women in many of its songs. This study will focus on the sub category of rap that contains the most misogynistic themes; ‘gangsta rap’, a term accredited to ‘Niggaz with Attitude’, or ‘N.W.A.’ (Schneider, 2011, Pg. 45), and how the lyrics have the potential for detrimental effects on its listeners. However, although these effects exist, it is important to question whether censorship would have any substantial impact on our already misogynistic society, and whether it would actually stop the production of sexist music.
Gangsta rap normalises misogyny by glorifying the sexual objectification and abuse of women. (Mackinnon, 1993). The use of offensive terms such as ‘bitch’ were once severely frowned upon, but have now become part of everyday language. (Schneider, 2011, pg 45). Popular rapper Eminem makes reference to women as “vile, venomous, volatile bitches” in his song ‘Kill You’, sending the message that this type of message is ok (Weitzner & Kubrin, 2009, pg. 11).
Not only is misogynistic rap a form of hate speech, but it can gender roles and create stereotypes. (Johnson, 1993-1994, pg 26) Impressionable youths may hear lyrics encouraging male aggression towards women and act accordingly (Beatty, 2002). Male dominance is a common theme in rap music. Researcher Alex Dobkin claims that “some boys may not want to dominate, but feel they ought to, in order to measure up to the culture. And they’ve got the music to back them up” (Adams and Fuller, 2006, Pg. 952). The effect on young women can also be disastrous, as their self-worth may be compromised.
Studies revealed ...

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...sic industry and its producers to be the most ‘hard-core’ in order to increase sales and earn more money. Those who choose not to follow this are often not accepted into the industry (Weitzner & Kubrin, 2009 pg. 6). Because of this knowledge, we must question whether rap music is the source of the problem and whether it should be censored, or whether society’s fascination with misogynistic lyrics has a deeper cause. However if censorship were a viable option, it is one that should be taken as the promotion of these values is not benefiting the community, especially for women.
While ultimately it is almost impossible to censor rap music, it is still important that our society can recognise the damage that misogynistic themes may have on both men and women alike. Continual scrutiny of rap lyrics and their themes is essential to uncover its true effects on our society.

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