Female Rappers: Empowering or Disempowering?

Edgy sex talk, voluptuous females, revealing attire... welcome to modern hip hop.

While crude hip hop has always been counter-cultural and raunchy, it’s vulgarity has compounded over the years.

Since the birth of hip hop, men have dominated the rap kingdom. But recently, female rappers have entered the scene. Similar to their male counterparts, female rappers have purchased a ticket on the hypersexualized hip hop train.

The destination is unknown but highly opinionated. Some say that female rappers are feminists who encourage “girl power”. Others say that these female rappers are destructive and their hypersexual presence is self-degrading.

So what are they: an empowerment or a disempowerment to listeners?

Take Nicki Minaj for example - a female pioneer in hip hop…

Firstly, she opened the door for other female rappers to enter a mostly male-dominated industry. Secondly, she emphasizes how it’s a privilege for men to be with a woman, not the other way around - displaying her femininity in an empowering way. And thirdly, she voices all this in interviews, on social media, and of course, in her music, urging how females need to recognize their self-worth. Assumably, she genuinely wants young females to take control.

Conversely, others say Nicki perpetuates female objectification. She uses her sexuality for profit as evident in her near-nude attire, the sheer amount of times she flaunts her body, and the way she yammers about her genitalia. She fuels the stereotype that a woman's value is her body.

Following in Nicki’s footsteps, the hip hop scene has welcomed some big stars such as Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Mulatto, Saweetie, and Rico Nasty.

Nonetheless, Cardi B’s and Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song, “WAP” was the 2020 female anthem.

Much like the argument in support of Nicki Manaj, the “WAP” song is a beacon of inspiration for other female listeners who are tired of being pushed around by men. This song uplifts female sexual power, urging that females should be the “bosses in bed”.

Although some interpret “WAP” - its lyrics and music video - as a medium for female sexual power, many others see it as females selling their bodies and feeding the notion of female objectification.

But what ticks some people off is that male rappers have been doing the same thing.

Apparently, there is a double standard because when men rap about their sexual pleasures it’s egged on, but when women do it is “unholy” and “disgusting”.

The truth is, there is unequal footing inherent in most facets of life when it comes to male and female standards, rights, and opportunities whether that be in the workplace, at home, in Hollywood, or in the music industry. Females are just not placed on the same level as men, and while it’s disappointing, it’s true.

Male rappers are allowed to be blatantly sexual and misogynist (and they are) because they are men, and that’s how it’s always been. While women, on the other hand, must pay the price for, not even being disrespectful to men, but flaunting and rapping about their own genitalia.

Hopefully, female rap can rise up and inspire millions of young girls out there but, twerking on camera and rapping about your body may not be the best way to achieve that.


Works Cited

  1. https://www.theperspective.com/debates/entertainment/nicki-minaj-empower-objectify-women/

  2. https://ewn.co.za/2020/08/21/analysis-wap-a-smash-hit-that-exposed-the-fear-of-sexually-liberated-black-women

  3. https://theface.com/music/female-rap-alter-egos-beyonce-sasha-fierce-nicki-minaj-megan-thee-stallion-rico-nasty

  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/22/arts/music/nicki-minaj-queen-tour-cancel.html

  5. http://www.introlyrics.com/wap-cardi-b-ft-megan-thee-stallion/

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