Hip Hop has been a realistic, disheartening, yet artistic reflection on our larger American culture with respect to male/female relationships. Misogynistic ideas and practices from the past have been passed down from generation to generation. Ideally, hip hop could be a valuable tool for men to explore core issues such as peer relations, self worth, discrimination, and gender relations in a way that will help men grow as individuals.
Instead exploitation of women in hip-hop culture and the glorifying of the life of a pimp has become an accepted part of the culture by both the artists and audiences alike. For young people who do not uphold sexist ideals, mainstream media and hip-hop may influence them to begin to do so, as it spreads and becomes more popular and commercialized. As a society, we are all responsible for directly and indirectly supporting an environment that allows sexism to continue and thrive.
This philosophy has helped shape the way not only some women view themselves; some have been conditioned to believe they have no control of their bodies, and in order to gain the desired control they must use their bodies to gain respect and material worth. Consequently, these women feel as if they must cater to the exploitative images of what they believe men want and think women should be.
Much of the sexual exploitation in not only hip-hop culture but also seen in mainstream media is accomplished with the consent and collaboration of women. We have female celebrities who have themselves been conditioned into believing they must compromise their own self-truths, self-respect, and kinship with other women.
What it comes down to is this: American society has created all kinds of patriarchal institutions, organizations and movements that have women in their ranks in a desperate search of their own individual power and intrinsic worth. As a community we are in dire need of healing.
Men must take ownership of the integral role they have played and continue to play in the objectification of women.
Women must find a collective voice and understand that an attack on one woman is an attack on us all.
Together, if we were to condemn woman hating as an enemy to our communities, hip-hop would be compelled to contemplate the culture as a whole and inevitably would produce some much needed radical and systemic changes. The challenge will be to discover the most effective and restorative forum for this to take place in.