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The Feminist Dilemma of Rap

Posted on the 27 June 2012 by Juliez
The Feminist Dilemma of Rap

Can I listen to Lil Wayne and still call myself a feminist?

Lately, I have been struggling with music — specifically, rap. I am an African-American girl and rap is very popular not just in my culture but in my own family. I recently realized that the struggle I feel is not just about the rap itself, but the way of life that goes along with it, in which degrading women is not just accepted but actually praised. Getting “pussy” is the goal and rap describes the actions required to accomplish that, including manipulation, drugs and alcohol. Rap music makes me feel dirty, as if it has been a few weeks since I bathed or, more accurately, as if egotistical, misogynistic leeches have began to suck my blood.

But then why can’t I stop listening?

Day after day, I sit in the car with my sister listening to this shit. I comfort myself with the explanation that I enjoy the beat. I like how the bass seeps through the car stereo and bumps against my leg. I enjoy the overall sound of the music. But that’s not the whole truth. Not at all. I have lied to myself for long enough.

It is time for the truth.

I actually do care about what my family and friends think of me. I act as if I am the perfect teenager — confident, independent, and intelligent — but I really just crave what everyone else does: acceptance. But the problem is that when I sing along to those songs in order to fit in, I hate myself for it and still don’t feel like I belong.

I question if I can even listen to this music at all and call myself a feminist. When I decided to label myself a feminist I did so because I woke up to the reality of the world we live in and the blatant attacks on women that occur every day. But how am I standing up for that cause if I listen to music that adds to those attacks? I want to fit in, but not by going against my values. I thought I knew who I was but I am not so sure anymore.

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