Hip-hop culture is rather a new genre of music. It appeared in America in the 1970s and was considered to be the male style of music till the 1990s when women attempted to compare with men and succeed. Since that time hip-hop culture is considered to be both male and female genres of music. It is impossible to say which of them is dominant as they both supplement hip-hop music by their individual point of view and differences put by nature.
Hip-hop feminism increases every day. “Feminism deals with the reality of heterosexual desire” (Pough 2007-160). It is rather difficult to be a female of the hip-hop generation and culture, and especially to start this movement as feminism in hip-hop culture is rather a young movement. Feminism and womanism in rap and hip-hop lyrics received their development between 1976 and 2004. (Pough 2007)
The role of women in hip-hop culture is great, especially if to take into consideration lesbians and their contribution to the past and present hip-hop cultures. Their lifestyle differs greatly from the styles of life of other women who do not belong to the lesbians (Pough 2007).
The lesbians are considered as something non-percept but it is an essential part of feminist hip-hop culture. Women do not hide it, it is the part of their style which they show to others to create some vision of difference, to show their uncommonness, and crate the style of individuality as the part of their own hip-hop culture.
Most women in the feminist movement “must concern themselves not only with hip-hop performance and communication inside the culture but also with how hip-hop is perceived and consumed by the audience with various tolerance levels for the transgressions on hip-hop moral record” (Jeffries 2007-217). Female hip-hop is perceived as something different from the male hip-hop culture, but it is a wrong perception as all that is part of on hip-hop genre.
We want to underline one more time “the problem with the social statements that many popular contemporary female artists, like Lil’kim and Destiny’s Child, make is that they fail to acknowledge or assess critically the exploitative structure of capitalism” (Humann 2007-98). Females in hip-hop are considered as something strange and unusual, as something new. Women were always involved in the hip-hop culture but only recently they decided to struggle for equality with men, to share the glory in this music genre.
“Hip-hop feminism is a socio-cultural, intellectual and political movement grounded in the situated knowledge of women of color” (Durham 2007-306). Non-white people have always been thought to be the best performers of the hip-hop culture. It may be said that they take a privileged position in the hip-hop structure among the other people.
Women are in the hip-hop culture for a very long time. It could be considered that they have already assimilated with males, but it would be a wrong conclusion. Shawana Worsley agrees that “female struggle takes place anytime anywhere and any female or male resist sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (2007-275).
The struggle continues. Men do not want to perceive the fact that the movement of female hip-hop has already been settled in the hip-hop culture, that women are accepted here. Men want to dominate, they do not want to share the dominant position with women, and they continue to struggle to be the first, to be the only leaders in the genre.
Women do not consider the sex struggle as the dominant, privileged mission. The term is usually perceived as anti-male, but it is wrong. Women do not want to dismiss men from the industry of hip-hop culture; they just want to become its deserved part, equal part, which is very important. Women do not want to be the “tale”, do not want to stand behind: their aim is to create on one and the same level as men. They just want to compose music, to carry it to the audience, and to enjoy the work they do on the same level as men. There is nothing provocative or injuring here.
The hip-hop culture influences the young generation of the whole world in the subjects of sexual, racial, and gender understanding of life. The male and female hip-hop cultures differ only in the way of presentation. The aims and goals are equal, so why it is necessary to continue the struggle ‘of sexes”, as both directions of one genre may exist not separately but united.
The aim of fail feminism is just to be on one level with men, to show their ability to be not worse, and sometimes even better than men (we mean the body movements and the very performance according to the music style).
So, feminism in hip-hop culture is not provocative. Women just want to be on the same level as men and their desire is well-taken. Women, like men, work hard to receive the glory and recognition of the audience, so why men cannot perceive women as equal in the industry, which they both started to develop about forty years ago.
Durham, Aisha “Using [Living Hip Hop] Feminism: Redefining an Answer to Rap” Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Parker Publishing LLC, 2007.
Humann, Heather. “Feminist and Material Concerns: Lil’Kim, Destiny’s Child, and Questions of Conciousness” Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Parker Publishing LLC, 2007.
Jeffries, Michael, “Re: Definitions: The Name and Game of Hip Hop Feminism” Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Parker Publishing LLC, 2007.
Pough, Gwendolyn D. Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Parker Publishing LLC, 2007.
Worsley, Shawana. “Loving Hip Hop When It Denies Your Humanity: Feminist Struggles and the Source”. Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. Parker Publishing LLC, 2007.