Existing while being a woman: Attempting (and failing) to reconcile my love for Rap music and feminism

If you have read my blog or have know me in real life you are probably aware that I consider myself a feminist.

Something i’ve always struggled with is reconciling my taste in music with my feminist awareness. If you read my previous post on my favourite songs of the last couple years, a lot of them are of the “rap” music variety. Classified further into the “trap music” and “gangster rap” varieties.

If you are not familiar with rap music (if this is the case, how are we acquainted?) then I will let you know that most rap songs aren’t usually prime examples of feminist music. They actually are better classified as some of the most misogynistic music out there. Calling women b*tches and other derogatory terminology, referring to them purely as objects of sexual desire, even the occasional blasé reference to sexual assault. Yep, Rap music is part of the culture of rape that I constantly refer to. And yes by listening to rap music and spending my money on their albums I am in fact complicit in the proliferation of rape culture through music.

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I constantly try to spin it in a way that eases my conscious like: “Jayceon respects women in real life and his love songs are his TRUE feelings.” or “You need to be like that to be popular in the rap industry.” But really it’s undeniable that there are no excuses for listening to and implicitly supporting this kind of music that is so clearly anti-feminist.
So I’m working on supporting more female recording artists, but there is still the whole problem of listening to misogynistic rap music. To be honest, I don’t know what I am going to do about it. Currently I can’t imagine not listening to Chief Keef and the Game. (Sidenote:  I also like rappers such as Black Milk, Slum Village, Lords of the Underground, I think I have well-rounded rap taste.) Right now I will be content on crusading against misogyny in every other area of my life while being slightly hypocritical in this area. Hopefully in the future, this hypocrisy won’t be necessary because rappers will have moved on from being misogynistic a-holes in their music.

Further more, I usually don’t pay much attention to female artists. My best friend Zineb and I were discussing how most of our favourite musical artists are male. So we both have started listening to more female artists. I have discovered my love for female rapper Angel Haze and R&B singer Elle Varner. But I am still on the search for more female artists I can fall in love with. I want to support female recording artists as much as I support their male counterparts.

Until then, the struggle continues.