Thomas Morgan, Ph.D.
This paper was conceived from an interest to apply my understanding of race and gender to a genre I love: hip-hop. Hip-hop began as a socio-political genre and as a means of advocacy via its ability to mobilize listeners toward social change. As hip-hop became more popular, its recognizable features were taken and appropriated for mass production and consumption, applying economic pressure to severely obstruct its original purpose and function. Yet, hip-hop continues to lay claim to being an important artistic genre through artists’ innovative adaptation of form and the presence of deeper political critiques. While these social critiques have predominantly focused on matters of race and class, a long-standing history of feminist challenges exists within hip-hop as well. Since gendered oppression occurs on a global scale, pervading all facets of society, hip-hop not surprisingly reflects the dominant culture’s sexist values. Some female hip-hop MCs, however, have been able to challenge the sexist culture of the industry and establish a hip-hop feminism; albeit the large-scale commercialization of hip-hop makes it especially difficult for women’s voices to be heard in a political context that runs counter to pervasive patriarchal structures. I contend that female hip- hop MCs take specific feminist interventions in conjunction with the manipulation of gendered language in order to assert a feminist voice within the particularly sexist industry of hip-hop. Specifically, I take up a radical feminist understanding to argue the effectiveness of interventions that create actual change versus remaining complicit with masculine power.
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English Language and Literature
Thompson, Kylie, "When Feminism Meets Hip-Hop" (2018). Honors Theses. 192.