Popular culture

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A known people's culture or vernacular that is prevalent in the community at a given time is referred to as popular culture. Pop culture refers to the element of social life that is common among the general public. Popular culture is defined by how people dress, greet each other, use slang, eat, and communicate daily. The media affects popular culture (Katie and Anneke 5). The reflection of shared cultures, on the other hand, depicts the social distinctions between men and women. A close analysis of popular television shows, films, books, and music exposes a society that views women as passive. The paper analyzes the rap music and mass media construction of women and men’s sexuality and economic status that reaffirms and perpetuates traditional gender stereotype in the American society.

Mass Media and Gender

In the modern societies, is difficult to differentiate gender roles.In traditional societies, patriarchy defined the family models. The men were financial providers, independent, career-focused and assertive. On the other hand, the women were homemakers and low-positions workers. Today, the women have responsibilities and rights in the labor market (Tarrant 12). Feminist activities had a significant influence in improving the status of women through the liberation of the redefinition of gender roles. The liberal societies indicate that there should not be the feminine and masculine occupation. However, the female and male gender is still not equal. Many social institutions including the mass media still make use of gender stereotype with the assumption that that people understand gender roles.

Representations of gender in advertisement offer an opportunity for people to copy or react against the item on sale. Women in commercials are used in advertising the domestic and cosmetic products. The men advertise outdoor items and products such as cigarettes, cars real business products and investment. The masculine images are intended to portray virility, power, competitiveness, and athleticism (Katie and Anneke 5). The female images, on the other hand, convey nurturance, submissiveness, cooperation, and beauty. Men in the American society dominate while in other societies women dominate and are strong leaders. What the media set is problematic as people associate these images with each gender with certain expectations. The themes became a routine in popular culture including advertising and lead to general acceptance as the natural aspect of the human condition.

Rap music

Rap music originated in the 1970s in New York, United States. According to Evil, Pierre (2005) the rap music represented the voice and stories of the streets. The music told of stories about urban streets and low-income population in the U.S. Rap music is distinctive music genre today and is popular around the world. Initially, the Hispanic and African American formed the majority of the audience. Major themed include racism, discrimination in the society and oppositional culture. Other themes include critic of racial inequality and injustice and an endorsement of male supremacy over women (Zephaniah 1). The gangster-rap music played an essential role in lowering violent crimes in the 1990s. Rap music as part of popular culture is produced and controlled by the mass media entertainers and monopoly. However, the rap music raised the gender concerns ranging from the gender of the artist to how men and women are portrayed in the music video.

Since inception, the rap music was predominantly led by the male artist. It was male centered and led to oppression of the female gender. The rap music failed to forge a more egalitarian relationship between the genders but affirmed US culture of hierarchical gender arrangements. According to Fuller and Zephaniah (2013), the gangsta rap misogyny promoted glorified, supported, harmonized, normalized and justified oppressive ideas about women (1). Rap music objectified and demeaned African-American women as they were used as objects of abuse or sexual objects. In the end, the music posits that African-American women are disposable and useless compared to their male counterpart.

The television music programs play shocking music videos. Some of the music is very explicit and very demeaning to the women. The hip-hop artist floods the screens flashing money, cars, and naked girls. The music displays hegemonic power and inequality that is disrespectful to women and children (Levy 12). From Anthropologist perspective, the rap-music indicates the complete imbalance between female and male gender roles. The artists have control over the ladies surrounding them and are portrayed as sexual objects meant to satisfy men. The many videos have domestic violence, crime, and sexual innuendo. The men’s taglines indicate men should succeed and gain powers in the society.

Research indicates that many rap artists portray women in a negative manner. The rap music is influenced by the neighborhood condition, the music industry, and larger gender relations. The gender relations comprises of cultural valorization of particular masculinity (Benato 46). The hegemonic masculinity promotes that men are honored and women should be their subordinates. The subordination of masculinities remains normative through patriarchal family models and mass media production and other socializing institutions. The men’s use of emotional distance, physical force, virility and daring demeanor is common in mass media representation.

It can be argued that over the last three decades, the rap music contributed to the cultural resistance of feminism. The music genre contributed to blockage of efforts and progress towards gender equality thus resuscitates dominance by the men. The music becomes an ideological process that persuades the society that it is normal and hegemonic to have the heterosexual male supremacy. Rap becomes part of the backlash as it contains explicit lyrics (White 67). The songs justify activities that promote violence against African American women. Consequently, the popular music enjoyed by youth across races and ethnic groups have a significant effect on the perpetuation of gender inequality and gendered socialization. Rap artist in the music industry also participates in commercial advertising. The pressures from elites to earn more profits encourage edgy and provocative lyrics. The artist, therefore, has the encouragement become ‘hardcore’. Such artist would reject rejects artists going against this grain. The explicitness of the music is directly related the sale record sale in the market.


Feminists indicate that popular culture plays a critical role in societal patriarchy. The audience can fail to notice the construct and language associated with particular gender especially in modern rap music. Men want to continue dominating over the woman in wealth, power, and economic aspects. Women’s representation in the gangster rap affirms the stereotyping by the simple-minded leading to the domestication of females. The various forms of media such as movies, televisions, and cartoons perpetuate these stereotypes. The feminists have a diverse approach to popular culture. They assume that women have a different relationship in the popular culture. Secondly, the feminist assumes that the society needs to understand the working of the popular culture for women to gain control of their identities. Subsequently, the women can alter the social relations and social mythologies between men and women.

 Work Cited

Benato, Rosa. "Katie Milestone and Anneke Meyer, Gender and Popular Culture." Feminism & Psychology. 23.2 (2013): 262-264. Print.

Evil, Pierre. Gangsta Rap. Paris: Flammarion, 2005. Print

Katie Milestone and Anneke Meyer. Gender and Popular Culture. Routledge, 2017. Print.

Levy, Ariel. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Collingwood, Vic: Black Inc, 2010. Print.

Tarrant, Shira. Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and between the Sheets in the 21st Century. , 2015. Internet resource.

White, Miles. From Jim Crow to Jay-Z: Race, Rap, and the Performance of Masculinity. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Internet resource

Zephaniah, Benjamin. Gangsta Rap. , 2013. Internet resource.

August 09, 2021

Sociology Culture



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