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Women in Hip-Hop Magazines

In: Social Issues

Submitted By blaine
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Hip-hop began as a form of African-American street culture in New York City during the 1970s (Watkins, 2001), but the art has expanded to become a multi-billion dollar industry (Atkinson & Halliday, 2003), mostly due to the success of rap music, the most widely publicized and marketed aspect. Media such as television and magazines are responsible for hip-hop’s global recognition today, allowing everyone from the United States to Germany and Korea to embrace the culture (Bennett, 1999). Hip-hop culture has made an enormous transition from its beginning stages to its current state. Early hip-hop reduced inner-city gang violence, as aspects such as the break dancing and rapping acted as positive outlets for at-risk youth, but the emergence of “gangsta” and commercial rap during the 1990s severely lessened the emphasis on non-violence (Watkins, 2001). Today, media associate hip-hop culture with drugs, sex, and violence (Yousman, 2003).

This research paper will analyze advertisements in hip-hop magazines, with the aim of discovering how women are depicted. Specifically, this paper will examine how the majority of advertisements within three major hip-hop magazines in the United States depict women in a manner that both reinforces male dominance in American society and depicts women as sexual objects. This paper will also explain and demonstrate how the media images are functioning according to Professor George Gerbner’s cultivation theory.

Several scholarly sources deal with hip-hop culture and gender biases, as well as the media that stereotype females (Baileyl 2006; Bennett 1999; Boyd 2004; Dixon & Linz 1997; Grossberger, 2003; Jones 1997; Keyes 2000; Rubin, West, & Mitchell 2001; Watkins 2001; Yousman 2003). Keyes (2000), for example, discusses black female identity in the context of rap music. Females are portrayed in the media as having been absent from the...

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