Hip Hop Feminism Essay

Pages: 4 (1170 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

PORTRAYALS of FEMALES in BOYZ N. The HOOD

Types of Female Characterizations:

While the 1991 film Boyz 'N the Hood is not about relations between the sexes or perceptions about the role of women in the American urban community, it does reflect several predominant themes that permeate Hip-Hop culture with respect to females. Specifically, even as ancillary characters, the film portrays women in three distinct ways, corresponding to commonly accepted delineations in the Hip-Hop community about women.

As is the case within the rest of the same genre of films and other mass media (i.e. music and videos), women are portrayed in the movie in one of three stereotypical ways: (1) "baby mamas," (2) "chicken heads," and (3) professional women. Those in the first category fulfill only the role of mother and contribute little else to their families or communities; those in the second category are either addicted to drugs or represent sexual objects rather than human beings to the men who use them for sexual gratification; and those in the last category represent an image of respectability in the form of the only types of females that men (and society in general) respect.

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Since 1991, relatively little has changed in so far as the degree to which those same characterizations still apply in the Hip Hop community. In fact, many observers suggest that the situation has only deteriorated further as a result of the continual social degradation of females throughout the various media and cultural elements of Hip Hop culture in the United States. Many males still subscribe to stereotypical beliefs and view females as necessarily falling into one of those three categories, which ignores female individuality even apart from the inherent lack of respect associated with two of the three predominant characterizations.

Gender Relations in the Movie:

Essay on Hip Hop Feminism Assignment

Some of the more subtle ways that males in the Hip-Hop community relate to women disrespectfully transcend even those specific characterizations, functioning as a barrier between men and women in general, even between men and those women they consider to be part of the most respectable category of women. Notwithstanding the excuse of immaturity, Tre Styles illustrates the relative lack of fundamental respect for females on the part of males by the way that he talks about his girlfriend Brandi.

On one hand, Brandi represents the same type of respectable working professional woman as Tre's mother, Reva. She is intelligent, responsible, studious, and dedicated to making something out of her life and accomplishing something meaningful through her academic studies. In that regard, Brandi represents exactly the type of women entitled to the highest level of respect from men. On the other hand, even though Tre is sincerely interested in her as potential future partner (and presumably, mother of his children), he speaks about pursuing sex with her very disrespectfully in the company of his male friends and refers to "running game" on her in conversations early on in the film.

While women like Brandi and Reva are afforded at least some respect by males in the Hip-Hop community, women like the crack-addicted "chicken head" in the street and the housebound drug addicted mother represent the opposite end of the spectrum. Brothers Rickie Baker and "Doughboy" illustrate the complete disdain and lack of respect for these women in the manner that they repeatedly ridicule the street addict and chastise the housebound mother to take better care of her unsupervised infant daughter. In these exchanges, the fact that both women appear to be their elders plays no part… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Hip Hop Feminism.  (2009, September 15).  Retrieved March 6, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hip-hop-feminism/25771

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"Hip Hop Feminism."  Essaytown.com.  September 15, 2009.  Accessed March 6, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hip-hop-feminism/25771.