Response Due 11/12

November 11, 2009

Comment under assignments: Identify a quote or fact from each reading that surprises you, bothers you, or strikes you as particularly interesting. Write three sentences about why it is interesting, strange or puzzling or bothersome to you. Do this for BOTH readings. As best you can, connect the readings with your own media viewing/experiences.

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13 Responses to “Response Due 11/12”

  1. Katie Cato Says:

    In her article, Campbell makes the point that “booty dancing offers a site of potential liberation for women in which the parameters are corporeal rather than social” (pg. 506). I find that dance in general is a form of physical liberation, which can usually be considered a positive mode of expression. It is therefore sad and unfortunate that this particular type of dance, when observed culturally, has been reduced to having the negative connotation of something as confining as providing a “hegemonic pleasure that is produced by unequal power relations.” What could provide power and liberation to a woman is instead being associated with confinement, including such negative images as male dominance over a woman’s sexuality and the idea of a “hoochie” performing for her pimp. These associations derive mainly from the videos and images that are being produced by the artists of this genre, suggesting that if one is to dance this way, then they are fulfilling the ideas of this image. Thus no matter the dancer’s intention, she can no longer use this particular dance as a liberating experience due to the negative and somewhat demeaning associations that the mainstream hip hop culture has chosen to give booty dancing.
    Morgan’s argument that the solution to the problem of sexism and violence in the hip hop genre lies above discovering who is right and wrong is extremely refreshing because she calls upon society’s maturity to be big enough to find a solution rather than just complaining about the problems. She does not blame the actual culture of hip hop, which is so often the target of anger, but instead the culture in which hip hop reflects. The idea of “depression masquerading as machismo” provides a great deal of insight into the defense mechanisms that some artists commonly, creating so much hate and cruelty in their songs. Also, in terms of the issues of sexism found in many songs, it is so much easier to blame the artists and to demand that they change; however she offers the alternative solution of rather than leaving the future up to those men, to instead have women encourage the liberation and self-esteem of other women. However, internal insight and the helping of others, rather than laying blame is the opposite of much of the ideology heard from artists’ mouths, raising the question of how the start of this communal love suggested by Morgan will come about; yet, the suggestion within itself is a start.

  2. seychelle Says:

    The Campbell article describes the relationship between dance, music, and the commoditization of the hip-hop culture. “Bourgeois white women imagine themselves as black video chicks in order to borrow, temporarily and uncritically, the ‘sexual liberation’ that racist/sexist discourse constructs African-American women to possess.” White women do tend to dream of being in R&B and hip-hop videos. This is an interesting dynamic because booty dancing is not necessarily viewed in a respectful light. As Campbell states later, the hip-hop relationship destabilizes white racism but also reinforces it. White people seem to think they are included although only a few really are. Eminem is one, who is only accepted because of his ‘analogy to black oppression,’ his low-class upbringing.
    Fly-Girls, Bitches, and Hoes, focuses on the African American women who are most effected by the hip-hop culture. They recognize that rappers have degraded women through their music, although, they feel it is an unworthy battle to fight. “We can’t afford to keep expending energy on banal discussions of sexism in rap when sexism is only part of a huge set of problems.” In black communities, they have problems to cure that are larger than hip-hop music. In addition, Morgan also seems to recognize that rappers talk about women in demeaning ways in order to mask their own

  3. Tatiana Galli Says:

    In the article “Fly-Girls, Bitches, and Hoes: Notes of a Hip-Hop Feminist,” one quote that stuck out to me was “What passes for “40 and a blunt” good times in most of hip hop is really alcoholism, substance abuse, and chemical dependency. When brothers can talk so cavalierly about killing each other then reveal that they have no expectation to see their twenty-first birthday, that is straight-up depression masquerading as machismo.” I found this quote very strong in its meaning. It is interesting that the author of this article, Jane Morgan, found it frightening when she heard some of the these things, like drinking, partying, violence, etc, expressed in the lyrics of hip hop. I mean isn’t music a form of art, and isn’t art a way in which one can express their emotions and secrets. So why is this frightening to her? The lyrics expressed in this type of hip hop music, such as sample lyrics giving in the article, unlike many other music genres, is very straight-forward and “in-your-face.” In other music genres, the artist most likely will talk about similar issues in their songs; however, they will express these issues in a more metaphorical and drawn out way. For one who is just introduced to this type of music, it may be taken as a “shock” or seen as disturbing, but if one were to really think about it, it is somewhat admirable that the artist is capable of expressing such deep issues to the public. In the article “‘Go White Girl!’: Hip Hop Booty Dancing and the White Female Body, one quote that I find not surprising is “No matter how studied or exaggerated these women make their gyrations, these movements still say ‘ho’ because they are already codified by the pimpin’ discourse.” This quote is not surprising because since booty dancing, grinding, etc, has been consistently viewed as an extremely sexualized type of dancing throughout the media; the most common representation of a woman dancing like this is that of a “slut” or “ho.” When people see others, no matter what type of person they are, modest, outgoing, etc, dancing like this, they immediately think of that representation. Since this is the only depiction that is shown in the media, there is no other representation that individuals associate this dancing too.

  4. Eunice Heredia Says:

    In the article “‘Go White Girl!’: Hip Hop Booty Dancing and the White Female Body” by Melissa Campbell there is a section, where she brings up the way Black culture can identify with booty shaking or booty dancing.Campbell says in her article “Booty dancing raises issues surrounding sexuality and cultural ownership. It is theorized as a Black Atlantic cultural practice, with black politics; and it is valid to avoid uncritically ahistorically applying the work if American, British writers to an Australian context” This disturbed me by giving Black culture can only shake their butts without anyone saying anything that it is right for them to dance the way they are portrayed in music videos or even songs. There are other culture who have a background of dancing which can be sexual, yet they chose Black culture to portray “booty shaking” in other countries. There are other factors to take in consideration why they are chosen to be portrayed in such a way for the Rap and Hip hop industry chooses to portray them in videos this way. The way White females are seen when they are “booty shaking” is not right or not fit for their body for which they have to be curve to dance. The race of the female also takes a part of how they are seen when they are dancing, so there is a connection between the dance and race.
    In the article “Fly-Girls, Bitches, and Hoes” by Joan Morgan presents to us a hip hop feminist. She points out how hip hop has portrayed the female in songs and music videos. They are not portrayed as women who are treated with respect, though she brings up the point of meeting a women in the airplane saying she is sorry for her generation. Morgan says “After telling her I was twenty seven and very much single, she looked at me and shook her head sadly.”I feel sorry for your generation especially the women” Curious, I asked her why she thought this was.”The women of your generation, you want to be right. The women in my generation, we didn’t care about being right. We just wanted to win.” There wasn’t an actual fight in older generations they just wanted to win which does not make any sense. Women now a days want to be respected and not stuck behind a sink, yet they are not being portrayed correctly. Therefore, the way women are portrayed has changed throughout generations.

  5. Irene Ruiz Dacal Says:

    One of the ideas that interested me the most about Joan Morgan’s text was, “it would be infinitely more productive to address the failing self-esteem of the 150 or so half-naked young women who are willing, unpaid participants [in rap videos]” (156). I think that, as she says, merely analyzing and identifying sexist behaviours in rap videos is only going to lead to their identification and criticism. I’ve seen many rap videos in which women’s representation was nothing short of abominable, but it is always easy to blame the rapper and move on rather than look at the underlying issues. Morgan’s suggestion to look into and deal with women’s insecurities, to me, appears to be a more viable and effective technique than mere analysis. We need to look into why these women are willing to be represented in this way.

    In Melissa Campbell’s article, I was intrigued by her argument that “white women can subject themselves to the misogynist excesses of neo-pimpin’, and walk away unscathed” (504) through what she calls “irony.” I believe that her idea of irony derives from the notion of “passing”: a white girl can pass for a black girl for a night and then return to her white persona once she leaves the club, because she never really “meant” it. I think what this statement fails to do is look into the reasons why white girls are choosing to do this. Like Morgan suggests, I think we should look into why women find grinding or booty dancing appealing and what messages they seek to convey through their body language.

  6. Emily Sadler Says:

    In Campbell’s piece she writes: “When a white girl shakes her booty, is she colonizing black female
    bodies with her own, ironically performing both race and gender, or negotiating new spaces for her own sexuality?” (498). I found this question striking, seeing as how when white girls dance like black girls, their gender and race are both at question and being scrutinized. I feel that in most media representations of white girls who booty dance, there is a different kind of blackface going on through dance, that the white female might not recognize at first. In our culture and society who’s to say that someone cannot dance like someone of a different race or culture? I feel that a good deal of white females and males listen to hip-hop and rap music and they may be conscious that this isn’t their stereotypical “kind” of music, but rap and hip-hop have become a part of our pop culture and have assimilated across cultures. In Morgan’s article she writes: “Rap music is essential to the struggle against sexism because it takes us straight to the battlefield” (153). Many people that listen to rap music do not always listen to the words. Morgan writes about artists like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre whose music is particularly offensive to women and has sexist lyrics. The women who dance to this music, be it white or black, do not always think of the language used to talk about and describe women. Rap videos and rap music perpetuate women as sex symbols and they replicate this image again and again. Morgan has a right to be “frightened” by the lyrics she hears in this music. If our pop culture perpetuates these lyrics and radio stations play theses songs, the vicious circle continues and these artists continue making money off of degrading women in their music. You can’t take away these people’s voices, it’s their given form of expression, yet if something as popular as rap music continually puts down women, how far have women really come?

  7. Kaitlyn Says:

    The first quote is from the first article and is located in the section about Eminem. “More importantly, hip hop offers liberating possibilities for Eminem because his poor,
    Trailer-trash upbringing acts as an analogy for black oppression.” Melissa is suggesting the idea that because Eminem is white in a populated black community he is liked by blacks because he is poor, and reflects the trailer trash behaviors of a white man. If a rich white man got on stage and began rapping, would the black community continually boo him off the stage? Since Eminem is a poor white man, he is therefore liked?
    The second quote is from the second reading “As black women, we’ve got to do what any rational, survivalist- minded person would do after finding herself in a relationship with some- one whose pain makes him abusive. We must continue to give up the love but from a distance that’s safe.” Joan continually states that she is a black woman; any woman no matter what her skin color is should get out of an abusive relationship. The suggestion of making this a racial argument is not working well for her. Most of her issues are prompt by the black man behind the music or the black woman in an abusive relationship. A white man can smoke a lot of pot and write lyrics and a white female can be in an abusive relationship. She is trying to make her argument into a racial argument.

  8. Alicia Fischer Says:

    Rose argues that “roughly 70 per cent of hip hop album buyers are white, and an increasingly large percentage are women” (Cambell 503). This statistic shocked me. I was even more disgusted that more and more women are buying these albums. I admit that I love hip hop/rap music; however, I really make an effort to stay away from the songs that degrade women. This statistic demonstrates that many black Americans do not promote the degrading messages within hip hop music. This statistic also demonstrates that women help promote this negative image projected of women in hip hop music. They help encourage the negative stereotypes of themselves by continuosly buying this music.

    In Morgan’s article, she points out that “the real crime being committed isn’t the name calling but their failure to love us- to be our brothers in the way that we commit ourselves to being their sistas (Morgan 154). This quote really impressed me; I was impressed with Morgan’s accuracy of stating what the real problem is with hip hop music. It saddens me that black women seem to be so supportive of black men but black men are incapable of reciprocating. Perhaps if more women acknowledged this pressing issue and publicized it, black men would rethink how they behave towards black women.


  9. In “Go White Girl” Campbell quotes an outside source claiming that, “In many ways, white women can subject themselves to the misogynist excesses of neo-pimpin’, and walk away unscathed. While they do not necessarily view black culture as a pleasure resource to be mined, ultimately they can disavow their own sexually explicit dancing. Their whiteness shields them from the assumption of sexual availability faced by black women.” This means to say that white woman are less likely to be called a “slut,” “ho,” etc. based on their dancing. Since times of slavery, black women have been portrayed as more sexually available. This stereotype continues to be made prevelant in society today. If a black woman and a white woman were to dance in the exact same fashion, the black woman would be assigned derogatory terms based on her moves rather than the white woman.

    In “Fly-Girls, Bitches and Hoes,” Morgan says that “The seemingly impenetrable wall of sexism and machoism in rap music is really the mask worn both to hide and express the pain. Hip Hop is the only forum in which young black men, no matter how surreptitiously, are allowed to express their pain at all.” I find this quote saddening because while music is a great forum to express emotion, the hip hop industry has done it at a slight to women according to Morgan’s argument. Why does one gender have to express their pain by putting down another gender? This is almost complete betrayal considering that black young women are in the same fight as hip-hoppers and rappers. It almost seems as an old fashion case of bullying, you put someone else down so that you feel higher up. In this case, black rappers are putting down black women to make themselves feel superior.

  10. Brittany Fisher Says:

    In her article, “‘Go White Girl!’: Hip Hop Booty Dancing and the White Female Body” Melissa Campbell states, “Bourgeois white women imagine themselves as black video chicks in order to borrow, temporarily and uncritically, the ‘sexual liberation’ that racist/sexist discourse construes African-American women to possess” (503). I found this interesting and bothersome as to why white women would sexually diminish themselves by desiring the sexual liberation that these “black video chicks” are associated with. It’s unfortunate that they imagine and/or have the desire to poses these sexually degrading qualities that are often disrespectful, and that it’s acceptable in contemporary society to associate African American women as “black video chicks.”
    I find many of feminist Joan Morgan’s opinions to be over dramatic in her article, “Fly-Girls, Bitches, and Hoes: Notes of a Hip Hop Feminist.” She stated that, “Since hip hop is the mirror in which so many brothers see themselves, it is significant that one of the music’s most prevalent mythologies is that black boys rarely grow into men. They remain perpetually post-adolescent or they die” (155). Within the past decade, the hip-hop industry has exploded. Not only is the music appealing to young black boys, but also to some mature white men, women and myself. For Morgan to suggest that only all young black boys listen to all kinds of hip-hop and/or rap music, and that because of this they will remain immature adolescents or die is disgraceful and stereotypical to the contemporary African American race.

  11. Amy Slay Says:

    “Go White Girl! Hip Hop Booty Dancing and the White Female Body”
    “For Heather Bolejack (2003) the resurgence of pimpin’, despite African-Americans’ greater power in the music industry, is disappointing; proof that ‘some blacks still can’t get off the plantation.’”
    This sentence strikes me as a very strong statement. I was initially puzzled that imagery of “pimpin” within the music industry could be reminiscent of slavery. I always considered hip hop and R&B to be an expression of freedom just like any other music. After considering this notion; however, it now seems very apparent that the hip hop industry is made up of a hierarchy, and that while it is an extremely lucrative and popular industry, when broken down it revolves around the some of the same elements that slavery was (in this case being the objectification and sexualization of African American women).

    “Fly-girls, Bitches, and Hoes: Notes of a Hip-Hop Feminist”
    “Clearly, we are having a very difficult time loving each other.”
    Up until this point, our discussions in class have greatly revolved around whiteness versus otherness. This article brings into question blackness versus blackness. Before reading this article, hip hop and R&B singers had always come off as being very powerful, strong and self-assured to me. However, now I see the flipside to this: “rap music is really the mask worn both to hide and to express the pain.” Joan Morgan bemoans the schism between black men and women created by this pain and the only outlet in which that pain can be expressed: rap music. When I think of popular rap songs I know and how misogynistic they are, I know see them to be clear indicators and red flags, as opposed to just a genre of music

  12. Ari Lifschutz Says:

    “Go White Girl! Hip Hop Booty Dancing and the White Female Body”- This article had various veiws and statements but but a qoute by Bell Hooks(1993) really stood out to me. “They are not the still bodies of the female slave made to appear as mannequin. They are not a silenced body. Displayed as a playful cultural
    nationalist resistance, they challenge assumptions that the black body, its skin colour
    and shape, is a mark of shame.” I read her writing a few times and each time different amotions came to me. After reading what a few others wrote I could understand why this black booty identity in hip-hop could be seen as bad. However, on the other hand I see it as a sense of freedom. The dancers are letting loose and allowing there free bodies to shake with no shame and flaunting what they have. In my eyes it’s a sense of pride and not shame.

    “Fly Girls” – Although this article is quite long and had a lot of valuable information, one qoute really jumped at me. With regards to feminism and black culture, “It also maintains that black on black love is essential in both.” I understand that she says the black culture has been through so much with all black families and staying strong together, which is very true. At the same time though you talk about not being racist and being free, yet you only applaud black on black love. I find this statement contradicting after a lot of the previous statement. It makes me realize how no matter what people have thier views and want to stick to them know matter what message they are trying to send.

  13. Michelle Everst Says:

    ” ‘The bitch hoe bullshit,’isn’t personal but it’s part of the illness… we can’t afford to keep expending energy on banal discucssions of sexism in rap when sexism is only part of a huge set of problems.” I liked Joan Morgan’s argument in “Fly-Girls, Bitches and Hoes” about the content of hip hop lyrics. Although the immediate thought is that rappers are purely disrespectful to women it is clear that the lyrics stand in for deeper issues that trouble the performers. It is important for women to realize that there are floozies and that there are real women and that people (rappers incuded) understand the difference. This author states how important it is to keep esteem high among men and women; to make hip hop focus on positive content; and to keep the community supportive of one another.
    With that said, I found it interesting to read in “Go White Girl!” that one reason why so many white women like to shake their booties at hip hop is because they disregard the vulgar and demeaning lyrics and choose to view them ironically instead of sincerely. They are also socially “allowed” to dance like hoes but they walk away unscathed and they’ve been shielded from the assumption of sexual availability faced by black women (p. 504)I think this is a very large double standard but I already feel that way about most hip hop. Certain people can get away with things that others can’t and this is always prevalent with hip hop. Hip hop is both liberating and demeaning to women but I suppose it just matters how the listener categorizes it. These two articles point out a variety of ways that different women can and do identify with hip hop.


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