|By Dominique Mendez-Rose|
I decided to read, “Claiming Jezebel: Black Female Subjectivity and Sexual Expression in Hip Hop” by Ayana Byrd. I chose this article because the way that women are portrayed in hip hop is very upsetting to me. As a woman of color I am faced with the notion that women of color are only a sexual fantasy. I believe that because of hip hop that is why we are thought to be viewed in this manner.This is why I was intrigue to read this article to see someone else who had a similar viewpoint as mine and to discover what their take on it was.
Women in hip hop are desensitized to the rest of the population. These beautiful women of color are viewed as objects to obtained. This injures the vision of the hard work and the strength that accompanies women of color. The strength of women has been downplayed because of the frail assumption it makes. Byrd made a great point by stating " That Black Super Woman had emasculated black men, causing a fissure in the normal family setting". If our own black men don't hold us, women of color, to a level of honor how are we supposed to expect people outside of our race to do the same.
This begins to cause a rift of justice overall. There was injustice shown In the Tawana Brawley case, in which she had alleged a racist attack by white officers but was found by a grand jury to be lying. Also in a 1999 case where five white student athletes charged with sexual abuse and sodomy for sexually assaulting a Jamaican women in a frat house. However there was an acquittal due to the jury's desire to save the boys lives from "ruin". This statement enraged me to my core. In both cases you can see white privilege at its best. Automatically women of color are viewed in court as worthless. The article explains the injustice that has been placed upon women because of the views that women of color in hip hop are made up to be. Objectification of these women cause the ill expectation that all women of color should be treated the way that it is displayed in hip hop. The more women that are hanging from a rappers are the more power and privilege he is seemed to have.
Hip hop has made it easier to no longer look upon women as anything other than eye candy. These women fall into the false illusion that the epitome of success is to be viewed as a video model. However video model turned into video vixen which is loosely used and replaced with video hoe. The double standard of sexual nature that is placed upon the lyrical art for men is very different and is almost shamed for women. Just like the article implied that Lil' Kim reference to overcoming her fear of fellatio was considered to be me to be tasteless, however this is glorified by men and young women.
As a woman of color I have struggled to face many adversaries. I was faced with insults that I would never be pretty enough, smart enough or thin enough to make it in this world. Without having great support from my family, I may have just agree with them. I would have aspired to be sexy and do anything to assure that I was viewed in this aspect. I made the decision to continue my education after a seven year hiatus. Many of the younger generation don't view that has a goal to be proud of or even worthy enough to be accomplished. Their minds have been corrupted with the imagery of sexuality that is seen in the hip hop industry.