I’m not really sure when it happened. When having sex and making love morphed into men bragging about their ability to “beat it up,” but I know one thing, it has got to stop.

Recently, one of my friends sent me a link to the blog post, “The Opposite of Sexy,” and he asked me what I thought about it.  When I began reading I found myself nodding my head in complete agreement.

The essay, written by frequent Clutch contributor Jamilah Lemieux, took a look at the ways in men (especially rappers) talk about sex. And how a lot of the time, it sounds more like abuse than lovemaking.

Lemieux writes:

“Hip-Hop is, as usual, one of the most guilty spaces. The titillating sexy suggestions of LL Cool J and the naturally seductive voice of Rakim have given way to a bunch of goons that promise to bust your pussy open and beat the stuffing out of it, after they see ‘what that mouth do’. While rough sex is certainly a fan favorite for many folks, there is still much to be desired when so much of our music centers around sex acts that almost sound hateful or abusive.”

As a hip-hop fan I have found myself cringing on many occasions when a rapper discusses his sexual prowess in ways that sound like he’s aiming to do harm to a woman, rather than pleasure her. While I don’t knock people who enjoy rough sex (hey, get your kink on!), I don’t want to feel like a man is trying to beat anything, especially my body, into submission.

I know some will write this type of talk off as just another example of the misogyny within hip-hop and say, “Well, I don’t listen to it, so I’m cool,” but we cannot pretend like what happens on wax isn’t trickling down to real life.

I’ve met plenty of men who have uttered such things—bragging that they could “beat it up” if I wanted—and they weren’t rappers. They were regular men who felt like “beating it up” was a come-on.

I briefly relayed my thoughts to the friend who sent me the link, and while he saw where I was coming from, he also questioned if it was a bit one sided. He wondered, if in my zealousness to amen Lemieux’s assertion, I let women off the hook for being complicit in such a vulgar exchange.

Our conversation reminded of the bit in Chris Rock’s show “Never Scared” in which he commented on his inability to defend rap music even though he still loved to listen. Rock discusses many of the questionable, anti-woman lyrics, and discussed his uneasiness with the songs (and his love for them). He then goes on to comment on women and rap music, adeptly summing up the ways in which many of us give rappers a pass for their questionable lyrics. He says, “Women that like rap, don’t give a fuck. If the beat’s alright, she will dance all night.”

I admit, I’m guilty. Even though I would describe myself as a feminist, I also love some of hip-hop’s most misogynistic songs. I’m often reminded of this whenever I hear Dr. Dre’s classic, “It Ain’t No Fun,” in which Nate Dogg sings of sharing a woman—excuse me, a “bitch”—with his homies.

I ask myself, how can I on one hand demand more from the music and brothas in real life if I’m effectively co-signing this school of thought by listening (and dancing) to the music?

Ladies, when we complain about the misogyny in music and say we want men to do better does this also mean we also have to begin to do better by not supporting artists who constantly talk of “beating it up” and treating our bodies like objects to be discarded after use?

 

What do you think, are women co-conspirators in the “beat it up” line of thinking that’s so prevalent today? Or should men just stop saying such things?

Let’s talk about it!

 

  • http://www.alaiawilliams.com AW

    As someone who listens to very little hip-hop – its the stuff like this that makes it even more of a turn-off to me. And worse is guys who take what they hear in these stupid songs and try to apply it in real life. Any guy who sounds even remotely like one of these rappers usually gets the silent treatment and the walkaway from me. Unfortunately, these men are overwhelmingly black. But if a white guy was obsessed with hip hop and came at me the same way, he’d get the same treatment.

    Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but I’ve never had any kind of successful relationship with a guy who even listed hip-hop as one of his top 3 genres of music to listen to (regardless of his racial/ethnic background).

    Granted, we’re adults and we should be able to separate ourselves from our entertainment – a lot of people somehow missed that memo. The message seeps in and people regurgitate what they hear – “beat the p***y up” “lady in the streets, freak in the bed”. Stupid materialistic possessions when you can’t pay your rent – get it together!

    And yeah, Chris Rock was right on with what he said. I can’t recall the song, but there was some stupid offensive tune a few years back, that was a HUGE hit – and you know women were driving that. I swore if I ever ended up in a club when that song came on, I’d take a pause and back off the dance floor. Even if no one noticed or knew why, I would know and that’s what matters.

    It’s like all the songs about cheating nowadays – its like every other song – and women croon along. I guess they imagine themselves at the hot other woman the guy is singing out. They are stopping to think that they could be the ones being cheated on. Sorry, I can’t support your apparent obsession with infidelity – unless you’re repenting. And rarely is that the case. “She don’t have to know” anyone?

    I’m not saying I’m 100% innocent all the time. Trust me, I do own a couple of tracks that I’d never admit to anyone. But I’m hoping one day, I’m able to click “delete.” And fortunately its so small a number, I can’t even give it a percentage of my total collection.

    But basically – We let a lot of things slide and when wonder how we got to where we are.

  • http://www.alaiawilliams.com AW

    I agree with what you said about Black culture. I often feel that a lot of black people will like anything a black person puts out – regardless of quality. Music, film, fashion, whatever. I’m sure it’s a solidarity thing, and maybe it’s because I grew up primarily with other cultures, but I won’t accept something just because someone like me made it. And yes, that has made me come off as a bit of a black-outcast at times.

    I have white friends that hate Madonna or Coldplay or any number of “white” movies out there. They don’t feel like they have to accept everything that’s put out by a white person just because they are white.

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