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A Short Essay on: "Girls in the Hood."

Girls in the Hood
            During this week we read materials on Girls in the Hood from the works of Bell Hooks entitled: Outlaw Culture resisting representations associated with the gangsta culture.  She brilliantly discussed some of the crucial and significant themes of the gangsta rap culture that is so negatively viewed and portrayed within the context of the mainstream American ‘white supremacist system’, which has long marginalized people of color and other ethnic minorities and how these processes alienate, isolate and violate the rights of black females. She also critique the gangsta rap culture and provided substantial evidence that this phenomenon is a direct result of the long historical development of the dominant white supremacist society that has kept people of color at the margins of the American society and how young black males see gangsta rap music as a social platform to expressly and vocally state the hatred, isolation and denial they have been indoctrinated to grow up in.
Furthermore, she asserts that the media and film industries play significant roles in creating these gaps and reinforcing these perspectives. That is, most of the media entities in the United States of America are dominated by white supremacists that only care about their own benefits and the benefits of the people of their race. She asserts that black young males and sometimes females gangsta rappers use their music to unveil these deep social issues that are embedded within the dominant white culture. She argued that white supremacists use the media to attract attention by focusing on the negatives of the gangster rap culture, but fails to explore those deep social and cultural issues that underpin gangsta music. Gangsta rap is part of the popular culture and it is not isolated of itself. It is a way of expressing and medium through which young black males and females express deep issues of hate that has been historically and culturally developed in the midst of the white supremacist dominated culture most especially in the United States.

Reflection Questions

Group 2

1.     Taking the idea that the discursive construction of the critique of gangster rap strategically misconstrues its political context, hooks asks an important feminist question about the intersection of race and gender. How can we extend this idea to the ways in which asking feminist questions visibilizes and therefore politicizes things previously normalized by hegemonic discourses?

2.     While male gangster rap is normalizing to hooks, Pough sees female gangster rap as subversive and bringing wreck. Does this binary construction necessarily create the conditions to dismiss their arguments, or asking this question differently, what sort of a conversation about 'wreck', as a rhetorical act of resistance by the marginal, would emerge between hooks and Pough?

3.     Does the misogyny that is represented in "gangsta rap" normalize the objectification of women?  Does this then breed the young people that listen to "gangsta rap" to think women are objects, rather than equals?

4.     In the article "Girls in Hood", there is a lot of discussion of the depiction and representation of the black woman. Melissa Harris-Perry discusses that black women are categorized within three main stereotypes: the hyper-sexual Jezebel, the devoted mammy and the outspoken, angry Sapphire. To add to this, is the stereotype of bourgeoisie sister, the baby mama and the fast-talking, outspoken woman from the Boyz n the Hood. Where do you think these stereotypes have appeared from and what do you think are some of the reasons for why black women either choose to embody these stereotypes of challenge them?

Group 1

1.     How can we construct "check yourself before you wreck yourself" in feminist speak? (thinking of reflexivity, positionality and intentionality as essential feminist ideas). Also, how do these ideas relate/stray from the notion of 'saving' that Pough speaks of?
2.     Do you think misogynistic attitudes would still be as present with out "gangsta rap" in popular culture?  
3.     In the "Gangsta Rap" article, they talk about the violence and objectification of women in the lyrics and video similar to that of the movie "The Piano" yet the latter didn't receive the same criticism. What do you think of the argument that gangsta rap is simply one of the ways that the black community are meeting the demands of white patriarchal demands? And is there inherent racism in the way that the movie the Piano is reacted to versus gansta rap or is there a difference? Lastly, are the arguments that gansta rap is corrupting the youth comparable to previous generations' argument about rock n roll and therefore is a passing phase, or is there more legitimacy to it? Do you think other genres of music objectify women in the same sense that "gangsta rap" does?  
4.     One of the ways of re-asserting Black womanhood is through wreck. Yet it seems to be speaking to a power that is demonstrated through black manhood. Other black artists' assertion of black womanhood has also been through aligning themselves to black manhood like Beyonce's lyrics of diva "a diva is a female version of a hustler" and Nicki Minaj's lyrics of roman revenge "I am not jasmine, I am Aladdin." Do you think the only way to reassert power of black womanhood is through aligning oneself to male characteristics or are there other examples that black womanhood has been asserted? 


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