Sample Communications Paper on Hip Hop Feminism
A recent academic article that deals with hip hop and feminism is one titled Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity. It was written by Kalle Berggren of Uppsala University, Sweden in 2014. Berggren’s primary position or argument is that hip hop has slowly grown into a worldwide genre over the years, and it has commonly been associated with race and class-related issues. Berggren states that recent research on “hip hop feminism” has shown that the categories of sexuality and gender are no less fundamental (233). Unlike in the U.S., hip hop research in the international context reveals the absence of questions about gender. In fact, in regions such as Europe, little is known about the role and how gender norms are challenged and negotiated in hip hop. Berggren asserts that gender, especially masculine norms, are central to hip hop in countries such as Sweden. In most cases, the hip hop subject revolves around black men to the extent that a female hip hop artist who is white and a mother may appear as a “paradox” (234). In recent times, however, female hip hop artists have challenged the masculinity in hip hop. According to Berggren, hip hop has seen a rise in questions about gender politics and women’s presence, conditions, contributions, as well as strategies, and this is what is referred to as “hip hop feminism.” Berggren maintains that hip hop feminism has been supported by issues such as inequalities of class and race that are often considered central to male hip hop artists. I firmly support Berggren’s position that inequalities of class and race have played a significant role in the growth of hip hop feminism.
In support of his claims about hip hop feminism, Berggren gives examples of Swedish female hip hop artists who manifest inequalities of class and race. For instance, Berggren gives an example of Melinda Wrede, who through her rap songs, gives a description of a broad range of experiences such as poverty, running out of money despite working hard, eviction from homes, rejection by the social services, and being treated “like dirt” (237). Berggren goes ahead to mention that Melinda Wrede’s rap songs portray the mentioned experiences as something the wealthy people do not see despite them being real to many people. Through hip hop feminism, Melinda Wrede shows how class inequalities can result in frustration among people where they may just want to scream and how these inequalities can pave the way for political consciousness where people take from the rich to share equally. Hip hop feminism is a mechanism through which racial and gender discrimination are fought in society. In this line, Berggren gives an example of an artist, Feven, who uses hip hop feminism to alleviate racial discrimination. Feven’s rap songs describe concrete discriminatory situations where white people have no problem entering clubs and other entertainment joints whereas non-white persons are stopped and have to show membership cards to get similar access. Berggren outlines some of Feven’s rap lyrics such as “something’s not right here, there’s something you don’t say” (237). Other feminist songs by Feven reject gender-only feminism and highlights racism among women. Berggren believes that Feven and Melinda Wrede are staunch hip hop feminists who play a crucial role in championing for women’s rights in society such as standing against gender discrimination and having women face myriads of disadvantages (237).