February 12, 2009

Blog #2

I believe that it is necessary to draw these lines between "hip hop feminist" and a "hip hop fan." First, because it can be empowering for a woman. Being able to appreciate and critique your culture is important for societal growth. If no one identified as a hip hop feminist and no woman (or man) ever spoke out against gender violence and discrimination, nothing would change. I think my favorite quote of Aisha Durham was, “Representations are not only a part of our reality, but shape the very way we talk about and make sense of reality.� I feel like the goal of hip-hop feminism is to change from within the popular culture. By recognizing the social and political flaws rooted in hip hop and naming your cause and yourself a hip hop feminist, one can teach by example.

A Need To Draw The Line

This is a difficult question to answer. I would like to say that it is not
necessary to draw any lines. I would like to be able to say that I, as a
female member of the hip hop generation, could call myself a hip hop
feminist. However, while I do at times feel immersed in the culture,
whether it be through the music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the way I
talk - I have never considered hip hop my way of life - I have never been
completely immersed in hip hop in that way.

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Time to draw the line...

I'm the first person among a group of people who would be resistant in allowing people to have the advantage on knowing how I define myself. While my resistance does not lie in feeling ashamed of who I am or where I come from but it comes from the fact that my entire like has consisted of being labeled. But at the same time I feel the need to almost contradict myself because I know that by not being clear and upfront and providing a definition of exactly who I am is allwoing someone else to define me...

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Definitions of Hip Hop Feminists

I think it is very important to draw lines of definition, it’s like Michael Jeffries says in Re:Definitions, “We name ourselves because it is empowering and because it allows us to choose the concepts that explain our mission.� I think first and fore most it is important that movements like this must label itself to distinguish themselves from other groups and movements. Without a label it is just a collective of people who share a similar outlook on life.

I think it can be dangerous for people to start putting very strict rules on who is allowed to label themselves as a hip hop feminist and who is not allowed. I think when people put these types of guidelines into such movements it discourages people from labeling themselves as such because no one thinks that they can fit into the outline of what is expected.

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The Stakes of Defining Hip Hop Feminism in a Commercial Hip Hop Culture

Drawing experiential lines is always essential, to a certain degree, when engaging in any sort of identity politics. The notion of “the personal is political� never applied only to feminism – it applied and continues to apply whenever specific issues in the lives of groups of identifiable people are caused by the dynamics of power. To clearly articulate the group that is being impacted negatively by such dynamics is the first step to activism and change (you can't attack a problem with no name, no locus, and/or no impact). Furthermore, identity politics always exclude someone – and the stakes are much higher for some.

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February 11, 2009

Hip Hop Feminism in a State of Flux

If someone is involved in hip hop and wants to be part of hip hop activism and the hip hop culture as it relates to both women and men, he or she can justifiably claim to be a hip hop feminist. People who are passionate about improving the situations of the hip hop communities can call themselves hip hop feminists. Those who perpetuate racism and sexism do not have the right to claim hip hop feminism. Male rappers, like Nelly, who actively degrade women of color through their lyrics and music videos, cannot claim to be hip hop feminists in any way. I agree with Pough; it is more than just living the hip hop life, but being involved in the hip hop life and culture and what is happening in one’s community. Other more privileged men and women who only seek to take away agency from true hip hop feminists cannot be hip hop feminists either. Such people are encouraged to be allies, but cannot take the voice away from the marginalized who have finally found a space to speak in as hip hop feminists. However, as Kimala Price writes, “the term ‘hip-hop feminist’ is in a state of flux� (391), it is continually changing and evolving to encompass other definitions. At some point in the future, we may need to erase and “re-draw� the lines that we are currently drawing to define who can and who cannot be a hip hop feminist.

February 6, 2009

not my place really.

that sucks, i had started this blog but didn't think i published it.
how embarrassing. well, now it's finished.

when does it become necessary to draw what lines? to define hip-hop feminism? to declare a set of laws under which you can position yourself a hip-hop feminist?

i don't believe that there is a reason to draw lines in terms of hip-hop feminism. within an organization or a political platform it is helpful to have a definition of such, but i don't believe that you must adhere strictly to the guidelines or beliefs of any definition in order to support/identify with it.
as the name suggests an identification with hip-hop is essential to make a claim from a hip-hop feminist standpoint, but i am not sure that denying any well meaning individual knowledge or insight into a lifestyle or an experience does anyone any good.

we were talking in class on tuesday about the impact of black feminist theory on hip-hop feminist activism, and i think that within the hip-hop movement that there are enough strong voices of women of color that there is room for activism on the part of others. i don't even necessarily think that hip-hop feminists even need to go so far as to refuse to listen to the crap that a lot of popular rap is spewing today, so many people have said in class that they don't agree with the lyrics but that they listen to it anyway because it is catchy and it is available. but i do think that a critical eye, or ear, is necessary in that case.
i guess that it boils down to the fact that i am not in a position to define hip-hop feminism, and that i have a hard time telling anyone what they can or cannot call themselves.

Boundaries of Hip Hop Feminism

Gwen Pough defines hip hop as a worldview--as a epistemology grounded in the experiences of communities color--and as a cultural site for re-articulating identity and sexual politics. She goes on to write, "a hip hop feminist is more than just someone who likes and listens to rap music, but feels conflicted about it. A hip hop feminist is some one who is immersed in hip hop culture and experiences hip hop as a way of life." In your opinion, when does it become necessary to draw these lines?