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What Are You?

In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks proclaims, “Cultures of domination attack self-esteem, replacing it with a notion that we derive out sense of being from dominion over another. Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their sense of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others? (70). This notion of belittling ones self-esteem crosses many cultural borders. In ‘Bitch Niggaz’, a clip from Beyond Beats and Rhymes, the detailing of this practice within the Hip-Hop community is highlighted.

Why do we as humans feel better about ourselves when we compare ourselves to another person? Is it because of the constant race where only the strong survive, and knowing we have an edge over someone else makes us strong? Or is it for narcissistic values, where we can feel better mentally by bringing someone down? Or is it a power complex, where we can gain a sense of control and power over others by attacking their mental state? All these and more are each different reasons in which we may begin to understand why we attempt to dominate others. In the clip viewed in class, there was much discussion between what made a man a ‘Bitch Nigga’ or a ‘Pussy Nigga’. What’s so bad about a man with some feminine characteristics? Males and females borrow from each other’s ideals, beliefs and traits. Is a man only a man if he is 100% male? According to some in the hip-hop community, it’s necessary for a person to be alpha-male. They must fill the stereotypes required, whether or not they hold negative connotations (thug, criminal intentions, moral debates). If any one strays from this demeanor they are called out, much like how 50 Cent called out Ja Rule at a concert for crying in a music video.

In the clip they also showed an event called Spring Bling, presented by BET, where many in the hip hop community gather during the spring and enjoy music. Females are presented at this event in a sexual demeanor. They are seen as targets of sexual desire. Men do not hesitate to go up and grab a female in the ass or aim their camera up their skirts. Some women let them do it; others fight back and mean it, while others fight back in a playful, “ill let you win later? way. This clip further extended the stereotypes required by the hip hop community to fulfill as they talk about the differences between ‘sista’s’ and ‘ho’s’. Men can sleep with ho’s as long as you never marry one. You can only marry a sista. Sista’s can’t sleep around, that right is reserved for ho’s. This small part of the clip sheds light on the fact that women also participate in the power complex of bringing others down for one’s own personal enjoyment.