The Linguistic and Cultural Representation of Gender in French Rap


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The Linguistic and Cultural Representation of Gender in French Rap
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Patten, Jordin
University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Master's ( M.A.)
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University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
French and Francophone Studies, Language, Literature and Culture
Committee Chair:
Hebblethwaite, Benjamin
Committee Members:
Blondeau, Helene


Subjects / Keywords:
french -- gender -- misogyny -- rap
Language, Literature and Culture -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
French and Francophone Studies thesis, M.A.
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
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theses   ( marcgt )
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Sexism is a global problem that affects all women, from medicinal and institutional sexism in the United States, to past foot-binding and window burning in India. This thesis will focus on sexism and the representation of women in French rap. The research and data for this thesis was done by analyzing gendered and sexist language in an 804 page corpus of rap texts. The topics covered in this thesis are; the language of misogyny, the representation of womens' bodies and sexuality, violence against women, linguistic differences between male and female rappers, homosexuality and the representation of mothers and fathers in French rap. This thesis gives evidence that there is sexism in French rap, by showing the linguistic and gender differences between men and women.
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Adviser: Hebblethwaite, Benjamin.
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by Jordin B Patten.

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2 2012 Jordin Patten


3 To V iolet, Kelly, my Mother and my wonderful friends and family


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for supporting me. I would also like to thank al l of my professors at the University of Florida for pushing and challenging me to work hard and do the best possible. And lastly, I would like to thank my Dr. Hebblethwaite and Dr. Blondeau for all of their support, help and patience.


5 TABLE O F CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 8 2 HISTORY ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 12 3 MISOGYNY ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 16 4 PUTAIN (WHORE) ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 23 5 PD ................................ ............. 32 6 ................................ ................................ .......................... 37 7 ................................ ................................ ................................ 41 8 DOMESTIC WORLD: ................................ ................................ .............................. 60 9 FEMALE RAPPERS ................................ ................................ ............................... 70 10 LINGUISTIC WOUNDING ................................ ................................ ...................... 76 11 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 79 APPENDIX : GENDER AND ORIGIN OF ARTISTS ................................ ....................... 82 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 83 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 86


6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Occurences of gendered language. ................................ ................................ .... 17 6 1 1 Occurrences of sexual body parts ................................ ................................ ...... 49 A 1 List of gender and origin of artists in document. ................................ ................. 82


7 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Masters of Arts THE LINGUIST IC AND CULTURAL REPRESENTATION OF GENDER IN FRENCH RAP By Jordin Patten May 2012 Chair: Name Ben Hebblethewaite Major: French and Francophone Studies Sexism is a global problem that affects all women, from medicinal and inst itutional sexism in the United States, to past foot binding and window burning in India. This thesis will focus on sexism and the representation of women in French rap. The research and data for this thesis was done by analyzing gendered and sexist langua ge in an 804 page corpus of rap texts. The topics covered in this thesis are; the language women, linguistic differences between male and female rappers, homosexuality and th e representation of mothers and fathers in French rap. This thesis gives evidence that there is sexism in French rap, by showing the linguistic and gender differences between men and women.


8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Sexism is a global problem that exists ev erywhere, not limited to any specific culture or group of people. It exists on every continent and affects all types of people. Take for example in India, in some Hindu beliefs, t A Sati is an Indian woman, who is a widow ( Daly 1978: 113 115). After her husband dies, his death is usually blamed on her, because of sins that she committed in a past life. Since she has caused this death, she is seen as impure, and she is prohibited from remarriage, so she is either willingly bu rned to death or she is forced into being burned to death This is the ultimate sign of devotion to her husband If a widow is an extremely young bride, which is not uncommon, she is not always killed, but may have the option of going into prostitution I n this case, the young girl is at risk of dying of venereal diseases (Daly 1978: 113 115). Another case of extreme sexism on a global scale is the act of foot binding in China. Foot binding is something that used to be very common in China. Foot binding i s a 137). This makes it very difficult for the girls to leave the home, making them dependent on m en to learn outside of the home. Even mo re disturbing, is the fact that the painful, cutting and binding procedure was usually carried out by mother s or women within the household. The idea is that girls would be taught to p rocedures on their own children. It also benefits men when mothers and other women do this procedure to young girls, because the men do not physically participate and the p ain is not associated with them. The girls are then brainwashed, because they do n ot know


9 behind this awful procedure (Da ly 1978: 134 137). Even though foot binding is an old culture practice, there are still many practices that go on today that are extremely sexist and cause pain for many women. To start, it is important to give the full definition of sexism (Levinson 1976: 426 431). Sexism is the belief that socially prescribed differences between the sexes are inherently biological and that sex is limited or in some sense in ferior because of these reasons. Medicine, through its practices and beliefs has reflected these feelings of inferiority with serious consequences for men and women alike, both professionally and or Illness is usually viewed as wrong, or in som e instances immoral and deviant. as heretic, or possessed, which needed treatment neutralization or elimination. Today, in modern society, deviance is viewed as s o rt of This relates to women and sexism, because t he most sexism is in psychiatry. creatures that give birth, and long Women who st rayed away from this set of beliefs were usually seen a Diseases and maladies are more likely to be diagnosed in psychiatry to women more than men, reinforcing the label of deviance (Levinson 1976: 426 431). This shows that sexism is not just limited to one group of women, but is a huge global problem. This is relevant to French rap, because it shows the cultural and global background that maintains sexism and is reflected in rap. Sexism exists everywhere, making certain sit uations and cultures extremely difficult for women to live in. Sexism exists as a way to undermine women, and keep


10 them in a lower status in society. This thesis will focus on the sexist environment of rap culture and language, but it is important to know the basis of sexism and how it is prevalent in all domains of life. It is also important to note the difference between sex and gender. Sex and gender are different, but also very similar. Sex, from a scientific standpoint is concerned with the biological differences between men and women (which could be potentially sexist). Gender, is the social construction of how men and women are supposed to act, which could be sexist as well, but is different from the biological meaning of sex. This explanation makes o ne better understand sexism. While sexist procedures and beliefs exist all over the world, sexism is extremely prevalent in the mainstream media, and has the potential to have a profound effect on viewers and how viewers develop their beliefs on women. Th e representation of women i n French and francophone rap produced by men often suffers from oppressive stereotypes that minimize them within society. Some artists create music that is sexist and damaging, however, not all rap is sexist. Some music created b y women speaks in defense of women and fights against sexism. This thesis will analyze the language that is used when speaking about gender and how it constructs the image of men and women, including homosexuals. Methodology Before starting the analysis of this thesis, it is important to discuss how the research was gathered and where the information came from. The majority of data has come from a variety of rap texts compiled into a rap corpus of 804 pages, containing 232,000 words. The corpus contained three female rappers and seventeen was created by Dr. Hebblethewaite, Kelly Weichman and myself and was created during the Summer of


11 2011. The corpus was made by a collaboration of three people. Each person was assigned a list of albums and songs and went on the internet, and collected the lyrics. Next, all of the lyrics were combined into one large corpus. There was also a smaller corpus, made of only female rappers that I created myself. The co rpus had four female hroughout the corpus. These words consisted of pute, putain, salope, chatte, chienne, bite, cul, meuf and fessiers. I would count each word after searching for it, and then trace and count all of its occurrences throughout the corpus. Next, I documented e ach finding and analyzed it, looking for patterns and the context related to each word. I did this analysis for as many gender ed words as possible, keeping a log of all the occurrences and saving and analyzing them for later use in my thesis.


12 CHAPTER 2 HISTORY Music of any kind is of a form of expression. It is a reflection of culture, society and the political environment in which it was created (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). Hip hop is a form of music that attempts to communicate the experiences o f minorities and different ethnic groups that have been marginalized or treated unfairly (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). Rap often illustrates unequal opportunities for minorities, brutality and injustice experienced by people of color, African American s and those living i n Caribbean communities. Rap is not just music; it is a culture and an attitude Since rap is often focuses on the experiences of marginalized groups and minorities, it often goes against the dominant culture. Rap is a form of dance, la nguage and perspective that is sometimes seen as the new style (Layli, Morgan, Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). This thesis will show how women are represented and how they contribute to the world of rap and hip hop, specifically in the French and Francophone W orld. The main focus of this thesis will be on the language differences, concerning the language representation and usage between men and women with respect to gender. Men and women are perceived very differently in the rap world. The main focus of thi s thesis will be on the language of gender identity and sexual identity. Gender identity and sexual identity exist as two different entities and may overlap at times; each has their own meaning (Motschenbashen 2010: 129 179). Even though these two subject s have different meanings, they work and function together (Motschenbashen 2010: 129 179). Gender and sexuality are constructed socially and linguistically (Motschenbashen: 129 179). In relation to this thesis, and to the rap corpus, the linguistic differe nces between men, women, and sexism created by gender differences


13 in language use will be discussed. This thesis will discuss gender in relation to the body and how the linguistic construction of the body creates gender. The language of homosexuality and h eter o normativity will also be discussed, and in return will reflect upon how gender is understood. To start off, it is important to discuss the different perceptions of men and women, and their different constructions in the rap culture. In the rap cultur e, as will be shown by rap texts, there is an entirely different attitude and language that is evident when rappers talk about men and women. Women, tend to be associated more with language involving domesticity, sexuality, submission and also in some case s violence and victimization. Men tend to be associated with power and dominance. This sort of language underlines and creates sexism and an unequal balance of power that is undeniable. This thesis will further explain these differences and inequalities, b ut to begin, we will discuss how women have contributed to the world of rap. Women have had a very important role in the evolution of rap since the beginning (Layli, Morgan and Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). Media and critical analysis often downplay the ro writers, performers, producers and industry executives. Not only have women technique, forming the aesthetic and technological standards used by both men and women. Even though women have contributed greatly to the rap world, some differences between male rappers and female rappers are unavoidable. There are more men than women in the artistic, executiv e and consumer domains of rap. There are more male rappers and industry leaders than there are females. In terms of production


14 ways that are both subtle and obvious. Alt hough there are definitely inequalities between men and women in the rap industry, the global expansion of hip hop has to the outnumbering of men. This culture also ex ists in the context of pre existing sexism and male dominance seen in occupational and commercial domains of society. This male dominance structure is maintained by society; therefore, it is reflected in music. Men of color are often blamed for creating su ch misogynistic music, when in reality, they are expressing unequal social structures and these inequalities can be felt by many different types of men, not just men of color (Layli, Morgan and Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). The blame for sexism and misogyny in rap music cannot be just limited to men either. Even though men might be the public face of rap, both men and women participate in ways that equally oppress, and liberate women (Layli, Morgan and Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). It can never be assumed that all men are equally sexist and misogynistic, and that all women are fighting for equality and battling against sexism Rap is complex and full of many oppositions and contradictions. Rap gives women the opportunity to critique their own sex and also that o f men. It is also a medium for critique and expression of the surrounding culture and society Rap also allows women to express friendship and solidarity with men and to fight against other societal problems such as: classism, racism, both are issues tha t affect men and women Since women do play a large role in the culture of rap, it is important to talk about feminism and some


15 and common sense de rives from people of color and lower classes (Layli, Morgan, Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). Even though some rappers and people in the rap audience may be well result of colonization, racism, oppre ssion and exclusion from education. This means that emphasis is put on street smarts in the black community, because it contradicts the standards and expectations created by white culture and was created from cultures that are often exc luded from educatio n in some way. valued more than formal education (Layli, Morgan and Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). Rap is a medium that women can use to express their feelings. It can be used to demonstrate feminist beliefs within the cu lture. Some rappers might reject these ideas: the face of a problem. In rap, women communicate with each other about their struggles within the culture and society. Women sup port, challenge, criticize and work together (Layli, Morgan and Steven 1976 2004: 253 277). Now that we have briefly touched upon the roles of women in rap, we will further discuss the representations of women and the langua ge associated with them.


16 C HAPTER 3 MISOGYNY The focus of this chapter will be on the language of misogyny. It will explore the language associated with beliefs and ideas that are hateful towards women and homosexuals. It will provide evidence of genderism and sexism in rap language proving that there is a significant amount of sexism in rap. I will use the 232,000 word corpus to analyze sexist language in detail and show the level of its significance. I will use the corpus by counting and documenting how many occurrences there are of sexist and gendered language and talk about the context behind each word. Misogyny is a large problem in the world of rap. Misogyny is defined as the fear, hatred and feeling of disdain toward women. Misogynistic rap music reduces women to objects for 957). This type or class of rap depicts women as if they are expendable objects, to be used and abused and s ome heavier rap, such as gangster rap, glamorizes misogyny (Adams and Fuller 2005: 938 957). There are several aspects of misogyny seen in rap. First of all, there are countless derogatory sexual statements about women, including violent actions, specifically in regards to sex. Women are often portrayed as disposable human beings, not worthy of love, compassion or respect (Adams, Fuller, 2005: 938 957). Where does all of t his hatred come from? Misogyny has always existed in music, and it is obviously not limited to rap music (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). The problem is that misogyny has been permitted


17 to grow and prosper in rap music, and it is seen as something accept able. Artists that create music with more hateful and misogynistic lyrics make more money and their music videos are seen and rotated more often than others. This suggests that violent and misogynistic lyrics are encouraged by a consumer demand. Even if th e more explicit and obvious lyrics are edited out of the mainstream, the message of the music is still there (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). There are many varieties of misogyny. Some music might only express mild innuendos, whereas others are more dir ect and explicit when expressing violence (Adams and Fuller 2005: 938 957). Although lyrics may seem subtle or harmless, the theme of h atred and violence still exists. Rap has many derogatory terms for women, which reduce their value within society. Misogy ny is not an element that exists alone, it is a larger part of social, cultural and economic systems that su stain and promote this ideology. Why is there so much hatred? We live i n a patriarchal world where violence, hatred, misogyny, racism and sexism are institutionalized, even if we do not realize it (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). This sort of ideology is even more glorified in rap and gangster rap, which legitimizes ha tred, racism and sexism. There are many words that dominate the image of women in the French rap world and the words that will be analyzed in this thesis are; pute, chienne, salope and putain. Table 2 1. Occurences of gendered language. French Word English Word Number of Occurrences Pute Slut 82 Putain Whore 164 Salope Bitch 12 C hienne Bitch 13


18 controls her man and her entire household. She is aggressive, mean and demanding (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). This word also has a sexual meaning behind it Salope to talk about men, usually when referring to an enemy, as a way of s howing th at another man is weak. The language that is associated with this word is vulgar, violent, sexual 128). This style of language is in many French rap songs. The first example is in a song by La Fouine. We will start discu ssing the subject by salope Salope uses and contexts and is a very derogatory word, but it refers to women. Dgage de ma cha (La Fouine, La Laouni v s. La fouine Fouiny Juice 2011). Get out of my room b itch, if you have your period. The man is telling the woman to get out of his room and he is addressing her as salope sa id above. There is evidence that this man has no respect for this woman, because he is just demeaning her salope derogatory language when talking about the woman, it is even more important to mention that he is also talking about her menstruation cycle. This is interesting because in Muslim cultures, the female menstruation cycle is viewed as something dirty and impure, and couples are not supposed to have sex during mensuration cycles (Suad et Njamba di 2006: 28 35). Female sexuality and the female body is viewed as erotic,


19 tempting and impure in most Muslim cultures (Suad et Njambadi 2006: 28 35). This is also interesting, because La Fouine is a rapper of Moroccan origin, which gives us more backgr ound and context behind the meaning of this excerpt. While the female menstruation cycle is viewed as dirty in Muslim cultures, it is not only Muslim cultures who view the menstruation cycle as dirty. This is a common belief in Western in cul tures too and many women deny sex during this time. This excerpt also points out the biological differences between men and women, which could also be a root to sexism. Derogatory language is normalized and creates the idea that it is acceptable language used when tal king about women. This way of speaking creates a linguistic gender inequality between the sexes, giving men the upper hand over women. Derogatory language like can be used like this to belittle and undermine the person, thus re enforcing male dom inance. Men can use this word to express their dominance in more ways than the one we just saw. We can see an example of this, in another song d stop (L a Rumeur, Regain de Tension P.O.R.C. 2004). non stop. s offensive than placing women into the category of putes salopes is being used, it places women into a category, which can be linguistically and socially damaging, because it minimizes women to sexual objects.


20 de cette salope plante earth (Lunatic, Booba Paradis, 2010). I have toured this bitch planet earth. Salope quote, we know that it is something negative. Even away from the contex t of women, this word is negative and can be used often to describe something hateful. This is seen again in d dicace a yass alias le renard. (Mister you, P r sum Coupable Je commence tours Doux, 2010). The media stains Islam and fucks the Bentan court race big bitch to yass the alias fox. but this word (or sometimes a religiou s reference) is usually used to describe a woman and is dire cted at something unpleasant or bad. The idea that women are vulgar and bad is reinforced again and again, linguistically, in many different ways. Women do not have to be present to be insulted an is used here negatively without reference to a woman, or a group of women, but when talking about women, this word is almost always associated with something sexual, detrimental or vulgar. This can be Comme un vulgaire salope de (Booba Ouest Side Mauvais Garon, 2006). Like a vulgar bitch from a porno movie.


21 First of all, we see immedia Vulgaire is extremely derogatory and contributes to an image of women that is damaging. This quote also makes reference to porn ography showing the idea that women are often associated with sex. We also see a similar pattern of this with another Putain c'est beau comme les masques tombent, la capital sans son maquillage, arrache de sa vieille perruque blonde, des cernes sous les yeux, s'illuminant de gyrophares bleus Ou sous les n ons des sex shops c omme la dernire des salopes. La Lune Tombe, 2007). like her haggard face, the best, without her make up, taking off her old, blonde wig, bags under eyes, illuminating police ligh ts, or under the neon lights of the sex shops like the last of the bitches. salope associated with sex. And not only do we see that women are linked to sex, but we also see that again, a gro salopes. salope assumed power and dominance over them, whether it is obv can be used to insult men as well. salope pute 128). Eve n when both sexes are involved with this word, it is damaging to women. When a chienne nd beneath the status of men. Here is another example of this word as an insult.


22 On est des salauds, eu x, des salopes, ils dconnent (Rohff, Marchine de Guerre, La Cuenta, 2010). We are bastards, but they are bitches and they talk shit This quote may s eem neutral from first glance, but, it is negative because the use lt seems to be less offensive than these words are equally offensive in different ways, there is more negative association with salopes is still negative, but it does not have does. We see that Rohff is talking and references are oppressive and offensive, so why are they used in rap music? Firstly, this sort of offensive language cannot be blamed on the rap and hip hop culture alone. It is created by the effects of the dominant culture and dominant social structu res. The use of this offensive and vulgar language allows men to boost themselves, while degrading and legitimizing their hatred for their female peers (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). This music also gives men the opportunity to express their dominance and prove their power over women Another problem is that in a patriarchal society, men are encouraged to show their anger, frustration and aggression on the people who have less power in society, especially women and children It is also interesting to n ote that salope occurs twelve times in the corpus of rap texts. Even though this word occurs several times, it does not occur as frequently as putain (164 occurences) does. The uses of such words creates an image of women that is inferior to men and limit s their success and happiness within society. The way that this music addresses women is evidence of a patriarchal society at all levels. The next part of this thesis


23 C HAPTER 4 PUTAIN (WHO RE) As we have previously discussed gendered words and their many meanings and connotations, we will now move onto the word which is also used to denigrate women. We will start out with some history of this word. A (whore in English) is d escribed as a sexually loose and aggressive woman (Adams and Fuller, 2005: 938 957). She wants and accepts sex in any form and uses it to ge t anything she wants from a man. This language creates the idea that women are the enemy for men, even if it i s not true. The purpose of this word is to legitimize and justify the mistreatment of w omen by men and the power elite. The language and the context of this word are usually very vulgar, sexual or violent. This kind of language legitimizes violence, because it p ortrays women negatively, suggesting to the audience that violence is permissible. Even though are many arguments that claim that we are not affected by the media and that we do not respond to violence in the media, there are many studies that show the co ntrary. Many recent studies show that there is a strong presence of violence in the media. Many children and youth spend countless hours in front of their televisions, consuming violent messages (Gunter 2002 : 80 157) In a recent study of college students, concerning studies of music videos and violence, three college students, (males) listened to three genres of rap; neutral sexual/violent and assaultive. Next, they were asked to choose o ne of the three genres of videos/music t o be shown to an unknown fem ale. Those who listened to the misogynistic rap were more likely to choose an assaultive vide o to show to the unknown female. Thi s is evidence that media affects our perspective. Music and med ia can make one think different ly The second part of the study also examined how young women re spond to misogynistic rap music. In the


24 study, the young women were exposed to different types of music videos, consisting of sexually explicit videos, neutral, and both violent and non violent. The women who were exposed to the non violent, but more sexually explicit videos were more likely to accept dating violence, than the women who are exposed to more neutral videos. In another part of the study, young, African American men were exposed to non erotic, but violent music v ideos created a different view of opposing sexual beliefs towards women, a nd had a negative effect to men. In the last part of the study, college students who were shown rock music videos with anti social behavior were more likely to show that behavior, th an the control group who di d not see the rock music videos. In other words, experimental studies do show that there is enough evidence that watching violent music videos creates attitudes and beliefs that (mostly, not always) creates an acce ptance in viewe rs, even if the e ffect is only short term (Gunter 2002 : 80 157) It is arguable that violent and misogynistic rap is just entertainment and music, but it is much more than that. It affects the audience and how the audience views women, even if only tempo rarily. Misogynistic and violent lyrics are scattered throughout rap music, and are only temporary, the damage has already been done. Now go back to the discussion of the word putain if violence is necessary to protect oneself from this kind of woman. Putain/Pute are words that can be used synonymously, but they do have different mea nings. Putain/Pute is a construction that is similar to bitch, but, Putain/Pute is rather more of a sex object than what bitch is (slut). A Putain/Pute is an object that can be used to satisfy


25 the sexual pleasures and desires of men (Adams, Fuller, 2005: 938 957). Her entire self image is made up of doing anything for a man, often for material possessions, she has no conscious, self esteem or value. The language and the violence associated with this word may not be true, but, it is still in music and has t he potential be internalized by the audience and create problems. This word is very common in French rap, and occurs 164 times in the corpus of music. This is evidence that this language is defining for women, whether it be positive or negative. The firs sexual objects that exist for the pleasure of men. Puis je cracha dans la gorge de cette pute 150 eu ros. ( Booba, Lunatic, Killer, 2010). Then I spit in the mouth of a 150 euro ho oker. pute vulgar and dirty. This style of language is unflattering for women. It also interest ing to note that Booba speaks of this prostitute in such a n uncaring, non chalant way, suggesting that women are dispensable beings and that they exist for sexual purposes. Not only do we see that Booba is associating women with sex and vulgarity. The cor pus putain word can take. putain make words seem more to be any noun more harsh. There are many ex amples of this sort of language through the entire corpus. La rage de voir cette p utain de monde s'autodtruire (Keny Arkana La Rage, Entre ciment et belle toile, 2006)


26 The rage to see this fucking world self destruct. ciated with (rage in English) and autod truire self destruction in English) Both of these words are angry and could potentially be associated with violence. It is important to point out that while putain might be literally mean whore, it can also be used as other expressions of vulgarity, similar to putain used to intensif putain de monde intentionally used as sexist language. Over time, words have the potential to change their meanings through grammaticalisastion and cultural changes, causing the semantic sense of the word to shift (Sweetser 1988: 389 405). We know that from context and other words associated with this phrase, that the artist is angry. It is problematic that a negative. The use of in this example might not be seen as sexist, but at the same time is detrimental that such a gendered word is used in so many negative c ontexts. The goal of the text might not even to insult women, but the high number of occurrences (164 occurrences in rap texts) suggests a deeper meaning to such a gendered and vulgar word. Use of such a gendered word over and over in such negative situati ons has the potential to emphasize sexism within a language, even if the speaker or the audience does not realize it. There might be examples of using male gendered words to insult, but, those insults are vastly outnumbered by using words like putain p ute salope.


27 Sexism and gender inequality does not have to be direct or explicit to express a certain idea or message. There are also many examples of this way of thinking in this example. Si ce putain de rap tait un pays je serai son Dictateur,Dis que t'as peur, c'est nous les ti peu hein, tire toi ds que tu peux chronique du 75, Le Relais, 2008). If this fucking was a c ountry, I would be the dictator. Say that you are so get out as soon as you can. In the first part of this example, we see again the use of using a gendered word as an putain de rap. t have been intended to be sexual or sexist, the occurrences of this word in such negative situations makes a linguistic inequality between men and women that gives men more power than putain mes negative. As there are shifts in meaning and semantic associations with words, the literal meaning of this in this context is most likely not meant to demean women, but it is still damaging that such a gendered word exists in so many negative contexts (Sweetser: 389 405). Not only do we see a linguistic inequality there, but it is also noticeable when Her e, we have a dominant submissive relationship between a dictator and a country; however, this language brings something much deeper beyond just that. This creates genderism in language, because the male is dominant over the female. We know this because the putain evidence of male dominance in rap music. This also creates a subtle inequality for women, suggesting that they are lower and submissive to men.


28 We Et l'apartheid commence l o s'arrte ma libert avec ces putains de flics venus tester ma fiert (La Rumeur, Regain de tension, Nom, Prnom, Identit, 2004). And the apartheid starts here wh ere my freedom is stopped, with these fucking cops coming to test my pride. There are two details from this example that demonstrate the language that which intensifies the negativity the even putain putain Even tho ugh the context of this quote may not be overtly sexist, the occurrence of such a gendered word does damage the image of women. In this example, the woman is putain also see t putain sexual. Subutex. Cherche pas trouver d'o vien t la salet du texte, inspire du contexte qui pue l'hostilit, la criminalit (La Rumeur, Regain de tension, Paris Nous Nourrit, Paris Nous Affame, 2004). saw his fucking cancer evolve and in his wholly pockets, Durex and Subutex. Do not look for w here this dirtiness comes from, inspired by the ive and putain Putain suffers negatively because it is associated with cancer, with is a word of sickness and disease. There


29 putain all follow the idea of sickness, dre ad, ugliness, greed and sex. We also see the words salet, hostilit and criminalit, putain these negative word associations within this corpus reinforce the idea that women are beneath men. Even though these associations are indirectly associated with wo men, and the intentions of this language were most likely not sexist, the linguistic inequalities created between men and women exist. The music does not have to explicitly say that women are lower than men. The message is clear in the lyrics and in the language, whether it is obvious or subtle. There are a few more examples that are necessary that prove that rap and the language that it uses are sexist. Put is connected with many different genres of negativity in rap music and by many different artists. Fuck les putains et leurs fausses promesses La Faucheuse Iron Mic 2.0, 2010). Fuck the bi tches and their false promises. First off, the phrase starts with (false promises). This style of language suggests there is nothing positive to say about these women. Putain is a word that is multi faceted and can be used in many different ways. It can serve as an insult, a description of a woman, or to bring negativity to a specific word or phrase. What does this language tell us about women and gender d ifferences? putain is used so negatively, explicitly sexual or violently, it gives us an insight to not only what only the artists feels, but to what society


30 feels towards women. This is not to say that there are not m ale gendered words that are used as insults or obscenities, but there are far more female gendered words that are used for obscenities or insults. Is this a reflection of the way a society and a culture feels about women? This corpus shows that culturally, there is some misogyny putain male evidence that there is more sexist language in rap, due to the o utnumbering of derogatory gendered words. The use of this word, in all of its forms also is evidence to Putain threatening woman. When this word is used in explicit and vu lgar contexts, it suggests that sexually aggressive women are frowned upon or are seen in a negative light. The putain male gendered word, which tends to have more power and dom inance associated with it, we begin to see the inequalities in language and in status within society. The image mac complete opposite of the vocabulary that poss esses. This gender inequality might not always be blatantly obvious but it exists linguistically, as well as culturally. Misogyny and gender inequality are both seen in the written lyrics of rap and in the culture of rap It is clear that imagery is ess ential in regards to music, but it is important to remember the phonetic importance of music as well (Bethune 1999: 107 131). Never underestimate the power of phonetics, rhyming and word patterns that are heard with vulgar language. Some lyrics are so shoc king that they are in the conscience of the


3 1 listener. Dirty words seem to have a different enunciation and pronunciation more than commo n words that are less obscene. Chapter 5 will focus on the linguistic and cultural representation of homosexuality and i ts similarities and differences with gender and the representation of women.


32 CHAPTER 5 PD (FAG) Women and homosexuals, specifically gay men do not share the same sexual orientation, but have similar semantic associations. While women might be portrayed as weak, receptacles of violence, or loosely sexual, or sexually aggressive, gay men share similar semantic representations. 128). Rap is often homophobic a nd there are not many mainst ream rappers who are openly gay. In rap, there are also many homophobic accusations and punchlines between rappers. Kielwasser 1991: 19 35). There are many similarities and differences in the way in which gays and minoriti es are represented in the media. Sexual Minorities creating false social and political threa ts and as a result, they are interpreted as problematic or controversial in the media. Homosexuals are often underrepresented, and as a result maintain a powerless status. Those kept at the bottom of power hierarchies will be kept in places through their i nvisibility. If and when these groups do obtain some visibility, the way that they are represented will reflect on the biases of the elites who control media, most of whom are usually middle aged white men, upper class or and who are primarily heterosexual (Wolf and Kielwasser 1991: 19 some degrees of mainstream film and television and are almost always presented as beliefs and informat ion do come from the mass media. We might not always exactly follow


33 what television or film tells us to, but the effects of what we see and hear do linger in our minds (Wolf and Kielwasser 1991: 19 35). The media allows us to learn and construct images about people and groups that we may not know about In other words, from the lives of actual people. The media teaches us how to think about people, even if we do not r ealize it. The lyrics of rap, and other forms of media can teach people that violence against sexual minority groups is acceptable. Even if audience members do not go out committing hate crimes, it does desensitize people to violence and hatred. This is s hown in the corpus of rap texts, with sexual minorities being treated violently. It is also nder deviance should be handled. Feminine men and masculine women are often pun ished in the media or shown in a derogatory manner, possibly due to the idea that they are contradicting the gender roles that are ascribed to them (Wolf and Kielwasser 1991: 19 35). While there might be an atmosphere of mistrust and hatred, it is also imp ortant to keep in mind that this music is coming from a heterosexual point of view and is sometimes meant to be funny and not violent or hateful. mm e un bollos au mtro ourcq (Mister you, Vieux Mec, Prsum Couaple 201 0). You are nothing but a faggo t like a pussy at ourcq metro. you are nothing illustrates that this word is associated with something low. We also see bo l los woman. This is extremely hateful and derogatory for the gay community. This language


34 expresses that not only does the artist feel that homosexuals are of a lower status than the rest of the society, but they are worthy of being beaten or victimized. Even though this is a word that refers to gay men, its usage and associations are very similar to the language associate d with women. This suggests that potentially gay men and women are regarded on the same level, even though they are not of the same gender. What is even more interesting is that the word l is a term that is typically associated with women. A man mig bollos abuse or victimize. This sort of language legitimizes violence against gays and women, reducing them to a lower level of society. Since they are brought down to this lower level, it makes viole nce appear more admissible. This is an expression of the artist that arguably impacts the culture and society. Here are a few more examples of this found in the corpus. Mon destin crit sur un P.Q.A nti pd Pages entires, pour une mort violente garantie Horrifi parce que je rcite illicite Kho Je suis une cuillre, du feu, une seringue du citron Arretez de jacter. ( Lunatic Le s on qui met la pression 2010) M y destiny written on a P. Q. wall, anti faggot Entire pages, for a guaranteed violent death. Horrified, because I recite an illicit Kho, I am a spoon of fire, and syringe of lemon, stopping from explosion. Even though a large part of this example makes reference to drug use and h eroin, it still points out the homophobic and sometimes prejudice climate of rap. In the second anti which immediately tells us that this music does not Pages entires, pour une mort viole


35 un e mor t violente garantie homosexuality is very similar to what the corpus provides with the violence associated with women. We Je suis une cuillire, du feu une seringue du citron dominance. bitterness or sourness. These two associations create a sense of power and male dominance. The power and male dominance is exerted over homosexuality, almost as i f the artist is trying to eradicate homosexuals and homosexuality. By the same artist, we see yet another example of the anti gay mentality. Dans mon crew Ttes Brules Lunatic, 2000) In my crew, the re ar e no fags, too much I.T.T. Here we see more lyrical proof of the anti gay attitude. In a sense, we also see the idea that rappers accuse their colleagues of homosexuality, since the artist is vehemently expressing that he does not want any homosexuals in and homosexuals will not be welcome. This style of language ma rginalizes homosexuals, putting them into a different social category and rejecting them in other domains. It seems like words that are typically masculine are not associated with homosexuality and homosexuality is not associated with masculinity. Does thi s mean associated with women?


36 Even though this music seems to brutalize or mistreat homosexuals, the majority of these lyrics come from a single artist. It is also interestin g to point out that while there is such an anti gay, homophobic attitude towards gay men in French rap, but there are minimal occurrences of deroga tory language of lesbians. The a nti gay attitude is present in the rap culture, but this corpus has evidence that suggests otherwise. From the seven findings of pd world of rap that associates such hateful lang uage towards homosexuals (there are not many rappers out killing gay s) maybe it is just the one man. Nonetheless, there is a negative and violent representation of homosexuals, which is very similar to what we see with the treatment of women. The next part of this thesis will explore ideas of sexuality and male and female bodies.


37 CHAPTER 6 This chapter will focus on sexuality in language and how it effects the description more focus on her body and sexuality. The female body is portrayed as an object for the sexual pleasure of men. The overall attitude is that the only use a woman has is to please men and to use her body to attract men. There are also many pornographic re ferences in this corpus. Pornographic descriptions of women are very popular in rap and seem to be the 128). The focus of this chapter will be on the language of these findings and how the language used to describe these ideas is wo ven into rap and creates sexism and male dominance. While it is important to discuss the many different images and representations of women, it is also important to discuss men. One figurehead that is essential to rap and the role of women is the pimp. Th someone into. He is a man of the streets and has an entourage of women used for prostitution (Quinne 2000: 115 persuader, trickster or rapper. These two words can be used synonymously in rap. The one trait that these two figures have in common is that they are both smooth talking and witty. With his wit, he earns money and he has superb language skills and knows how to communicate effectively with b oth men and women to earn money. A pimp might be charismatic on the outside, but his charm is just a faade he puts up. Pimps are usually violent, controlling and father figures. d he is the father figure. On the street level he is seen as h eroic, but also very controlling. From the


38 law enforcement, he is a threat and a danger (Quinne 2000: 115 136). The pimp figure is misogynistic because it promotes an d reinforces the idea that putes use women and get rid of women (Quinne 2000: 115 136). This attitude encourages the belief that women are dispensable and are only useful fo r sexual pleasure. Pimps also are portrayed having affluent lifestyles whe re they are surrounded by women. They have many material posses sions and wear expensive clothe s These images promote inequalities between men and women and shows that not only is t here male sexual power and dominance over women, but econom ic dominance over women as well. Examples of these images are depicted also in French/Francophone music. The main focus of this chapter will be on pimps and male dominance, and the language that is associated with the ideologies of misogyny and masculinity. Tte brle portrays the glorified and extravagant lifestyle that pimps are thought to have. La Facilit aux macs et leurs putes simulent chaque passe Pistent le luxe Ca e xistent pas dans mon district. (Lunatic, Tte brle, 2000) The ease of pimps and their hos simulates in every move, following luxury, which doe s not exist in my neighborhood. This excerpt is talking about the easy and glamorous lifesty le of pimps. This is damaging to women, because it legitimizes violence and glamorizes the street lifestyle. This suggests that this lifestyle is luxurious and that pimping is a good lifestyle to have. In reality, pimping is not always an easy or glamorous lifestyle. Lyrics like the ones seen above reinforce the idea women are sexual objects and are possessions to men.


39 mac les putes cha que beat. (Booba, Mauvais Augure Temps Mort, 2006) The shock begins, and there will be nothing but me pimping hos at e very beat. women and selling them. This is typical in a l ot of rap music. It is also clear that women putes English). They are given a title that makes them appear as an object. The pimp does not to care what happens to these women, as long as their services are being lent and he is making money. Mac aussi puissant que cett ( IAM, Chez le Mac Mac, 1997) Pimp is powerful enough that this fucking mone y is in the race. When we see that the woman is being compared to money, semantically it is obvious that she is being objectified and is a material possession to the pimp. Even though the quote mig ht say that she is just as powerful, or just as important as the pimp is, (in regards to money), she is still an object. Linguistically, the woman is associated with property that brings money to the pimp. Her existence is to make money for the pimp and to please him. In the same song, we see another glimpse into the lifestyle of the pimp. Mais je redouble de travail et serre le jeu Si tu veux la bombe, tu raques Ronald Ca (IAM, Chez le Mac Argent, 1997).


40 But I want to double this work and grip the game, if you want the sex bomb, you have to pay up to Ronald. jeu woman, you must pay for her, because tha reiterates again the idea that women are objects to men. We know this from the the belief that women are dispensable object s that do not need to be treated with respect. Pimps are just another figure that justifies abuse and violence against women. His extravagant lifestyle glorifies street violence and the street lifestyle. It also legitimizes the use and sell of women. It n ormalizes the idea that women exist as pleasure objects for men and damages the image of women. The kind of language associated with argent puissant mac are words used to glamorize, and e ven normalize the pimp lifestyle. These words are also associated with male dominance, power being a word often associated with men argent they do have power over them. The language associated with pimps illustrates the gender inequalities through language in this music. Rap music is filled with dichotomies of power imbalances between men and women, men being portrayed as dominant or powerful. This language legitimizes violenc e, since women are portrayed as beneath men, it makes violence seem less extreme, over even understandable. Whether gender inequality and sexism exists as a cultural problem, or a linguistic problem, it still creates violence between the sexes. Next this thesis will focus on the representation of


41 CHAPTER 7 This chapter will focus on sexuality in language and how it effects the description (Motschenbac her 2010: 123 179). Personal nouns, such as man and woman, deal with gender o n a more abstract level or meaning. There is much more to gender than what and facets of gende r. Gender and the body can be categorized from social and personal experiences. The language associated with the body is very complex. The body can be seen from the external perspective, the focus being that the bo dy is an object to be discussed. There is also the idea of the body from the internal perspective, the su bjective experience of the body. These are just the social perspectives of the body, which are different from the linguistic perspectives. There are three main perspectives about the body in r elationship to linguistics; studies of genital vocabulary, the idea that the use and speech associated with bodies changes according to the situation and also studies about how talk of the bod y affects gender performance. This thesis will focus primarily on how talk and description of the body influences gender roles and expectations. There is also the approach that femininities, masculinities are subjects and identities th at are linguistically performed. This theory makes one wonder the question, what do es actually produce? (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). Does simply describing a body, whether it is male or female have an influence on it? The media is inundated with gender representations that occur by visually creating an image of bodies and body parts (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). The linguistic


42 construction of bodies is evidence to the theory of linguistic gender construction. And in comparison with visual constructions of the body, where the audience can see the bo dy construct the body. With that being said, it is important to also make note of the lexical differences assoc iated with gender constructions. It is necessary to distinguish the types of body par ts in relation to men and women. At first glance this may seem obvious, but aside from sexual descriptions and genital lexicon, it is important to recognize the fact that certain body parts are more associa ted with wome n, rather than men. In some instances, body parts such as lips might be more closely associated with women, whereas body parts like the ba ck might be associated with men. In this corpus and in this thesis, the focus will be more on sexual organs and how they are describe d and related to gender. In regards to linguistics, the representations of the body are represented through dominant gender discourses and they are used to normalize the construction of the male and female bodies (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). Texts can be gendered explicitly through body lexicon and terminology, specifically through gendered body parts such as breasts, vagina, penis, et cetera The constructions of male and female bodies create a dichotomy that demonstrates the differences in lexical as sociations (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). Typically, the description of female body parts is located on the surface of the body. Female body parts tend to hold mo re of an aesthetic, softer role. Male body parts are typically within the body. Male body pa rts are also more likely to be of a working or functional value, suggesting that male body parts have a purpose (for work or for sports)


43 when b Of the two genders, the female body is more likely to be socially gendered, poss ibly due to the fact that the female body has been more socially objectified. These ideas support the claim that linguistic gendering through body parts exists because gender performance and gender roles are closely related to the body and body parts (Mot schenbacher 2010: 123 179). When compared to men, female features are more fetishized and obs This could be due to the though media does h ave an influence on gender representations, it is also important to take into account chemistry, hormones and biology. Culture may very well influence the representation of gender, but biology does have an influence as well. The next part of this thesis wi ll discuss how male and female bodies are represented in the corpus of rap music. In the corpus being studied, there is a large amount of attention drawn to the female body. The female body discourse is constructed as an object for the sexual pleasure of men. Even though the female body is constructed mainly to please men, it is also important to note that not all rap music creates this image of women. Some music is also positive and admires the beauty of women. In general, the construction of the female b ody creates the image that the primary function a woman has is to please men and to use her body to attract, and also torment men. The focus of this chapter will be on the descriptions of the female body and how they gender and construct the image of women


44 pleasure is in a song by Booba. ( Booba, Abracadabra Lunatic, 2010 ). Miss, it is for your ass, your pussy, tha t we love you. This example is the most explicit. This clearly shows that the female sexual body (pussy in English) is used 2007: 27 128). This word is used so frequently in rap that it creates the idea that women are reduced to their bodi es and sexuality. Seduction is also seen throughout rap and is usually pr omoted more than romantic love. Sex is regarded as more of a product to be sold. There is also the idea that money buys sex, and that men can buy women. As seen in the example by Booba the construction of the woman is only on her body and nothing else. The artist is also reinforcing the idea that women p rimarily exist for pleasure. He is explaining the use of her body and why men like it. The image of the woman is linguistically constructed into sexuality and genitals. Some examples of the idea that the female body is for male pleasure are so extreme that they seem as if they create a pornographic construction of the female body. This is common, and because of this, violence is often treated as gratuitous. Si a fait mal, que tu cries, que tu chatte. (Booba, Jour de Paye, Lunatic, 2010). If that hurts, whether you scream or whether you have pleasure it is This quote is an example of the female body being used; regardless of whether it causes her pain or pleasure. This excerpt illustrates the c onstruction of the female body


45 as an object for men. The female body is closely related to sexual pleasure. Another remarkable detail is that in this quote, the man has power and dominance over the woman. In the construction of himself, the man is associat ing his body with sexual body. This quote reinforces the idea that women are objects to men, and that men have dominance over women. Furthermore, some lyrics are so sexual ly explicit that they are pornographic, supporting the idea that there are many pornographic references and ideas in rap. Si tu ne veux chatte et le genou. Strass et Paillettes, T emps Mort, 2006). I f you do not want to fuck, then d o not come around us with your panties bet ween your pussy and your knees. The man is talking about the woman and having sex with her. In other words, he is saying that if you do not want sex, then do not come near us with your panties down. This quote is proof to the idea that the description of body parts is fundamental in the and men maintain their masculinity and bodies are often very sexualized, it is important to point out that there are gendered bite zob words might exist, but they are seen in the corpus of rap texts the following table shows. ( bite found 24 times, zob 1 time). Words associated with women, such as chatte, seins, cul, and fessiers ( chatte : 34 times, Seins : 3 times Cul: 50 times (note that cul could also be used as an insult f or a man, and not always a part of the female body and fessiers: 1 time. occur much more frequently. We also see specific gendered words


46 of the female sexual organs a a description that removes her clothes and allows the man to be dominant, or fantasize about her. This also gives evidence to the claim tha t women exist primarily for the use of men and that the pri mary use of the female body is sexual. Since the description of female body creates the gender construction that the male sexual dominance throughout this corpus. The d escription and portrayal of the female body is not just limited to how women act, it also creates an identity for men, and how they should act around women. Pute, suce moi direct, je suis circoncis. (La Fouine, Fouiny Gamos La Fouine vs. La Laouni, ). Bi tch, suck me directly, I am circumcised. Even though we do not see any explicit descriptions of the female body in this example, we still witness male sexual dominance. This quote is very explicit, and pornographic. Male dominance and power is very preval ent, showing how gender representation is unequal in rap. It also shows again, that women are often seen as sexual objects. There are minimal, if any examples in the corpus of rap texts that show women having sexual dominance over men. We also see the sexu al association with pute being sexual objects for men. It is even more interesting in this example, that the man is making demands of the woman. This could be due to the id ea that men have more power associated with them than women do. This situation creates a space for women to be subordinate to men, thus creating an image, or identity that promotes the idea of the inequality of power between men and women. Even if the bod y is not present, we


47 can still see gender identities and sexuality, and this is an example that proves my claim. The man expects sexual pleasure from a woman and he demands it from her. pute e views the woman as a sexual object, who exists only for sexual pleasure. This word also places women into a linguistic category that can be damaging socially and mentally. Another quote that supports this claim is in another song by Booba. Quelques pute s veulent coha clique mais st un featuring avec ma bite. (Booba, Temps Mort, Animals) Some sluts want to live in the studio with me and my gang and all you have to d o is a featuring with my dick. W e see here that the rapper again only sees women as sexual objects. Not only do the women in this excerpt exist as sexual objects, but, the man again, has power and hi s group, but the only thing they again, this shows that women exist for the pleasure of men. This example also shows that the rap culture can often be very explicit, sexual and pornographic. The sole purp ose for the women reco r ding music with Booba is to please him sexually and nothing else is important. We know just by reading these lyrics, that women are constructed as sexual objects. It is also important to discuss the language associated with sexuality and with women. chatte a linguistic insight into how male rappers really feel about women and about sexuality. C ont la chatte rase, rase. ( La Fouine, Veni Vidi Vici, La Fouine vs. La Laouni ). 2000, 2011 MCs too have shaved pussy.


48 Even though this quote is referring to men and MCs, the language is very sexual and gives pornographic qualities to the female body. Erotic and pornographic langua ge, even used when describing men creates damaging stereotypes for women, even if women are not being discussed directly. This language and description of women gives chatte constructs an erotic identity. In a way, this kind of language teaches women about their own sexuality, through the descriptions of their bodies. Women and men alike do not have to create the notion of gender identity; it can be the sole description of the body that creates the image and the ideal of what women are. The description of body parts also creates a very specialized image of what sexuality is, and what the female is supposed to resemble. The lustful language and borderline obsession with women and the fem ale body gives the female body a sexual, eroticized quality that seems to define chatte refers to a part of the female sexual anatomy, it is still portrayed as erotic and explici tly sexual, especially when compared with the male sexual anatomy. Returning back to what was stated earlier on in Chapter 7 the female body is described with a more m genders both linguistically and culturally. The language associated with the female anato my and sexuality is often very erotic and detailed, but the sexuality of men is extremely different and much less erotic. This is likely due to the fact that men outnumber women in the rap world, and men are


49 describing women. If there were more women in th e rap world, gender and sexuality representations might be very different. Since men outnumber women in the rap world, naturally the atmosphere of gender is likely male centered and creates images and representations that usually benefit men. The focus on the content of the language is vastly different. Even though there are a lot of gender differences, roles and representations, it is important to say that not all gender differences are sexist. Men are women are biologically different, and because of that, behave very differently. Even though some lyrics and some texts might be sexist, and there might be some differences in gender, not all lyrics and not all difference is sexist. bite four times in comparison to the thirty four chatte does have many occurrences (50 occurrences) and as a result, male sexuality is discussed, it is not discussed as widely as female sexuality is. The corpus of rap texts g ives evidence to this, with the 34 occurrences of chatte The following table shows the occurrences of sexual body parts in the corpus. Table.6 1 O ccurrences of sexual body parts The French Word The English Word Number of Occurrences La Chatte Pussy 34 Les Seins Breasts 50 Le Cul Bottom, backend 50 Les Fessiers Bottom, Backend, Butt 2 La Bite Dick 24 Monte sur ma bite "mmmmm", t'auras le mal de mer (La Fouin e, La Fouine vs Laouni, Nhar Sheitan Click, 2004).


50 Here we see a man making demands of a woman and expressing his dominance over her. In this example, we see the construction of the male body. We see what defi nes the male body and male sexuality. From this construction of masculinity and sexuality, we see how it relates to female sexuality and femininity. This is not to say that there is no description of the female body in his sense, but, the example talking doing something to a female and he is dominant. Throughout this entire corpus, I saw no examples of a woman expressing sexual dominance over a man, culturally nor lingui stically. How do all of these descriptions of sexuality and the male and female bodies construct gender identities? We already know that the description of the male and female bodies is extremely different and serves different functions in relationship to sexuality. The description of the body is closely related to gender and sexuality and can influence social behaviors and personal identity. One result of the description of the female body might be the gender construction that women exist as sex objects. Even though it is arguable that rap is just entertainment, and listening to this music may not provoke listeners to commit hate crimes against women, it still creates an unflattering representation of women. It is also important to note that even though ma ny of the images of women in rap are unflattering, rap also creates negative images for men as well, not just women. Rap might create this sexualized, subordinate image of women, but it also has the potential to make male rappers look like power hungry and violent creatures. Through unflattering representations of both women and men, both genders alike might learn the idea of the sexual objectification through such popular culture


51 descriptions of their bodies. Women might learn through language and body des cription that they are objects of pleasure, and men might learn through the descriptions of their bodies that they are sexually dominant and as a consequence, can sexually objectify women who are less powerful and dominant than they are. How does this kind of attitude damage and condition gender? Sexual objectification is damaging to women and men because it legitimizes abuse and violence. Even though not all of these images and lyrics are explicitly violent, they can lead to violence, since the female body is seen as an object and the male body is depicted as powerful and dominant. It is important to say that violence seen in rap is not just limited to rap music, it is a cultural ideology that is also seen in television, film and the mainstream media (Wolf and Kielwasser, 1991: 111 128). In regards to television and in most other genres of media and programming, women hav e been largely underrepresented. This pattern of underrepr esentation dates back centuries. Even though women tend to be underrepresented, it is also important to examine how women are being represented, instead of how much they are seen in the media. In television, as in rap, there are fewer women than there are men, and tend to have a much narrower range of roles than what men do. This is also true in rap, since there are overall less female rappers, and less women in the executive domains that there are men, giving women less opportunity to hold positions of power both culturally in music and on a business or management level in the indust ry. Both the mainstream media and rap show evidence of inequality between men and women.


52 In the media, and in pornography, men tend to take a dominate role and women tend to be subordinate to men, serving as creatures of sexual pleasure at the convenienc e of men (Wolf and Kielwasser, 1991: 111 128). This type of representation is the most prevalent in pornography, specifically in relationship with scenes of coercive sex or sexual violence. Sexual violence might be prevalent in porn, but, some feminist w riters argue that in porn, women might exist as subordinate beings for the pleasure of men, and are willing to do any sexual act or take any male sexual advance Continued exposure to this genre of pornography might result in subordinate sexual role s in wo men or the dominant sexual role in men and consequently could lead to behaviors tha t reflect these beliefs. Here are a few more viewpoints on sexual violence and how it affects viewers. One viewpoint is that porn is harmless entertainment (Wolf and Kielwa sser 1991 : 111 128). It is harmless in the sense that it is just a form of entertainment and that it sexuality. The other viewpoint is that porn is damaging, and degr ades and deme ans the status of human females. Modern porn, according to feminists portrays women as sexually and socially subordinate to men and are dominated by men believe that ing with their partner S ome of these patterns are seen in rap. Rap and porn might be very about differences between men, women and sexism. After reading about both v iewpoints on sexual violence and violence in the media, it is important to discuss and define the problem being faced.


53 In the media, and in pornography, it is not so much the objectification of women that is the problem, but rather the violent attacks on them (Wolf and Kielwasser, 1991: 111 128). Even though there is limited empirical evidence and research on violence in porn, there is research that emphasizes the narrow, but highly stylized content of porn motes highl y masculine behavior. Research shows that exposure to degrading; sexually explicit material does have an effect on viewers, both men and women. The effects include desensitization towards rape, r ape victims and sexual violence. Research also shows that exp osure to degrading material was as likely as violent material to increase the likelihoo d in males to want coercive sex. Another study, using college women showed that when exposed to either violent or degrading porn, the women were more likely to experienc e mood disturbances and had more negative feelings towards rape victims than people who were exposed to non violent, non degrading porn. Men who were exposed to violent porn, with coercive sex were more likely to view rape victims as sexually promiscuous Women who were exposed to violent porn were more likely to be more accepting of permissiveness after seeing violent or coercive sex. It is true that there is a lot of sexual violence in pornography; it is also true that violence against women is also seen in a l ot of horror and slasher movies. Just like in pornography and in rap women are portrayed as subordinate to men. Subordination of women in slasher movies that contain sexually explicit material and receive adult or restricted ratings often focus on t he victimization and subordination of women (Wolf and Kielwasser 1991: 111 128). In these types of films, women are more likely to be po rtrayed as victims than men are. It is not to say that men are never


54 portrayed as victims, but in general, women are mo re likely to be portrayed this way (Wolf and Kielwasser, 1991: 111 128). It is also relevant to point out that in violent or torture scenes involving women, the scene is more likely to be longer and more drawn out than what a torture scene involving a man would be. This is evidence that culture creates sexism, and sexism exists in all forms of media. Rap might create a sexist atmosphere, but, rap is not the sole culprit for all things sexist. Sexism is a cultural ideology that permeates in many other domai ns. It is arguable that rap is just entertainment, and in some that ways, that is true. Rap might be a form of entertainment, but it is still a reflection of a culture and set of stem and how it believes women are viewed and how they should be treated (Adams, Fuller, 2005: 938 957). With that being said, it is important to discuss how media affects men and how these messages affect behaviors and attitudes. Returning to pornograph y and sexual violence, we will discuss how regular women. Research has shown that the exposure of media depictions of rape, in which the woman is responsible for their o wn rape, or if appears to enjoy her assault, can result in many different cognitive reactions to rape and violence in both men and in women (Wolf and Keilwasser: 129 157). Research shows that women who are sexually assaulted, but have a positive reaction to their assault produces less sensitivity to rape from men and an increased acceptance of rape myths and interpersonal violence Another view about the effects of violent pornography is that it could potentially teach men how to perform anti woman acts, a nd relay the ir inhibitions about these acts. This


55 could also condition men to experience arousal in reaction to violent sexual acts (Wolf and Keilwasser: 129 157). One particular study examined positive and negative rape portrayals in film and in porn. T his study examined pornographic films in which the woman was either aroused, or was abhorred by her attack (Wolf and Keilwasser: 129 157). These depictions of sexual assault and rape changed how the viewer percei ved sexual assault and attacks. When the vi ctim became aroused by her attack, the viewers saw it as a justification for the attack. The experiments showed that changing the outcome of rape affects th e way the attack was understood. Even though these portrayals of rape affected the attitude the view er had towards rape, it did not give any evidence saying the viewer would go out to commit violent sexual acts or rap e. Even though the likelihood of one of the listeners committing a rape is not very high, the material did still affect their attitude towa rds rape and women, whi ch is damaging. Now that we have discussed the representation of the female body and the effects of violent media, we are going to discuss sexual violence potentially caused by the objectifying description of the female body in cult ure, including rap. Language in misogynistic rap has the potential to express the idea that violence against women is acceptable. The language of misogynistic rap desensitizes the audience to sexual harassment, violence, abuse and exploitation (Adams and F uller, 2005: 938 957). It legitimizes the lack of support and mistreatment and degradation of women (Adams and Fuller 2005: 938 957). The style of language and the description of the female body makes violence seem permissible Examples of violence agains t women are found all over French/Francophone rap.


56 The first topic discussed regarding violence will discuss language associated with rape. It is interesting to note that the language describing rape is coming from a man, giving a male perspective on viol ence against women. Some rap might have misogynistic lyrics, but not all rappers are sexist or violent. Rap is a very complex culture, that has many layers and there are many different artists, both men and women, who offer many different perspectives Les hommes sont des gros btards envers les femmes. Ils leurs mentent, les trompent, les forces, les violent et les frappent. (Disez la Peste, Disez The End, Le monde sur mesure, 2009). Men are bastards toward women; they lie to them, cheat on them, forc e the m, rape them and hit them. In this example, the artist, who is a man, is speaking out against rape. He is saying that men do not treat women well; they lie, betray, force, rape and hit. This specific example does not glorify or promote violence, but inste ad, it is speaking in defense of women from the male perspective. This is evidence that even though the rap culture can be misogynistic, not all music is hateful. In this example, there is some subtle description of the female body, but it is in a differe nt light. From th is angle, we see the male perspective on violence and how it is felt by other men. This quote is evidence to the complexity that exists in rap. It shows that while there might exist violence; there are many different artists who speak out against it. It is important to note that in comparison to women, there is not much, if any sexual violence against men. It is also important to say that in rap there is lewd sexuality and objectification, but not always violence, but the two can be correl ated. This means that lewd sexuality and violence may not be the same thing, but lewd sexuality could instigate sexual violence. Next this thesis will


57 It is also important to note how when wome n are talking about issues and problems specific women, their gender identities change. Since this quote comes from a woman, it shows solidarity and power from women and shows that violence against women is not okay. It gives women the opportunity to work together and communicate their ideas and work against violence. This quote goes against the mainstream constructions of the female body and the permissible attitude towards violence. Another quote by a woman that speaks out against rape is by an artist c This quote speaks of solidarity and working against rape, violence and aggression. Viol, Agression, Ma seule et unique compensation est que je suis ne une femme es Juste un sentiment de devoir humaniste Super expose je fais mes thses bien exposes (Bams, Douleur de Femme, Vivre ou Mourir 1999). Rape, aggression my only compensation is that I was born a woman, T he man must have the obligation in his soul, if I gather all, U nited together as women, I exposed, I m ake my arguments very explicit. This quote brings light to violence against women perspective. It also shows solidarity and wants women to stand together to speak in their own defense and to stand up to violence. This style of language brings another representation to the female gender. Women working together have the power to construct their own bodies and identities from their own perspectives and realities that


58 are different from the dominant, mainstream culture. This style of language surfaces the problem to the mainstream and strives to show that violence is no t acceptable in any form. violer ( rape) is used by female artist s and there are not as many uses by male artists. This could mean two different things. To start off, this could mean that rap music is becoming less sexist an d violence is less prevalent, especially when being compared to American rap music. It could also mean that rap music is empowering for women, and it gives them the opportunity to speak out against violence and to defend themselves against predatory men. B oth of these examples are are speaking about men, these perspectives are coming from the point of view from a woman. Linguistically, these examples fight against sexism in music because in the text the women speaking are using words that are associated with power. Even when talking about men, they do not use language that is hateful or degrading. (women united together). This language suggests that women are working together to get something accomplished. In other examples of the corpus, when men are describing women, they are often (but not always) putting them into a group and marginalizing them, or sin gling them out. Even though it is true that not all men are sexist, the climate and the language of rap music creates a sexist and unequal atmosphere for women. Music gives women the opportunity to speak out against unequal social structures in society. Even though the language of rap might create a sexist atmosphere for women, it also can be empowering for women to communicate ideas and beliefs through music.


59 Chapter 8 will focus on how rappers portray women in the domestic world, and will focus more spe cifically on mothers and fathers.


60 CHAPTER 8 DOMESTIC WORLD: The focus of this chapter will also be on gender differences in lan guage, but on a different level, it will talk about the language associated with mothers, fathers and domesticity. Male rappers respect their mothers more than any other women in their lives. Male rappers also respect their wives; women gain more respect when they are married and have children, compared to situations where a woman might have a child outside of marriage. If a woma n has a child, her image changes and becomes more positive. It is also important to discuss the language associated with sisters and girlfriends and other female family members. Male rappers have a different perspective and a different way of describing wo men that are their family. Next, the last part of Chapter 8 will dissect the language male rappers use when talking about their mothers and how it is positive and how it functions in gender differences of language. Both mothers and fathers will be compared to show the differences. After studying this corpus, male rappers have very little, if anything, negative to say about their mothers. French rap might have a sexist climate at times, but the mentality changes completely when mothers are involved. Dans cette pluie battant je pense ma maman ma tante A cette mauvaise pente, l'insuli ne et a me hante a me hante ( MC Solaar a me hante Mach 6, 2003). I n this driving rain, I think of my mother and my aunt, at this terrible slope, at insulin, that haun ts me, that haunts me. This example shows the adoration the male rapper has for his mother. Maman sche tes larmes Je sais qu'j'ai construit de mes propres mains cette galre dans laquelle on rame Encore un mois sans la tl Les courriers se font rare c omme les pointeurs qu'on a mll Forfait NEO on s'endort au portable J'pense l'avenir mais j'essaie qu'la


61 poisse m'attends devant le portail Promis bb ma sortie j'ferais des efforts (La Fouine, La Fouine vs. La Laouni, ,2011). ears momma, I know that this hell that we are struggling through, another month without tv, the post comes rarely like the timekeepers that mailed it, The compensated by NEO, we sleep on the phone, I think of the future, but there is bad luck waiting me at the door, baby I promise when I The language associated here with this example is gentle and less violent and harsh when compared with other language when speaking about women. It is also important to recognize the contrast be tween how male rappers speak about their mothers in (dry your tears ) or (I promise baby when I leave I will make an effort) are g entler in comparison to the language associated with appreciation for their mothers; they also speak highly of women who are in close relationship with them, such as gi rlfriends, wives and sisters. We see the affection Since rappers have affectionate and respectful towards mothers, wives and girlfriends, it is also important to ta lk about domestic, family and relationship life. Mais depuis que maman n'est plus l, c'est lui qui c ourt derrire moi (La Fouine, La lumire La Fouine vs. La Laouni, 2011). But since mom is no longer here, it is she who runs behind me. The example is evidence of the respect and adoration that this rapper has for his mother. When quotes like the ones seen above are compared to ones in which words pute salope women. This sort o f language reinforces that rap is complex and has many layers. At


62 times, women are represented in a negative light as objects to use and abuse, and at the image of the Keny Arkana, a female rapper gives another insight into how women and the rap world in general feel about mothers. Reoit l'Amour de tes enfants qui veulent retrouver ton sein Qui viennent se connecter ensemble pour r etrouver le grand Un Qui ont conscience que nous sommes tout, et qu' la fois nous ne sommes rien Qu'on te doit tout chre maman, dj mre de nos anciens Pardonne le monde et son go, bien trop ingrat pour voir le bien Louons ta gloire et ta splendeur pou r prparer le Jour prochainTu es la reine, la mre ch rie, martyrise par nos engins (Keny Arkana, Alterlude Pachamama Dsobissance Civile, 2008,) Receive the love of your children who want to find your breast again, who come together who want to find again the great one, who are conscious that we are everything, and that we are nothing at the same time, that you owe all to your dear mother, already the mother of our ancestor, forgive the world and its ego, and already to ungrateful to see the good, pra ise your glory and splendor to prepare for the next day, you are the queen, dear mother, martyred for our devices. In order to linguistically dissect this excerpt, it is imp ortant to recognize all of the words l chre (glory), chrie reine but also very respectful, almost to the point of worshipping mothers. Even though language like this is positive for w omen, it also reinforces stereotypes of motherhood. This language might be positive, but it reinforces an image of women that could be interpreted by some as negative. It is also interesting that language like this is coming from another woman, which is al so another way to fight against sexism in the rap culture. Love and respect coming from other women, is empowering and has the


63 supporting and promoting each other can be positiv e in working against negative stereotypes. In this exceprt, Diams (a female French rapper) shows how important it is for women to respect themselves. The language Diams is using shows that she has respect for women and herself, which was something that she learned from her mother. Je suis hargneuse pas chanceuse, donc je ne vous doit rien.Je suis gentille moi, je Mais respecte toi et on te res maman. (Diams, Si c SOS, 2009). I am a rapper not a singer that everyone likes, I am fierce not a singer and I do not owe you anything. I am nice and I do get mad often, but as my mother told me, respect yourself a nd others will respect you. I n this excerp t, respect is associated with mothers. The mother is teaching her daughter about self respect. This quote shows that women working together and showing each other in a positive light can go against negative stereotypes in rap. Not only is this language em powering for women, but it also confronts the rap culture and how men think of women. There are very few, if any examples where men speak ill of their mothers in this corpus which suggests that sexism is only domain specific and does not exist in all domai ns of rap. Not everything in the rap world is sexist or demeaning. Not all language connected with women is vulgar or violent. Women have many different roles within music lyrics and some are seen more positively than others. It is also important to discu ss how sisters and other female family members are described, as a way to give an insight into how rappers feel about their family, and how domestic language involving women differs from other language. The first example describing sisters and family is in a song by Rohff.


64 Ma soeur, mon frre, on va le faire, on va le faire On a la foi, la richesse de la misre Les yeux de la banlieue, on voit Claire On assume notre sort, on va tous se refaire Ma soeur, mon frre on est fort, on va le faire (Rohff, La Cu enta, On va le faire, 2010). My sister, my brother, we are going to do this; we are going to do this. We have faith, richness from misery, in the eyes of the suburbs, we see clearly, we assume our exit, we are all going to do this over again, my sister, m y bro ther, we are going to do this. This example of language associated with family and domesticity has words that are tous notre suggesting that the family is one collective unit that will work together. It is important to necessarily be talking about his biologic al family; it could easily be referring to his changes the description and the words associated with the woman. Rappers talk about their sisters in a similar, but different way than they do their mothers, but regardless, the language associated with family members is much less explicit than it is with other types of women. As a way of providing even more evidence about domesticity and mothers, it is also impor tant to talk about how fathers are represented. It is clear that mothers are respected in the rap culture, and in the language of rap, however, the image and representation of fathers is much different. Some male rappers feel an intense hatred and disrespe ct towards their fathers, especially those were absent or were not present during childhood, or when needed the most. La Fouine, a male rapper, demonstrates the disdain male rappers feel for their fathers.


65 Et si je garde en moi toutes les blessures du pa ss tout ce que tu as fait pour moi Dans mon jardin secret les mauvaises fleurs ont toutes fanes bas l bas pour to par (La Fouine, Papa, La Fouine vs. La Laouni, ,2011 ). And if I keep in all the wounds from the past, it is to remind me of all that you have done for me, in my secret garden, the bad flowers have all withered, time leaves by the love that I have for you, just a word Dad, I will go there for you, Dad the time all goes by for the love that I have for you. In order to linguistically dissect this excerpt, it is important to make note of the words les blessur les mauvaises par (no love). These words are associated with negativity, but some of the associations are also positive. This shows that not all language associated with fathers is b ad, it can also be positive. The combination of the positive and negative images shows that the relationship that La Fouine has with his father is complex, and not completely negative or positive. Even though the way La Fouine is talking about his father is both positive and negative, it is still evidence that men and fathers are represented in a way that is much different than mothers and women. The language expressed gives a perspective on how the father is perceived. The language associated with fathe rhood often gives a feeling of deep loss and male rapper. Papa mais t'tais o ?! Le jour o je suis n Aujourd'hui maman ne cesse de me dire qu'on a l'mme gros nez J'ai vu une photo d'elle et d'un homme, jeune panouie Elle avait le mme regard qu'elle porte sur moi, seule bahie Papa Elle te connait, elle te dteste je sais Moi c'est pire j'te connais pas et je te dteste tu sais Mais t'tais o ?! Le jour de mes 1 ans mes premiers pas, quand j'comprenais rien Mes annes passent et devant l'cole Le pre d'Alpha vient toujours me dire 'Bonjour' franchement il est cool Et en classe, de quoi j'ai peur et honte ton avis ?Une question trs


66 trs gnante, 'Qu'est ce que to n pre fais dans la vie ? Tel pre, tel fils 2010). But Dad, where were you the day that I was born? Today, Mom always tells me that we have the same big nose, I saw a picture of her and a man, young, beamin g. She had the same look that she has for me, only dumbfounded. She knows you dad, she hates you, I know. You know that okay, one question that is very irritating, what does your dad do in life? Again, from this excerpt we will point out different words that are associated with fathers dteste peur h onte gnante (irritating, troublesome). This language creates the image of hatred or even fear of fathers. It takes away from male dominance in rap, suggesting that a lot of male complexes and dysfunctions of sex and women could be correlat ed to absent father s. Absent fathers, shame, fear and hate, what do all of these words mean? It might be true that there are some songs, where the artist does not have anything bad to say about their fathers. While it might be true that male rappers see th eir fathers negatively in some contexts, it is also important to point out that there is a difference between the absent father and the father who is present. The following excerpt will show a positive representation of a present father, providing evidence that not all images of fathers are negative. Tu restes mon pre pour le meilleur et pour le pire des baskets nos pattes gifl le prof de math Laouni weld bladi Boom Boom les keufs viennent me lever venu au parloir car les hommes se cache pour pleurer Mais on reste tous les mmes Papa tu es pardonn Ce qui est dit est dit ce qui est fait est fait dans mes larmes pour crire ce couplet (La Fouine, Papa, Fouiny Baby, 2011 ).


67 I put in this rap what I did not know how to tell you, You wi ll be my father for better or for worse, you woke up every day at five in the morning to make sure we had shoes on our feet, but despite that, I still lashed out at my math still am never came to the visiting room because the men hide themselves to cry. said was did, and what is done is done. I soak ed my pen i n my tears to write this verse. This quote gives a complex, multi layered view of how the rapper feels about his father. He speaks about a man who woke up at five in the morning every day to make sure that he had shoes, but also talks about how is father never came to see him in jail. La Fouine also goes on to say that h is father is forgiven for what he has done, what is said is said and what is done is done, and he is willing to forgive him. This quote shows the positive side of how fathers are represented when they are present, but also a negative, complicated side of the relationship that male rappers have with their fathers. La Fouine adult) but also grate ful for being there for him when he was a child. We also see another example of the positive influence of a father who is present. Avec le temps va tout s'en va mais pa s l'amour que j'ai pour toi papa Ddi aux frres qui ont eu un pre comme le mien, qu i s'cassait le dos taffer du matin au soir courrait derrire la gloire ( La Fouine, Papa, Fouiny Baby, 2011). With the time that goes on but not the love that I have for you Dad. Dedicat ed to the brothers who have a father like mine, who breaks his back working from night to morning. Dedicated to the sisters who have a dad like me, who works from morning to night running behind glory. This quote gives a positive representation of fathers, but it is also important to point out


68 present father. Some of the examples might be complicated or multi layered, but are rarely negative. In general, male rappers do have negative feelings towards fathers who are present, but absent fathers tend to have the most negativity associated with them. Overall, the representation of the father is complex, having both positive and negative sides. Next, I will compare mothe rs and fathers and how the contrast between the two effects women. What does this comparison, between mothers and fathers say about women? First, the type of language associated with mothers and fathers is very different. The language used to describe mot hers is very gentle, soft and associated with respect. Some language associated with mothers is often very stern, strong, and even masculine. This gives a different perspective on how women are viewed in rap culture. The language associated with women as m others is much different and contradicts the language associated with women in other domains of the culture. Much of the other language associated with women was hateful, disrespectful, and even violent at times. When talking about mothers, male rappers ta ke an entirely different perspective on women, domesticity and motherhood. In comparison with mothers, fathers have an entirely different role. In the rap culture, men are the more dominant, strong, and powerful figures. Even though there are many female artists, men dominate rap; so naturally, they have the most power and influence. This image changes completely when male rappers talk about their fathers. father is repea ted often. In the corpus of rap texts, papa/pre occurs fifty times, and


69 over half of those occurrences had negative associations. This suggests that while rap might not be entirely hateful towards fathers, but on the whole, fathers are not as appreciated as mothers are. This image is also very contradictory in the rap world. Male rappers seem to view their fathers as low, and untrustworthy, especially those fathers who were not around during their childhood. The typical gendered roles that we see in rap a re completely turned opposite when talking about mothers and fathers. The roles and ideals change completely when talking about domesticity. The language associated with these two figures also changes completely. When rappers talk about women, who are not their mothers, the language that they use tends to be very sexual and explicit, thus placing them in a subordinate status to men. Men also talk about other men differently, and tend to express their power and dominance in their language and lyrics. This al so changes completely, when men talk about their fathers. Now that this thesis has discussed the language associated with the two genders and how the language functions in rap music, and in the rap culture, the next part will discuss the effects of this la nguage, genderism and sexism and their roles in rap. Not only does this music and language affect the rap world and genderism within language and music, it also affects society. Music is not just music, and language is not just language. It affects people in ways that they do not even realize. As a way of showing how language and rap affects people and languages and the different representations between men and women, Chapter 9 will examine the difference between male and female rappers.


70 CHAPTER 9 FEMALE RAPPERS It is important to note that in the world of rap, there are far more male rappers as many women as there are men. The lack of women in rap does not mean that women are insignificant to rap. As pointed out at the beginning of this thesis, women have contributed in many different ways; musically, artistically and culturally. There are four main female artists from the corpus that will be discussed in Chapter 9 ; D Bams, Keny Arkana and Black Barbie. 333). The main themes in her music are social issues and peace and equality in a world that is horribly unjust. She is one of the main female figures in the current wo rld of rap. Her music and style go against what is the mainstream for women and she speaks out against social problems and provides a positive image for women in rap. Her music is explicit and she is not afraid to express her anger against unfair social structures and other societal and cultural problems, such as globalization, global warming and environmental problems, classism and unfair political practices. The next artist cited in the corpu s is Bams. Bams is different from other female artists, because she is one of the rare female artists who has her own solo career (Perrier 2010: 234 333). She is similar to Keny r social structures in her music. She speaks out against the demands and expectations of


71 her music. She is best known for her messages about world peace and promoting openness to other cult ures. Lastly, we will discuss Diams. Like Bams, Diams is a voice for women in a masculine world (Perrier 2010: 234 333). Diams is best known for her unwillingness to fit into th e gendered stereotypes of women. She presents herself in a way th at goes against the mainstream way of representing media, choosing not to be an object in a magazine and speakin g out on violence against women. She is an idol and a positive image for women. W hile Bams and Keny Arkana express unfair social and political problems, it is also important to talk about Black Barbie. cases she even dominates and criticizes men, going against what is typical for many women in rap. This is shown in the following excerpt. Reste en chienne Ton gars te maltraite on t'avait dit de le larguer Reste en des talons tu galre pour avancer Reste en chienne Ta coucher avec quel patron pour tr e mieu payer? Reste en chienne T tellement grossire qu'il faut te mettre une muselire Reste en chienne T tomber enceinte tu sais mme pas qui es le pre. Reste en chienne sur l remix de black barbie te en chienne sur l remix de black barbie Reste en chienne un dans la cave ta fait des trucs louchent avec tes mains avec ta bouche Pourquoi tu portes plainte pour viol c'est toi qui a voulu qu'il te touche (Black Barbie, Reste en Chienne Black Barbie Sty le, 2007). Be a bitch, your guy treats you bad, he told you about his size, be a bitch, you did listen, he started over, be a bitch, you put on heels, you sweat blood to advance, you slept with what boss to be better paid? Stay a bitch, you are so fat tha t he should put you in a muzzle, stay a bitch, you got Barbie remix, and I repeat to you again, if you did not understand, stay a bitch, stay a bitch in a basement, you did dirty thing s with your hands and with your mouth, why are you complaining about your rape, it was yo u that wanted him to touch you.


72 This excerpt reverses gender expectations of women. Black Barbie is extremely tions, and in a sense, is describing women in a derogatory way. This shows that it is not only men who are It is ev en more shocking at the lyrics could be evidence of two things: the desensitization of vi olence and rape, sexual violence towards women and also the idea that women are sexually aggressive, out to get men and are lack Barbie is sexually forward. Music created by women has a different style and attitude to it, and that affects how women are represented within the lyrics. It is also important to point out the linguistic differences and the style of rap between men an d women. When compared to women, men tend to be much more threatening and violent. Even when looking at an artist like Keny Arkana, or Black Barbie who is extremely aggressive, she is not as aggressive as an artist like Booba or La Fouine. To show this, w e will compare some examples of lyrics. La rage, car c'est la merde et que ce monde y adhre, Et parce que tous leurs champs OGM strilisent la Terre La rage pour qu'un jour l'engrenage soit bris Et la rage car trop lisent Vrit sur leur cran t lvis. La rage car ce monde ne nous correspond pas, Nous nourrissent de faux rves pour placer leur rempart La rage car ce monde ne nous correspond pas, O Babylone s'engraisse pendant qu'on crve en bas (Keny Arkana, La Rage Entre Ciment et Belle to ile, 2006).


73 OGM fields sterilize the earth. The rage, because one day the gears will be broken. The rage for the that does not correspond with us, and the rage for reading too understand us, feeding us with false dreams to put up their shield, where Babylonia gets fat and we die below. When looking at this example, we see words like rage (rage) and bris (broken), which are both angry words that exemplify her anger and hatred for unfair social structures and poverty. Even though she is one of the most aggressive female rappers, she is still not as intense as some male rappers are. Take for example, the following s ong Ind pendent by Booba. lvres sur la beute Et c'e st bandant d'tre indpendant (Booba, Indpendant, Temps Mort, 2006). Entire pages for a violent death guaranteed. I create the riot, my knife covered with blood, faggot. I make red fall on the floor. And it is a turn on to be independent. In this excerpt, we see words such as mort e violent e (violent death), feutre imbib de sang (knife covered in blood) and J'te descends du rouge lvres sur la beute ( I make red fall from your lips). When compared to Keny Arakana, this language is more violent and aggressive. Arkana might be aggressive, but her style and the language associated with her is nothing like the violence and aggression created in this song. There are differences between the kind of anger and aggression between Keny Arkana and Booba, and they cannot all be blamed on gender. It is also due to the fact that they are both rapping about entirely different subjects. Keny Arkana has explicit reasons to be music might be more aggressive, but Booba, and men in general tend to rap about


74 different subjects. Women tend to rap more about social, political and personal issues. Some male rappers rap about social issues, but tend to have more street violence associated with them. Even though there are instances where women are aggressive and angry, it is also important to talk about music that supports women, with language known to create positive music that supports women. appers, often raps in a way that promotes respect and solidarity amongst women. She uses languages that is empowering, that promotes respect for both men and women, for example: Tu veux tre le roi? Tu veux tre le prince? Traite moi comme il se doit, trai te moi comme une princesse. Tu veux tre le mal, tu veux tre le boss? Traite moi comme une femme et j'te traiterais comme un homme. Traite moi comme une reine, un coup de love un coup de rve et j'pourrais crever pour toi. Mais si on fait a dans les rve s est ce que toi mon homme tu pourrais crever pour moi? Rose de Bitum S.O.S. 2009). Do you want to be the king? Do you want to be the prince? Treat me like you should, treat me like a princess. Do you want to be bad, do you want to be the boss? Treat me like a woman, and I will treat you like a man. Treat me like a queen, with love and I will die for you. But if I do that in my dreams my man, would you die for me? In this excerpt, we see a lot of language associated with power and respect. Words such as (king) (prince) (boss) and (queen), all of which are words associated with power and respect. This type of language puts men is t alking about love and respect here, empowering both men and women. As we have talked about the four female artists that are in the corpus, it is also important to note that there are linguistic differences between men and women. Since men and women learn gender differently, they will naturally speak and express


75 than what men are. Men are usually expected to be more direct and less concerned with politeness and social grace The women studied from this corpus go completely against what is expected and stereotyped. In most of the music, the women directly express the issues they choose to discuss, in ways that are fearless and do not always meet the stereotype of feminity. K is extremely aggressive and she is fearless about speaking her mind. This kind of attitude goes against gender norms expected women. The same also goes for Diams and Bams. Their music is not ut nonetheless, both of these women have their own way of going against what is normally expected of women in the mainstream world. It is important to note that not all men are sexist and not all women are feminists. The language used in this corpus, in r ap music, and in language in general constructs gender differences and unequal power between genders. Music produced from men, by men is a reflection of a patriarchal society. There are gender differences in language. Rap is evidence to these differences t hat can be both sexist and damaging, but at the same time, depending on the case are positive and empowering for women. Since women do work in rap, they are given the opportunity to a work together with men to create music that is neither sexist nor misog ynistic. Rap is not just music; it is a reflection of a society, social structures and a culture.


76 CHAPTER 10 LINGUISTIC WOUNDING Music is a reflection of social, cultural, political and economic structures. Gender ed language and gender differences do ex ist in rap and the language that it than not, male and masculine identities make women invisibl e. It might be true that some female identities exclude men and violate their identities, but this happens much more rarely than what male identities and male constructions do to women. Female gendered differences are much different than their male peers. Women are often represented in ways that are very unflattering and because of that, they are pushed into a more subordinate positi on in society than what men are. This is shown to be true in the putain pute salope (bitch) or chienne (bitch) which places women into a less prestigious and less powerful category than men are. Even though there are some positive images of women and female rappers, they are still the minority in rap and still suffer from negative stereotyping. and they are plentiful. In situations involving media, the language constructing gender creates extremely stereotypical gender features (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). In the case of rap in this corpus, we see this in the differences between men and women. Women are constructed into


77 and sexually aggressive. While there are some unflattering representations of women, there are also positive ones, such as the representatio n of mothers, girlfriends, wives and sisters. Gender constructions for both men and women are highly stereotyped and place men and women into different categories, which can be damaging both socially Gen der labeling has a risk to damage and to wound the image both men and women in rap (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). Certain labels ca n cause more damage than others. For instance, in this corpus, women are more often labeled with more gendered words such as pute, salope, chienne putain though the word woman is a gendered word and has behavioral expectations associated with it, more rigidly gendered word putain more linguistic wounding and damage. identity is established and may be a platform in which normal gendered ideas and th eories are created. This holds true in the corpus, wi th all of the different associations and contexts that we see with such extreme gendered words. This means that the language associated with gender and sexuality is closely tied to linguistic wounding. There are two different types of wounding. The first type of wounding is the idea that from birth there is unfair gender treatment and bias, and people do not get to choose their gender (Motschenbacher 2010: 123 179). From birth, people lear n how to behave as men or women. The second type of wounding is the idea that gendered ideas and stereotypes are unavoidable. To be successful in society, one must conform


78 to what the gender expectation is. We see this in the corpus because there are very few men or women who are actually prepared to go against these gende r norms. Even though there are women rappers, and women speaking out against violence and misogyny, they do not appear to adhere to gender norms. Men do not seem as if they are violating the gender norms either. The corpus offers some examples of homosex uality and men who are not stereotypically masculine, but these examples are not typical. There are different messages that gender constructions portray. The first of these messages is the idea that people obtain their identities through gender roles (Mot schenbacher 2010: 123 179). Women are portrayed as lesser beings and are prototypical m embers of certain social groups. Men can be seen as negatively, but are usually not perce ived as negatively as women are.


79 CHAPTER 11 CONCLUSION We arrive to the concl usion to what all of these findings mean. French rap creates stereotypes for women that are both sexist and oppressive to women. In Chapter 2, the role of women in rap was discussed as a way to show that it is not just men who create rap; women create musi c too and contribute to the rap culture. By way of supporting my claim that French rap is sexist, the next part of this thesis dissected the many forms of misogyny and how they create an oppressive atmosphere for women in rap. Next, the many images and co nstructions of women were discussed and how they affect women socially and linguistically. The language associated with women and the constructions created for both men and women create an imbalance of power between the two genders, giving men more power t han women. This claim is supported by linguistic evidence in the corpus, since the language associated with men was more closely related with power and dominance, and the vocabulary associated with women was much more submissive, domestic and sexual. This thesis also discussed gay men and homosexuality as a way to show that there are gender differences in language and that the treatment and linguistic constructions of homosexuality are similar to that of women and to how gender is constructed. The treatmen t of homosexuality also shows the sexist climate of rap music. The way gay men and lesbians are treated often reflect upon gender roles and how men and women are expected to act, and the corpus of rap texts shows this. hly sexualized and in many situations, men


80 more with beauty and sexuality and physical attractiven much as more powerful and dominant. The male body had very little focus on physical attractiveness, but more on power and strength. Next this thesis discussed violence against women and gay men, as way to further explain that there is an unequal balance of power between men and women. Lastly, we compared men and women in the relationship to mothers and fathers in the domestic world. We saw that in th is domain, women are more associated with power and strength. This could be due to the image of the absent father in rap music. The absence of fathers creates a situation in which the mother has to be strong in order for the survival and happiness of her c hildren and family. This is a situation in which men and women go against the stereotypical gender constructions. Women were portrayed as more powerful and dominant figures, while men were portrayed as absent, weaker figures. The last section of this thesi s discussed the representation of female rappers in comparison to male rappers. Even though there might be a strong presence of female rappers, men still outnumber them. Women might contribute in the rap industry, but they are still not as numerous as men. This is also true in music. Women might produce some aggressive, angry music, but they are still not as angry and aggressive as men are. This imbalance of power puts women in a more subordinate position to men. After all is said and done, this corpus i s evidence that there is deep and problematic sexism in rap. Even though the sexism may not always be explicit or direct, it exists due to much misogynistic discourse and the repetitive idea of male dominance


81 and female submissiveness. It is important to take a feminist approach to rap, because even though these lyrics might appear to be just entertainment, there is more to it. Take for instance, the violence seen in the corpus of rap texts. As stated earlier, violence does affect viewers. I am not trying to say that if someone sees a violent act on television, or in a film that they are going to commit a murder or a rape, but it does change the attitude towards violence. Repeated exposure to violence does change the perspective on violence, often desensit izing listeners to the effects of violence. It is also true that when listeners were exposed to degrading images of women, made violent acts towards women seem more permissible or acceptable. There were a lot of sexually degrading acts about women in the c orpus of rap texts, which could change the attitude and perspective that the audience to this music has about women. While it may be true that not all men are sexist and not all women are fighting for feminism, but no matter what the perspective, sexism an d gender inequalities do exist in rap. The large majority of the lyrics in the corpus of rap texts created a sexist environment that made women subordinate to men.


82 APPENDIX GENDER AND ORIGIN OF ARTISTS Reference list of gender and origin for each artist in the corpus of rap texts Table A 1. List of gender and origin of artists in document. Artist Gender Country of Origin Ol Kainry Male France La Fouine Male Morocco Keny Arkana Female Argentina IAM Male France Booba Male France Canardo Male Morocco Rohff Male France Disiz La Peste Male France Mister You Male France La Rumeur Male France Bams Female Cameroon Diams Female French Black Barbie Female French Soprano Male French, Comorian descent Mc Solaar Male Senegal Oxmo Puccino Male Mali Ab d Al Malik Male Congo Kery James Male Haiti Male Male France France


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84 Gunter, Barrie Media Sex: What are the Issues ?. Mawah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. 80 157. IAM. Chez le Mac. cole du micro argent. RCA. Recorded in `1997. La Fouine. La La ouni.. Fouiny Gamos La Fouine vs. La La ouni. Recorded in 2007. La Fouine. Fouiny Juice. La Fouine vs. La Laouni RCA. Recorded in 2011. La Fouine. La Lumire La Fouine vs. La Laouni. RCA Recorded in 2011. La Fouine. La Fouine vs. La Laouni. RCA. Recorded in 2011. La Fouine. Papa. La Fouine vs. La Laouni. RCA. Recorded in 2011. La Fouine. Veni Vedi Vici. La Fouine vs. La Laouni. RCA. Recorded in 2011. La Fouine. Nhar Sheit an Click. La Fouine vs. La Laouni. RCA. Recorded in 2011. La Rumeur. Nom, Prnom, Identit. Regain de Tension.RCA. Recorded in 2004. La Rumeur. Paris nous Nourrit. Paris nous Affame Regain de Tension. RCA. Recorded in 2004. La Rumeur. P.O.R.C Regain de Tension. RCA. Recorded in 2004. Levinson, Richard. "Sexism in Medicine ." American Journal of Nursing. 76.3 (1976): 426 431. 13 Feb. 2012. Le Son Qui met la Pression. Lunatic. RCA. Recorded in 2000. Ttes Brles Lunatic. RCA. Recorded in 2000. MC Solaar. Ca me hante .. Mach 6. RCA. Recorded in 2003. Mister you. Je commence tours doux. Prsum Coupable. RCA. Recorded in 2010. Mister you. Vieux Mec. Prsum Coupable. RCA. Recorded in 2010. Motschenbacher, Heiko. Languag e Gender and Sexual Identity: Postcultarist Perspectives 29. Philadelphia: John Bejamins, 2010. 123 129, 169 179. Ol Kainry. La Faucheuse Iron Mic 2.0. RCA. Recorded in 2010. O'Neill, David. Explicit Lyrics: Toute la culture ou Presque Les Editeurs Libres, 2007. 27 28, 34 35, 93 94, 127 128. Perrier, Jean Claude Le rap francais: dix ans apres Paris: La Table Ronde, 2010. 331 333, 280 289, 234 243.


85 Phillips, Layli, K erri Morgan, and Dionne Stevens "Oppositional Consciousness within an Oppositiona l Realm:The Case of Feminism and womanism in rap and hip hop 1976 2004. Association of the Study in African American Life 90.3 (2005): 253 277. Print. Quinne, Ethne. "Who's the Mack?": The Performativity and Politics of the Pimp Figure in Gangsta Rap." Ca mbridge University Press 34.1 (2000):115 136. Rohff. On va le faire. La Cuenta. RCA. Recorded in 2009. Rohff. Machine De Guerre .. La Cuenta. R CA. Recorded in 2010. Sexi Les Chroniques du 75. Le Relai. RCA. 2008. CD. Tel Pre, Tel Fils. Recorded in 2010. Suad, Joseph, and Afsaneh Najmabadi. Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures: Family, Body, Sexuality and Health 3. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic, 2006. 28 35. Sweetser, Ev e. "Grammaticalization and Semantic Bleaching." Linguistic Society of America's Publish Platform. ( 1988): 389 405. 16 Feb. 2012. < h ttp://>. Wolf, Michelle and Alfried Kielwasser. Gay People, Sex and the Media. New York: The Ha worth Press, 1991. 19 35.


86 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jordin Patten French She is originally from egree in French from Bowling Green State University She plans on continuing her research on fall of 2012.