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Why Aren’t There More Female MCs? A Case Study in How Sexism Works

(I’ve been writing about feminism, MRAs, sexist language & culture over at MN-based op-ed co-op Opine Season all month; this piece is the most recent. I thought the community here might be interested, even if some of this “sexism is bigger than individual acts of misogyny” stuff might be kind of basic for many feminists; I just think that looking at why women are underrepresented in hip hop can be a useful lens for examining the mechanics of sexism. –Kyle/Guante)

A few years ago, I wrote a piece on sexism in indie hip hop, and it’s something that continues to get traffic to this day, possibly because there aren’t a ton of people talking about the issue. One part of that piece that I think deserves a closer look is representation. At every level of the game—from platinum-selling superstars to hungry indie rappers to basement hobbyists—men outnumber women by sizable, indisputable margins.

Of course, there are many great female-identified MCs—Psalm One, Invincible, Jean Grae, Lauryn Hill and more, plus locals like Maria Isa, Desdamona, Irenic, The Lioness, The Chalice, Dessa, Heidi Barton Stink, BdotCroc and others. But proportionately, there should be many more. And the explanations we so often hear—“hip hop is about aggression and women can’t do that as well,” or “girls would rather sing than rap” are just too shallow.

By taking a deeper look at why women are underrepresented in hip hop, I think we can shed some light on why ...

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