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"Now I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger"

Title: "Now I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger": African American Femininities in Rap Music Lyrics.
Name(s): Pemberton, Jennifer M., author
Martin, Patricia Yancey, professor directing dissertation
Moore, Dennis, outside committee member
Quadagno, Jill, committee member
Padavic, Irene, committee member
Department of Sociology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation reports the results of a study about representations of (Black) women, sexuality, and gender relations in rap music lyrics. I explore the extent to which rap music lyrics reproduce or challenge gendered, racialized, and sexual stereotypes of African American women. I ask how men rappers differ from women rappers in depicting (Black) women and themselves. I show what qualities or practices, particularly sexual qualities and practices, are considered as feminine or womanly in rap music and hip-hop culture and how these qualities and practices are similar to or differ from mainstream gender hegemony. I examine whether and how rap music lyrics construct a hierarchical and complementary relationship between (Black) masculinity and femininity. I ask which feminine meanings and practices are treated as "pariah femininities" and point to features of hegemonic masculinity in hip-hop culture and the broader African American community. Finally, I ask whether and how gendering practices represented in rap music lyrics constitute resistant femininities and challenge White and middle-class gender hegemony. I created a database of rap songs on platinum albums with an original release date of 1984 through 2000. I randomly selected 450 songs from the sampling frame for content analysis. In general, I find that rap music both reproduces and contests prevailing gender, race, class and sexual ideologies and social structures. My analysis of rap lyrics suggests that many male rappers depict (Black) women as promiscuous sexual "freaks" and "bitches" who have sex with men for money and/or other material goods. In many lyrics, they describe their desire for and engagement in sexual activities with freaks and bitches, but they do not express respect. Some women rappers reproduce gendered and racialized stereotypes in their lyrics as well. Still, other women and men rappers challenge these negative images in their songs and offer alternatives. Instead of calling for a reserved or muted sexuality for African American women, a few women rappers depict themselves and other Black women in lyrics as sexually free, in control of their sexuality, and financially independent from men.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-2044 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Sociology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: March 18, 2008.
Keywords: Hegemonic Masculinity, Hip-Hop, Race, Gender, Rap Music, Hegemonic Femininity
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Patricia Yancey Martin, Professor Directing Dissertation; Dennis Moore, Outside Committee Member; Jill Quadagno, Committee Member; Irene Padavic, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Sociology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Pemberton, J. M. (2008). "Now I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger": African American Femininities in Rap Music Lyrics. Retrieved from