Music and Its Relation to Gender

Music is heard throughout the world and it is created by thousands of people. How does it truly define someone’s gender? Morgan argues that music is a dominant force throughout the world especially in the black community: “It must be confronted and understood, not simply condemned, as a step toward healing the pain that it both expresses and inflicts” (443). The quote explains in order to deal with any type of pain, the pain should be confronted. Music brings all types of people from different nationalities, attitudes, identities, and genders to one common thought; the enjoyment of music, but its pervasive lyrics puts the black community in crisis.

Music is created by various people throughout the United States and the rest of the world, but sometimes there is a discrimination of equal rights of men and women composers, singers, and musicians. For example, the ideal black person likes rap music with harsh words and tones. The ideal Caucasian person likes pop and techno music. All this falls under the category of gender in music which explains, as Alexis de Tocqueville describes, “…exposing black men’s pain” (447).

When a space exists in life men (or women) explore their pain. For example, Tupac Shakur examines his pain, drug addition, and fear which leads him to a jail cell. How can a person express his pain if the space provided is a locked jail cell? Yes, he is guilty of whatever crime he has committed, but it does not give the reality of exposing a “…black men’s pain” (447).

Today it is said that gender is really at the very core of popular music. The different genres, such as rhythm and blues, rock, and rap play a major role in today’s society. Music also effects how children grow up. Some children grow up to music listened by their mother or father bringing, as Santorum would say, “kids in a stable and loving environment” (Pg: 88). As they grow up, gender roles take place splitting the roles of a man and a woman.

The effects of music also take a role. A male sometimes prefers a more straight forward tone of music, while a female prefers a much emotional and direct tone of music. This brings up another issue in gender. For many people it is hard to believe that a man can like softer type music and a woman can like harder type music. For many, it is unheard of. From my experience in music and the way many people act in the world today, these genders roles blind them separating the preference of music and likeness. They are not seeing the creativity and originality of that musician, singer, or composer.

Morgan loves the power of rap music which she argues that music “is a symptom of crisis in the black community” (443). In my opinion, music is a means of self expression for people through many genres to express individual feelings and thoughts. Such gender roles are typical in gangster rap, but they can be taken up by men and females alike, for example, Pink in her song “Get This Party Started” and Eminem in “The Real Slim Shady”. Also, there are many cases where duet collaboration in gender happens throughout songs, such as Ja Rule featuring Jennifer Lopez “I’m Real” and Wayne Wonder Featuring Trina “For My Love”. This plays a gender role where vocalists are featured for a short period of time in a song for rappers and vise versa. These collaborations do not give one of the artists an equal role in the song limiting their ability to express the subject and meaning of the song.

There is another type of song that contains gender roles. These are love songs that have a general effect on people. Women are said to be emotional and open to express their feelings, but men are that way too. The difference is that men do not like to show emotion in public. Just think about rhythm and blues artist, such as Donell Jones “Where I Wanna Be” songs likes these shows the uncovering of emotion in a man which shifts genders roles of pain from the men to the women

Nowadays, music can lead to several of different things, such as murder. This is how bad gender roles plays in this world. Being a black female growing up to 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s music, I noticed the change of preference in music. Morgan argues that “Women are the unsung victims of black-on-black crime” (445). This is only true when you single out men, but in reality men are also victims to black-on-black crime. There is a greater seriousness to the gender roles of black-on-black crime. Tupac was shot when two men pulled up next to his Cadillac. How about Notorious B.I.G.?  He was also shot, but after a music industry party. Rap artists getting shot on different occasions create a problem of male gender roles on black-on-black crime.

Why relate music by others to gender issues? Do not create a place where women are dominant than men or vise versa. Create a place where gender issues are eliminated from the world and music of all kinds, including rap, is appreciated.

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