Pimps Up, Hos Down.

In an article by T. Denean Sharpley-Whitings’ article, PIMPS Up, Ho’s Down, she explores the engaging and heavily critical world of hip-hop and the canon of black females regarding their stereotypes of being “bitches, strippers, gold-diggers, and ho’s.” Sharpley discusses the hard bound truth behind the industry and the “greased up lens” that is causing so many young African American women to fall into the influential, if you will, trap of hip hop music. 

        This feminist response to the current pop culture world is also heavily influential in terms of empowering women to go out and make a name for themselves, rather than falling into the degrading world that surrounds this undeniably sexual industry. Unfortunately, she also discusses the concept that this degradation is very much tied to cultural aspects and it is hard to stray away from those ties.

One key selling point to her article is the fact that they did a study showing an insurmountable raise in consumption of drinking, drugs, and multiple sex partners, although the study only involved young women, in relation to the music industry. However, it is also important to look into the male aspect, because, as Sharpely states, males are very rarely taken into perspective and less emphasis is put upon them because “whats normal for boys is harmful to girls.”

Another point worth mentioning is the idea of women liking rap music but not liking the connotations involved within the music. This is seen often because women like to think that the words and demeaning culture of the hip hop industry may refer to other women, but of course “they’re not talking about me”. The same idea is conveyed in allowing African American men, rappers such as flava flav, to incorporate degrading content into their music, however if a white man were to convey the same message or language, it would be seen as morally and politically incorrect.

In general, the concepts behind the actual music hold various issues that lead into other problems, not just necessarily relating to feminist issues. In order to change the industry, we must take women’s and men’s rights, feminism, and cultural aspects into consideration and help change the industry into regarding these “pimps and hos” as improper and unacceptable terms to degrade women. 




Images & Videos

“Birthday Song”


These images are several of the many degrading images of women in the music video “Birthday song” by 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West. This music video degrades these women to “objects” rather than “subjects.” These women are simply seen as “props” in this music video. This video along with countless of other music videos reveal the ongoing sexual exploitation of colored women in the media. The dehumanization of women of color has become the “norm” in the hip-hop culture. Women of color are also stereotyped as “hypersexualized” and submissive. It portrays that the idea that women of color have a lack of “agency” and are controlled by hypermasculine men.

In Response to this music video “FAAN Mail” put together a short video explaining what they wanted for “their birthday.” This video contains several women of color taking a stand.  Although this film is rather short, it is uplifting and strongly portrays the message of what we look for in the future of our society and musical media.




Statistics Regarding Hypersexualized Women in the Media

Women have often played many roles in pop culture, indicating trends for both men and women. Yet we find so many women practically ‘pornified’ in many forms of media simply as a means of selling a product. Do the ends justify the means? Here are statistics from credible sources that will help you decide.

 According to a study by the University at Buffalo, the portrayal of women in popular media over several decades have become increasingly sexualized where as the portrayal of men in the media is not the at all the same way.The University at Buffalo’s research indicates that sexualized images of women in the media have “far-reaching negatives consequences for both men and women”.

The study involves the analysis of thousands of covers from the Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 to 2009. through the analysis of these covers Erin Hatton ,PhD, and Mary Nell Trautner, PhD, (assistant professors at the University at Buffalo) measure the changes in the sexualization of men and women in popular media over time.

The conclusion that these studies have shown are:

  • Eating disorders were on the rise due to feminine bodily dissatisfaction.
  • Increase in sexual harassment
  • Decreased sexual satisfaction among men and women

What the study has shown by analyzing 43 years of Rolling Stone’s covers, 11% of men were sexualized in the 1960’s. Whereas, women were sexualized at 44%. In the 2000’s men are sexualized at 17% and women are at 82%.

What Dr. Hatton and Trautner had concluded was ‘more problematic’ were how hyper-sexualized images in the media had become. The ways in which women are portrayed are not as sexy empowered artists or musicians but more as passive objects of someone’s sexual pleasure.

Other studies provided by the Girl Scout research institute and missrepresentation.org  (website based on a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom) include statistics of effects correlated with the hyper-sexualized degradation of women in the media.

  • Women are routinely degraded in everything from pop culture to casual conversation.
  • 90% of women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance.
  • 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat
  • Every 15 seconds a woman is battered
  • 1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they’ve been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner
  • 1 out of 4 college-age women have an eating disorder
  • Only 2% of women think they are beautiful
  • 65% or women or girls have disordered eating behaviors
  • In one week american teenagers spend 31 hours watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, 3 hours watching movies, 4 hours reading magazines, 10 hours online. That’s 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day!

Works Cited





Women’s Organizations

(NWBC) National Council of Negro Women is an organization for African American women and their mission is to support their families and communities.

 (NOW) National Organization for women is the largest organization of feminist activist.  NOW has 500,000 contributing members and its purpose is to bring about equality to all women.

 (YWCA) is one of the largest and oldest multicultural women’s organization. Has over 25 million members in 106 countries. The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

 (NCNW) National Council of Negro Women is an organization to support African American women and their families. This organization has reached 4 million women. This organization helps fill gaps that exist in their communities.

 (AAUW) American Association of University Women is an organization for women and girls that advancing their equality through advocacy (arguing for a cause), education, philanthropy (increase the well-being) and research.  AAUW is a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors.

 (ANWA) American Medical Women’s Association is an organization to advance women in medicine and improve women’s health.

 (AWC) Association for women in communications is an organization that advances women across all communications.

 The Center for Women’s Business Research is an organization that provides knowledge about women business owners and their enterprises worldwide. Providing the economic and social contributions of women-owned firms.

 (FWA) Financial Women’s Association is an organization recognizing women’s achievements in business and to encourage women to seek career opportunities in finance and business.

 (GFWC) General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an organization founded in 1890 with more than 100,000 members. This organization supports the arts, preserves natural resources, advance education, promotes healthy lifestyle, and encourages civic involvement and works towards world peace and understanding.

 Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization dedicated to girls to build character for success in the real world. Members have reached 3.4 million in the United States.

 Girls Incorporated is an organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Providing education to millions of American girls.

 (NAFE) National Association for Female Executives is an organization to advance women in the workplace.





Early History: The Hottentot Venus

Drawing of Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman

Drawing of Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman

In the 19th century in Europe, “freak shows” were social events that were a way of getting people together to gawk at the unusual human exhibits displayed there. Anyone with a physical “deformity” or anyone outside the physical “norm” were cast as freaks, placed on a pedestal for all to see. One particular subject of these freak shows was a south African young woman named Sarah “Saarjtie” Baartman (pronounced sar-kee). At that time, slavery was very common. Sarah was a slave to a Dutch farmer named Peter Cezar near Cape Town, which at the time was under British control. She left for London in 1810 after a  British man named Alexander Dunlop suggested she travel there with him to be displayed for “exhibition.”

Sketch of Sarah "Saartji" Baartman being gawked at by British men and women

Sketch of Sarah “Saartji” Baartman being gawked at by British men and women.

Starting in the 19th century, there was a heightened interest in the “other.” As the industrial revolution came into place, people were having more and more opportunities to travel overseas to experience other cultures unlike their own. This interest even influenced the art community (especially that which was centered in Paris) as artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse showed interest in the “other” in their art work. Paul Gauguin is known for leaving his family and career behind in Paris in order to pursue a new and exotic lifestyle in Tahiti. This interest in the other could be the reason why many people today fantasize about exotic women rather than women who are like them.

A painting done by Paul Gauguin in Tahiti in 1892.

A painting done by Paul Gauguin in Tahiti in 1892.

A very famous cubist portrait by Pablo Picasso titled "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" or "The Ladies of Avignon." The ladies here are sexualized (the models were prostitutes) and they wear african masks on their faces.

A very famous cubist portrait by Pablo Picasso titled “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” or “The Young Ladies of Avignon.” The ladies here are sexualized (the models were prostitutes) and they wear african masks on their faces.

Being an African woman, Sarah was seen by the Europeans as “exotic.” This was not only due to the color of her skin, but also because of some of the physical traits she had that were common of the women in her Khoisan tribe. The most striking bodily feature is her enlarged buttocks, which in the Khoisan community is a sign of beauty. In Europe, however, this feature was extremely rare and therefore regarded as different and something worth paying to view. This fascination for the buttocks could be a reason why the media today is also fascinated by it as well. It could be engrained in society’s mind as a symbol of fascination, fantasy, and desire from the very start. She also had an elongated labia minora (the outer flesh of the female genitalia) which hung about three or four inches below her vulva. This is another common physical trait of women of the Khoisan tribe, but it was definitely something extremely rare to the European public.

This is a photo of the preserved body of Sarah Baartman.

This is a photo of the preserved body of Sarah Baartman.