“The Lesson’s Beef with Women”: Misogyny in Online Hip-Hop Discourse

Chris Johnson-Roberson


Hip-hop has faced considerable criticism for its denigration and exclusion of women and LGBTQ artists and fans, although it is perhaps no more misogynist or homophobic than other aspects of contemporary popular culture (hooks 2004:55). Okayplayer, one of the largest online hip-hop communities, has seen considerable debates over questions of gender and sexuality; its members have noted that female artists are subject to unfortunate fates within discourse, such as being objectified, critiqued for ostensibly objectifying themselves, and finally excluded from discussion altogether. Employing discourse-centered online ethnography (Androutsopolous 2008) and the Bourdieusian notion of doxa (Bourdieu 1977), I analyze board members’ interactions with the artist Erykah Badu on the forum and their assessment of her controversial music video “Window Seat,” as well as internal debates over the causes and effects of misogyny on- and off-line. The evolving “gender wars” on OKP serve as a barometer of changes in discourse surrounding hip-hop and society as a whole.

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