Female rappers work to spread empowerment one verse at a time

Opinion by JessBrusnahan

Flo Milli. Cardi B. Nicki Minaj. Megan Thee Stallion. Lizzo. Saweetie. I’ve named just a few, but each one of these female rappers have the incredible ability to fire up women everywhere and show them that they should be their most confident, powerful selves. I respect it 100 percent. 

Rap music is now one of my favorite genres. A couple years ago, I listened to a lot of country, so I never thought I’d get to this stage. Now here I am, blaring Lizzo’s “Like a Girl” while cruising down the interstate and singing every word. Yeah, there are probably people looking at me, but that’s just the power of Lizzo and so many other female rap artists: they make you want to feel their confidence. 

The industry wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, rap was for guys to write and guys to sing, period. There were women around, but they weren’t taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Even today, when I look through my queue, I’d say about 75 percent of the rap songs are by male rappers such as Eminem, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Post Malone and Migos. And would you look at that, I just listed several more male rappers than I did female. It’s almost sad, how intuitive my response is when I think of rap: male-dominated. 

I’m not the only one who loves rap music, even here in the Marian community. Out of the 200 students who answered the September Network survey, 119 said they listened to rap music. Out of those 119, 42 said they listened to female rappers more often than male rappers. I wasn’t surprised: Marian fosters a great sense of empowerment in girls that challenges them to stand up for themselves and make meaningful changes in the world. Still, if only 21 percent of Marian girls prefer to listen to music by their own gender, this means that the overall rap-loving population is much more divided. 

The female rappers who were most liked by girls included Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj, who are all outspoken critics of gender inequality in the music industry. At least 119 Marian girls support them. That’s my favorite part: knowing that many girls agree that feminism (especially in such a male-dominated music genre as rap) needs to be at the forefront of conversations. 

This rant may sound like just another girl complaining about male dominance of the popular media, but I’m serious. Females are strong and not afraid to speak up anymore. Whatever amount of controversy their songs get them into, female rappers won’t stand idly by anymore and talk about the same things over and over. I have never thought women should have to defend what they do and how they do it, but in today’s culture, there are few uncontroversial topics. The rap genre is the top arena I can name in which women are either censored for sharing their opinions or entirely drowned out for being “too dirty.” 

But I don’t want to take this anymore. I want equality to be the reality, not just a faraway dream. Profanities aside, I want women and men to be able to have meaningful conversations with each other. I don’t want one side to have to tear down the other just to build themselves up. Women are an integral part of the future, and today I feel empowered to see them rise up: in politics, on social media, in the environment, and all other places where decisions are made. In the studios, female rappers are furthering their message of self-confidence for everyone, everywhere. Above all else, they have taught me that I can rule the world, on my own.

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