My assignment this week was to write about a mass medium that could send unwanted messages to society. We were asked to find three different journal articles about the medium of our topic and describe the media effects and reflect. For my mass medium I chose to pick rap music and its negative effects on people. Based on the secondary research I conducted, I do believe that rap sends a negative message to both youth and women.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study about the connection between music and alcohol/drugs. They used students aging from 15-25 of all races and socio-economic status. The self-administered test given to 1,056 students questioned their drug, alcohol and partying habits. The second part of the test asked what kind of music they listened to and an overwhelming 94% said they listen to rap daily. From there investigators found that the use of alcohol and other substances were associated with those that frequently listened to music such as: rap, R&B, reggae, rock and techno.
A new study by the North Carolina State University was conducted to help relate the effects of rap music and sexism. Two groups of students were asked to listen to rap music. One of the group’s music had a higher amount of sexist remarks, while the other group had less. They later found that the group with the higher level of sexist remarks exhibited a higher amount of sexism than the other group. Even females who participated in the study exhibited a higher level of sexism than expected.
My third and final study was conducted around rap music videos and the reaction people got from them. A total of 44 students were included their ages varied from 14-25 and the majority of them were black and white, both middle and lower class. According to Johnson (2005) after showing the students rap videos and songs that portrayed women in sexually subordinate roles the students took a test on whether they would be accepting of teen dating violence, teen rape and saying sexist remarks. They took these tests before and after the video and their results were dramatically changed. Man men who had been brought up in middle class families and had gone to colleges still said they would be accepting of teen dating violence and saying sexist remarks.
My grounds are relevant because it shows that this negativity if affecting our society greatly. The repercussions of this genre are still affecting our youth and affecting women on a daily basis. The more rappers rap about money, violence, gangs, women and power the more our youth will look up to that and try to achieve it at whatever costs are necessary. It shows that although some of us believe music to simply be a harmless way to express oneself it is actually putting down the fight women have made to be considered equal and the efforts we have made to clean up our youth so they can go on to be successful and respectable adults.
I do understand that each of us has the ability to think for ourselves and make our own decisions. So when I sit here telling people that rap is somewhat responsible for the negative things occurring people will tell me well they are making a choice to do this. Yes, in a sense that is true. We are all responsible for our actions and our thoughts but rap music is right there encouraging us. To youth living in poverty they are going to be looking for anyway out and if they can make it like the rappers talk about thru gangs and drugs they wont hesitate.
I myself am a listener of rap music and have found that I never really realized the impact it had on people. From reading these studies I realized that the words I use and the way I think about things have been slightly influenced by what I hear. From calling women the B word to using drugs and participating in gang violence rap music has a severe hold over America.
1) Cobb, Michael Dr. (2008) Rap Music and Sexism: NEWSROOM, pg. 3-15
2) Wester, S. R., Crown, C. L., Quatman, G. L., & Heesacker, M. (1997). The
Influence of sexually violent rap music on attitudes of men with little
prior exposure. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 497–508.
3) Johnson, J. D. (1995). Differential gender effects of exposure to rape music on African American adolescents. Sex Roles, 33, 597-605