Was Ashley Judd accurate in criticizing hip-hop and rap as misogynistic? Absolutely. But what about the violent and hyper-sexualized music of some female artists?

Editor’s Note: Please be advised that this article contains graphic and vulgar references to lyrics from various popular songs.

sa•do•mas•o•chism: Receiving pleasure, often sexual, from acts involving the infliction or receiving of pain or humiliation. Also known as S&M.

This week, bloggers have been chattering across the Web about Ashley Judd’s harsh indictment of rap and hip-hop, which she called a “rape culture” and “the soundtrack of misogyny.” She has since

apologized, but the debate rages on. Judd’s comments revived the ongoing argument about “the evils of rap” and set off the far-too-common finger-pointing game against hip-hop culture. By now it’s a trite topic, but I cannot help but add my two cents.

Women have a right to be offended by some of rap’s lyrics; to call much of rap music misogynistic, at least the rap that plays on the radio, is a fair critique. However, many took offense to Judd’s statements because of the racial dynamic. Since a large majority of rap and hip-hop artists are male and African American, Judd (a white woman) is being taken to task by some in the black community for simply saying what many of us already suspect to be true.

But are black men the only guilty parties in this controversy? With a new crop of edgier and sexier female artists begging to be choked, spanked, and viewed as being as aggressive as their male counterparts, are we to assume they are also misogynistic and contributing to this rape culture? Or is being as “bad as the boys” the natural evolution of feminism?

A few sample lyrics (reader discretion advised):

Rihanna: “Now the pain is my pleasure cause nothing could measure…The affliction of the feeling leaves me wanting more….Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me.” (“S&M”)

Nicki Minaj: “If I had a d***, I would pull it out and [urinate] on ’em…. I’m the terminator… talk slick I’ma have to terminate her. These little nappy headed hoes need a perminator.” (“Did it On Em’ “)

Those unfamiliar with pop culture may call this a “black thing,” but it’s all across the Billboard charts. For instance, a new remix of Rihanna’s “S&M” features pop icon Britney Spears. And then these:

Katy Perry: “You’re so hypnotizing. Could you be the devil? …They say be afraid, you’re not like the others… Infect me with your love and fill me with your poison. Take me … wanna be a victim….” (“E.T.”)

Lady Gaga: “I want your horror; I want your design. ‘Cause you’re a criminal as long as you’re mine…I want your psycho, your vertical stick. Want you in my rear window, baby, you’re sick.” (“Bad Romance”)

What do you think? Does this trend signal a new feminist empowerment among female artists, a logical response to the misogynistic lyrics of male rappers? Is it fair to single out rap and hip-hop as the only sexist and sexually violent genres in popular music?

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