Female entertainment isn’t a place for misogyny

Illustration by Monte | The Signal

In 2019, rapper Meagan Thee Stallion coined the phrase “hot girl summer,” an extension of her “hottie” fan base. Hot girl summer originally was a playful representation of her platform and soon spiraled into confusion and controversy. 

Around the country, many celebrities and consumers attempted to figure out the meaning of the phrase. Many people assumed it was just a catchy phrase, but as the term became associated with another trend, “city girl summer,” it became associated with themes of infidelity, STDs, poor feminine hygiene and credit card fraud. 

As salacious trends like the cucumber challenge became popular, the two phrases became interchangeable and synonymous with self-degradation.

Soon, the narrative shifted from people enjoying their summer break or aimlessly shouting song lyrics to women debasing themselves for social media validation. Anytime a woman was arrested for fighting or caught being unfaithful, Meagan Thee Stallion and other female entertainers were scapegoated and blamed. 

Traditionalist men and self-hating women took their criticism a step further by equating women willingly embarrassing themselves to the documented and statistically proven abuse and disregard for women. 

Suddenly, the people who perpetuate an entire culture dedicated to misogyny, rape culture and inequality under the guise of “tradition” were being downplayed in their role in modern gender politics. Women, who can only claim at most one hundred years of voting rights and a failed amendment for equality, were equally yoked in gender inequality because they shoved unwashed produce down their throats.

“Hot girl summer” is one of the innumerable attempts to amplify the folly of women and justify or exonerate the folly of men. Women are capable of abuse, murder, misogyny and homophobia; however, isolated incidents do not negate the fact that women are more susceptible to nearly all forms of abuse and trafficking compared to their male counterparts.

A woman’s performative insecurity doesn’t negate the normalization of catcalling and other forms of street harassment. A song about exclusively dating men with money doesn’t negate the pay gap. Not adhering to the homemaker gender role doesn’t equate to sexual assault forensic suppression.

Many of the skeptics of female rap culture, including music mogul Jermaine Dupri, who referred to mainstream female rap as “strap,” criticized mainstream female artists for being one-dimensional and overly sexualized, but interestingly, they don’t extend that criticism to male rappers. 

Since the inception of the subgenre “gangster rap” and “trap music,” the likes of Migos, Future, NWA, Snoop Dogg and others have established the blueprint for rappers: Young men glorify and live lives of self-destructive behaviors including drug use, abuse and trafficking, proximity crime, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases, infidelity and child neglect, which are met with shrugs, such as “it’s just music” or “give us time to mature.” 

The climate of hot girl summer illuminated the subtle ways in which misogyny still manifests itself. Many people claimed to be confused by the phrase, yet they were upset, illustrating a disdain for women’s joy. 

Popular female rappers are villainized for committing a fraction of the unsavory behaviors commonly associated with the music of their male counterparts, illustrating a clear gender bias in the industry and consumer bases.

Instead of attempting to exonerate male contribution to sexism and misogyny, we should have an open discussion about how it affects each facet of our society and how it may be internalized by both men and women. 

Instead of fixating on why women are enjoying something, we should attempt to solve the common practice of women traveling in packs to the bathroom or on a daily jog.

Anyone is capable of toxicity, but we all don’t benefit from a society that thrives on sexist abuse and disregard. It is important to remember the global implications of misogyny, before using music as fodder for further disdain for women.