By Alex G.
The other night as I turned on my television, I came across a music video playing on MTV. Utterly shocked at the presentation of actual music on MTV, I watched the screen and listened. “The usual…” I thought, “money, naked girls, and cars”. These main aspects surrounded the hip-hop artist and flooded the screen. As the music raged on, a different state of shock fell upon me while studying what occurred on my TV. The constant display of inequality and hegemonic power made me uncomfortable and disrespected, yet this particular musical artist’s song sits at the top of the charts in the music industry.
From a Feminist Anthropologist’s perspective, the actions presented in this specific video I watched, along with many others, shows a complete imbalance between male and female gender roles. However, this behavior portrayed does not go unnoticed. In a song performed by the pop artist, P!nk, titled “Stupid Girls”, she states, “What happened to the dream of a girl president, She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent”.  This quote is particularly important because P!nk is inferring that women will aspire to be less because of the way other women are presented in the media they are exposed to. I feel the demeaning nature of the treatment of women by hip-hop artists is a problem and is a focal point of concern for many Feminist Anthropologists today.
According to Carole McGranahan, a post-structuralist anthropologist, post-structuralism focuses greatly on the existence of power within hegemonic relationships and existing hierarchical systems. Throughout hip-hop music videos today, there is an immensely noticeable display of this power and dominance of the hip-hop artists, usually males, and the women presented in their videos. The women are most commonly displayed in a disrespectful manner, whether this is the minimal amount of clothing they are wearing or the actions they are performing. This is a form of power and hegemony, because these women are agreeing to their role in the videos while also being degraded or exploited for their bodies and sexuality. Post-structuralism and feminist anthropology are both interested in understanding the amount of honor or prestige achieved by the artists in the video for being surrounded by the women they are exploiting. The artist is considered authoritative and controlling over the females, and this often places the females on the same level of ownership as cars or money in the eyes of the artist and the viewers.
Through the constant exposure of inequality and power/control seen in popular hip-hop music videos in today’s culture, women are increasingly degraded and disrespected. This is a major topic of discussion for feminist anthropologists because of the imbalance of male and female gender roles, while also a main focus for post-structuralists because of the hegemonic nature of hip-hop artists and their treatment of women.
 “Stupid Girls.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
 McGranahan, Carole. “Post-Structuralism.” University of Colorado at Boulder. Boulder, CO. 29 Oct 2014. Lecture.