Do-gooding researchers whose findings will invariably be twisted by politicos and other civic leaders are at it again–this time at science hub North Carolina State University, where a pair of professors have undertaken an experiment to determine whether hip-hop causes men (and ladies) to act in a more misogynistic manner. The answer? Maybe, if you’re already a sexist jerk. Alas, society looks to once again be to blame, as while auditioning records by noted woman-hating jackass Eminem did seem to cause a spike in subjects’ sexist thinking, it turns out those cuddly Buddhists the Beastie Boys likewise had men exhibiting a certain anitpathy towards the ladies.
Men in the first group, exposed to overtly sexist Hip-Hop lyrics, via Eminem’s “Kill You,” and the second group, exposed to Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” a song without any misogynistic lyrics, expressed stronger sexist attitudes after exposure to the music than those in the control group, which was not exposed to rap music at all.
“It’s like hearing the word ‘chocolate’ and suddenly having a craving for a candy bar,” says Dr. Cobb. “Sexism is imbedded in the culture we live in and hearing rap music can spontaneously activate pre-existing awareness of sexist beliefs. Rap music, fairly or unfairly, has become associated with misogyny, and even minimal exposure to it can automatically activate these mental associations and increase their application, at least temporarily.
“At worst, we could conclude that rap music might exacerbate pre-existing tendencies,” he continued, “but so too can other genres of music and varied forms of entertainment. There is not much evidence in our study to support an argument in favor of censorship.”
But let’s not let that stop anyone from making one within the week on one of the nation’s finer right-leaning chat shows. Women taking part in the study had a poor reaction to “Sabotage” even without the naughty words, while the more virulent language of “Kill You” provoked them into “a more careful interpretation and rejection of the premises in the song”; gents, on the other hand, didn’t really devote much time towards self-examination or rejecting their own shitty attitudes, which should surprise no one and can be chalked up to planet-wide male privilege more than hip-hop, sending science types right back to the chicken-egg bad behavior questions that lead to these essentially specious studies in the first place. Still, looks like you’re off the hook for the moment, hip-hop, unless the patriarchy gets dismantled before your sales dip too low for anyone to care about your effect on society.
NC State U Study Connects Hip-Hop/Sexism [AllHipHop]