The Representation of Women in Hip-Hop Lyrics Before and During the #MeToo Movement

Briana Edwards and Dr. Qian Xu, Media Analytics Program, Elon University, 100 Campus Drive Elon NC, 27244

This study compares the representation of women in hip-hop lyrics before and during the #MeToo movement through a computerized text analysis via R. The two fixed periods in temporal relation to the #MeToo movement examined in this study are the entire years of 2015 and 2016 for Period 1(before) and 2018 and 2019 for Period 2 (during). The sample of this study includes the 344 songs on the yearly Billboard Hot Hip-Hop charts. The song lyrics were pulled from the Genius database by using the R package of geniusr. In order to understand how women are represented in hip-hop, this study first identified different female-related words used during the two periods and then examined the other words used in association with them. The gender of artists was also taken into consideration when making comparisons. In general, the analysis showed that both male and female hip-hop artists used female-related words more frequently during the #MeToo movement than before this movement. In particular, female artists adopted more female-related words in lyrics during this movement than before it, although there were fewer female artists on the Billboard Hot Hip-Hop charts in Period 2. When compared to Period 1, Period 2 had greater references to women with derogatory words and used more ethnically-based female-related words. Additionally, the analysis of bigrams revealed that Period 1 and Period used similar numbers of sexually objectifying word pairs. However, more male artists used them in Period 1 whereas more female artists used them in Period 2.These findings suggests that the #MeToo movement may have empowered female artists to be more open in expressing themselves sexually. However, it did not improve the use of disparaging and sexually objectification themes in hip-hop lyrics. 



Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Briana Edwards

Institution: Elon University

Type: Poster

Subject: Communications

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 3646