Whose Fault Is It When Women Aren’t Respected? [Reader Forum]

Our readers use Lil Wayne, and a response rap by two young sisters, to discuss who exactly gets disrespected by misogynistic lyrics.

By Channing Kennedy Mar 14, 2011

One of our Celebrate Loves from last week, about two young girls’ response rap to Lil Wayne’s use of misogynist lyrics, is still dominating the conversation here in Colorlines comments-land. There are many subjects to pull from it–the responsibility of an artist to his audience, and exactly who that audience is; whether parents should protect their kids from the world or prepare them for it; and, of course, whether these girls write their own rhymes or if they pulled an Eazy-E. Weezy’s lyrics themselves were a particularly hot topic of debate–as was, by extension, the question of whose responsibility it is when men disrespect women.

Commenter scorpiayo says, "I agree one hundred percent with the message here. I also put the responsibility on the women who subject themselves to being called derogatory name by acting like and carrying themselves in manners that send messages to men and boys that say’s ‘Disrespect me!’" Frequent visitor parkwood1920 says an attack on one woman is an attack on all:

… And here we have yet another phony distinction between ladylike women and hoochified females, the classic divide-and-conquer strategy misogynist men use to control women’s bodies and lives. Newsflash scorpiayo: Rappers are putting down all women when they use sexist hate speech, including young girls like the two children in the video.

Now about the following missive:

[quoting scorpiayo] If all of ur cleavage is saying "look at me" or ur wearing a shirt that says juicy across the breast, it provokes sexually charged energy. If a woman walks the street popping her booty cleavage (butt crack) out the top of their apple bottom jeans, i dont know what other reaction she can expect to get besides a cheap disrespectful mouthfull of cat calls and perverted attempts to further exploit ur beauty.

One more time with feeling: Men are responsible for their own behavior. Men are responsible for their own sexism. Men are responsible for their so-called "sexually charged energy." And if men harass women, assault women, stalk women, or do anything that threatens women’s safety and security, then men must bear the responsibility for stopping and changing the behavior.

By blaming women for men’s abusive behavior, you are doing nothing more but perpetuating the very institutional bigotry these young girls are trying to resist.

Well said.

Our editor Kai Wright couldn’t resist highlighting one of his own favorite lines from the video.

I love this line: "I guess that means that you’re a man?" Read him, girls, read him.


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