Tag Archives: challenging sexism on the internet

Sexism and corporate beef riding: Drake vs. Meek Mill

I have the faint sense that the Drake / Meek Mill ‘beef’ is a pre-planned public relations stunt.  Meek is dating Nikki Minaj a long time collaborator of Drake (via Young Money / Cash Money).   Both rappers have gained massive media attention and tons of new social media followers.  But I don’t know, it’s possible it started as a funny joke and then turned into a fight.  It’s also possible that this is a real scrap.

Given that the daily beef updates are worldwide news (CNN, New York Times, and dozens of ‘serious’ news outlets grabbed the story and have been breathlessly posting gossip and re-posting tweets).   It is worth checking out some of the themes that make this scrap significant.

  1.  Everyone sort of expected Meek Mill to do better against Drake.  It’s no secret that Drake is respected among hip hop folks, but seen as a johnny-come-lately former actor who sings his hooks.  He is a pop rapper, with the sales numbers and teenage fans to prove it.   This isn’t to take anything away from Drake, because in that formula has been a world dominating path to rap success.  In some ways beating Meek has been vital for his image.   His previous meme struggles had been the unerring connections of his rap career with his acting career.  Witness the Degrassi memes which swim around online Drake discussions.

2.  The key argument which seems to have ‘won’ Drake the battle against Meek Mill was just sexism.   Witness the lines from “Back to back:”

Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?/ I know that you gotta be a thug for her/ This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more/ Yeah, trigger fingers turn to twitter fingers/ Yeah, you gettin’ bodied by a singin’ nigga/ I’m not the type of nigga that’ll type to niggas/ And shout-out to all my boss bitches wifin’ niggas/ Make sure you hit him with the prenup

via Drake – Back to Back Lyrics | Genius.

Cheap sexism — the idea that opening up for Nikki Minaj’s Pink print tour is too feminine to be legit for a real tough guy rapper.   Add in the suggestion in “Charged up” that Drake had sex (or never could) with Nikki Minaj and you’ve got perhaps the most over-used trope in rap.

I also think it is a clear insult to Nikki Minaj who is a phenomenal rapper and a stunning internet strategist.   That her success is an insult to Meek is also sexist.   The result was some ugly photo shop work to create images like this:

To mark the bodies as distinctly female and male with roles associated.  It is gender policing to suggest that any violation of these roles is unmanly or unfeminine.

3.  For some pitiful corporate social media coordinators, this beef has been an opportunity to interject their product.  Crappy corporate fast food chains have posted snarky jokes about beef and attempted to connect their brand to something current and edgy.   It seems trite to me, but the re-posts by passionate fans suggest that this branding strategy of riding the coattails has some significance.

I would call it trolling.  Corporations mock either Drake (usually Meek Mill) in a semi-related tweet hoping that fans will respond.  But that isn’t that far away from the origins of this beef — Meek attacking a target that seemed vulnerable at the time.

Much of the enthusiasm for the beef might come from the comeuppance of traditionalist rap sources (MMG, tough-guy rappers, Funk Master Flex (who has failed to emerge with much promoted Meek Mill responses) in favor of the new power in hip hop (pop media, savvy social media stars and mockery memes).   In some ways the internet makes this an accessible fight — one that encourages a certain amount of piling on.

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Filed under communication, gender, hip hop, media, representation, rhetoric, sexism, technology

Gendered tropes in video games: Anita Sarkeesian

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Women intellectuals under attack . . . on the internets!

The interwebs are structurally sexist – with whole areas where women are disrespected and policed through abuse and threats of violence.

Recently some academic dude wrote some article suggesting that professors  learn about twitter and blogging.  A good reminder to “ask the other question” (Matsuda) when Gwendolyn Beetham points out the risks to women who enter the internet public sphere.

In fact, I cannot think of a prominent woman in the public sphere who has not been the target of sexism, usually in the form of being threatened with sexual assault, which in the case of women of color undoubtedly takes a racist tone.  Amongst countless others, recent incidents of female public scholars who have had these experiences include Mary Beard (@wmarybeard), who was threatened with rape and having her home bombed via Twitter, and Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk), who was physically threatened while speaking on a panel at the Brecht Forum in New York. If you’d like to do your own test of this, read the comments of any article published by a woman in a mainstream news media outlet – or read almost any mainstream account of women in the public sphere. Indeed, as Mary Beard recently stated in a talk at the British Museum (recounted in The Guardian ), the very real, and very negative, push-back against women who enter the public sphere is nothing new in Western culture: it extends all the way back to Homer.  Although not surprising, it is nevertheless disappointing that Kristof and others continue to ignore the risks that women have faced when entering the public sphere for the past two millennia.

via Women and Public Scholarship | Inside Higher Ed.

Thanks to Feministing’s Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet for the link.

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Laurie Penny: phenomenal feminist wisdom

Thanks to Laurie Penny (author of Cybersexism: Sex, Gender, Power and the Internet) for a few insightful quotes about fighting sexism on the internets.   I happen to agree about the rising moments of accountability.

Look. The internet makes dicks out of us all, but it means that for a few people, the perceived costs of extreme douchebaggery are far lower than they would be otherwise. But that sense of inviolability is beginning to erode. Men — and I do believe that it’s mainly men, even though I’ve had troll encounters with women and others — are beginning to realize that there are actual consequences to behaving like this. It’s happening in “the real world,” too. Comedians now think twice before making rape jokes. Tech conferences think twice before lining up scads of all-male panels. And it’s happening because of the internet. I think.

via Laurie Penny Vs. Cybersexism: “Not Letting the Fuckers Win” – ANIMAL.

When asked about men, Penny responds:

Capitalist patriarchy hurts everyone, not just women. What I really hope is that this explosion of debate and discussion about gender and sexuality, facilitated by the internet, will give men permission to speak honestly about what capitalist patriarchy does to them.

Right now, though, it seems men only feel empowered to speak of how gender affects them when they’re directly attacking women and girls or bawling artlessly at feminists. I meet a lot of MRA’s who genuinely seem to believe that an attempt to make the world fairer for women and freer for everyone is a direct attack on men, and that calling someone sexist is worse than actually being sexist. Those are lies, and we need to stop treating them as adult arguments.

If women are shamed and harassed out of full digital participation online, everyone loses.

via Laurie Penny Vs. Cybersexism: “Not Letting the Fuckers Win” – ANIMAL.

And perhaps one of the greatest approaches to internet trolling:

But none of that is terribly helpful when all you want to do is slam the laptop shut and never look at Twitter again.

At which point I’d advise a long walk, a strong cup of tea, and a healthy dose of spite.

Spite is underrated. Sometimes, on dark days when I believe every awful thing mouth-breathing misogynists say about me online, when all I want to do is give up, I remember how important it is not to let the fuckers win.

via Laurie Penny Vs. Cybersexism: “Not Letting the Fuckers Win” – ANIMAL.

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