Misogyny in Hip-Hop: An Op-Ed Post

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The information portrayed on the Wikipedia website regarding misogyny in hip-hop is unreliable, and cannot be considered valid. The process included when defining information on Wikipedia allows for inconsistency and amateurs to portray it, leaving every topic included on the website, up for debate. As stated in Wikipedia fights the War of 1812 “indeed the use of anonymous usernames breaks the link between the outside hierarchical academic world.” (Jensen, 2012) Therefore, there is no academic hierarchy within Wikipedia, which grants merit to individuals based on academic success. In short, anyone can comment on Wikipedia, and the rest of this post will determine why the page on ‘Misogyny in hip-hop’ is unreliable.

The process for creating an article on Wikipedia is centered on “mass collaboration and communal creativity, which people will work and live with in the future” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009). Therefore it is important to note that the information displayed on the article ‘Misogyny in Hip-Hop’ involves user submitted material, from people who have not displayed their academic qualities. The reason for this volunteered submission from individuals is because “all users supposedly contribute content out of a basic human need to communicate” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009). What can be derived from this quote is that people may be posting and supplying information, out of a desire to receive feedback, especially with a topic as controversial as misogyny in hip-hop. Now that the process of creating an article has been resolved, the validity of the information covered within can be assessed.

First will be determining if the sources used are reliable, unbiased and valid. Many sources include academic journals such as, The Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Black Studies and Journal of Men and Masculinities. Out of the seventy-one references listed, only three involve academic journals. This demonstrates to me a lack of reliability in the sources. Most sources are from magazine and newspaper articles, which can often include a writer desperate for attention, looking for mere shock value than depicting the facts. Regarding the question of bias, there seems to be minor bias involved within the sources. Many of the sources are derived from work directly from women, and from feminist magazines, which are going to have a biased approach to the situation considering it involves the mistreatment of women. Although writers are expected to be completely unbiased regarding the work they publish, the idea of a woman writing an article with the topic being centered around misogyny, allows for bias to slip through.

Moving along to the contents of the chat page included within this Wikipedia entry, it is clear to see a division between the individuals who have commented. When discussing the contents of the ‘talk’ page it is important to note “Fewer than one in a thousand comment (on Wikipedia)” (Jensen, 2012) and “all users supposedly contribute content out of a basic human need to communicate.”( Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009) Therefore, when reading the comments it is important to ponder, why are these people taking their time to contribute to this topic? A major issue within the talk page involves whether it should be considered ‘Hip-Hop’ or ‘Rap’ (in regards to the presence of misogyny in the music). Some feel as though hip-hop is far too vast a genre and misogyny is not a central theme throughout, but that is only exists in the specific sub-genre of hip-hop, rap.

Although there is quite some debate included within the talk page, the comments are assessed and addressed democratically. There is no bickering between angry individuals on different sides of the argument, but rather well sought out and written comments, with equally well written rebuttals.

Throughout the talk page, there is no authority figure displaying their credentials or expertise on the topic subject. It appears to be mostly passionate fans of hip-hop music, that would like to defend their favourite artists who are consistently depicted as misogynist throughout the article. For example, many individuals come to the defence of performing artist Eminem, who has become a poster child in regards to the topic of misogyny in hip hop. This demonstrates more proof of bias within the article, as it appears the contributors have a passion for hip-hop music and wish to defend the artists mentioned. This is not necessarily unexpected, as Royal and Kapila stated in their article “Coverage for items that were current were deemed more important and produced more hits thus were covered more frequently.” (Kapila & Royal, 2009) Since hip-hop, in particular rap, is a genre created recently, this topic is definitely considered current, and therefore brings a lot of comments and page views.

To conclude, it is clear the information portrayed on the Wikipedia website regarding misogyny in hip-hop is unreliable, and cannot be considered valid. At this point in this relatively new topic subject, it appears as though the majority of the Wikipedia page is opinion rather than fact. This conclusion has been reached due to the lack of reliable sources included in the article posting on this topic. In addition, it has been determined that there is clear bias within the resources as many are written by feminist publications, who are clearly going to have a bias view regarding the mistreatment of women. Also, when viewing the ‘talk’ page within the article, more bias was revealed in the form of passionate fans defending their favourite artists. The issue of misogyny in hip-hop exists currently, and is one, which is still very misunderstood. Although the presence of misogyny in hip-hop is clear, the Wikipedia page dedicated to it simply contains too much bias, alternate views and does not do a good enough job of determining it’s source, and reasoning. This Wikipedia article is simply too opinion based, when it should be centered on facts.

References:

Jensen, R. (2012). Military history on the electronic frontier: Wikipedia fights the war of 1812. The Journal of Military History, 76, 1165-1182.

Royal, C., & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on wikipedia and what’s not..? assesing completeness of information. Social Science Computer Review, 27(1), 138-148.

Van Dijck, J., & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents:a critical analysis of web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media and Society, 11(5), 855-874.

*Image Courtesy of Purchased Microsoft Office for Mac.

*Wikipedia Article this Op-Ed piece is based on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny_in_hip_hop_culture

Blogs which look at the validity of Wikipedia articles:

http://brandonmendisblog.wordpress.com/

http://soitgoes5blog.wordpress.com/

http://beccabellablog.wordpress.com/

http://andreapilkington.blogspot.ca/

http://bookstofilmblog.wordpress.com

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