Hip Hop Consumption and Masculinity


This paper looks at the nature of masculinity within the Hip Hop subculture, a subculture firmly rooted in consumer based objects of music, clothes and symbols. In particular, this study investigates how the symbolic nature of Hip Hop consumption can serve as a vehicle by which young white men can achieve a desired level of masculinity. Furthermore, this paper identifies and describes the role of fantasy in Hip Hop consumption and how young men construct themselves as masculine through such fantasies. Using an ethnographic methodology the researcher found that Hip Hop culture is a gender salient male enclave where masculinity is enacted by members. The performance of gender is enacted through the performance of being ‘hard’, the repression of feminine traits, and the crossing over into African American Vernacular English. Such performances limit female Hip Hop membership de facto. Hip Hop members often use sexist, and homophobic taunts, but not as attacks on females or homosexuals, but to feminise the other, and hence masculinise oneself. Finally, it was found that gangster rap is often consumed as a fantasy in which teenage males can forge strong masculine gender identities, gender identities that they find difficult to assume at school, at work, or in a family context. The fantasies essentially fall into one of two categories: the pimp fantasy, and the gangster fantasy.


Damien Arthur (2006) ,"Hip Hop Consumption and Masculinity", in GCB - Gender and Consumer Behavior Volume 8, eds. Lorna Stevens and Janet Borgerson, Edinburgh, Scottland : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 12.


Damien Arthur, School of Commerce, University of Adelaide


GCB - Gender and Consumer Behavior Volume 8 | 2006

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