Adolescence is a difficult time for everyone. All young people struggle to find themselves and to define their identity. However, while adolescent females struggle to develop their sexuality and identity in a society where they are expected to sexy but not to have sexual feelings of their own, or rather they are supposed to be sexual objects but not sexual subjects (Tolman 153-158), males also face many difficulties because they are very restricted by a need to protect their masculinity by never appearing too feminine or weak. If boys lapse or deviate from the social standards, they risk becoming a target for unrelenting homophobic harassment. In order to avoid this, most young boys work very hard to convince others of their heterosexuality at all costs.
According to www.stopstreetharassment.org, two thirds of women have been harassed on the street. In one (informal, online) study, 99% of women had experienced harassment, including the following types.
Is getting money and girls the only things that is on a boy’s mind? At what time do guys think about other guys? Is homophobia seen through society or the rap culture more?
The article by C. J. Pascoe “Adolescent homophobia and heterosexuality,” it talks about what it means to be masculine and how fag discourse is created through social binaries. The article explains that part of being a male teenager is being able to joke freely about gay people. The word faggot can be used in many different way. Can be used in a way of calling someone a punk. Meaning that part of being masculine is not being fearful and if a guy is afraid to fight someone, then he may be called a faggot. People use faggot to talk about gay people. Men or boys who do not conform to normative understandings of masculinity and sexuality should be mocked, humiliated and possibly feared (176). Have you ever heard someone say “that’s gay”? Although they are not saying faggot, it has the same meaning but may be directed to an action or an object instead of the person. The “locker room” talk is where society makes the norms for what it means to be a man. Which is to have sex with plenty of girls and get money. If a guy isn’t being “normal”, then he is considered gay or feminine. This results in fag discourse. A fag is the worst thing a guy can be (177). Part of being a guy is to have homophobia. Homophobia is a person’s strong dislike towards those who identify as homosexual. Heterosexuality is considered normal in our society. Males having sex with many girls and getting money are social constructions that define what it means to be a man. The rap culture struggles with homophobia due to the simple fact of trying to please society and reframing from being called a faggot. A male rapper talking about his masculinity is what makes him sell hits and this usual means talking about one night stands with many girls and having money to flash in people’s faces.
I connected this to James J. Dean’s “Straight Men” article that talks about gender, homophobia, and heterosexual identity. The article states that sexist and homophobia practices are two of the central ways that the men project a heterosexual masculinity (246). For a man to secure his identify, he needs to have a homophobic behavior. This means his use of the words “fag.”
Here is an article explaining J.Cole’s use of the word faggot.
Homophobia and the fag discourse is shown in society every day and it is something we have to deal with growing up. My favorite rapper is J. Cole and he presents many examples through his lyrics. “But the truth is, we all the same, but on different teams, but it’s all a game. The objective, tryna score. Hey, you wanna be a man? Yeah I wanna be a man. A man don’t run tellin’ mama everything he see. I ain’t gonna tell. Alright then man. You’re a man now. Okay,” are the lyrics to “Never Told” by J. Cole. Here, you can see how the social norms of society affect men. Here, he is telling what it means to be a man. He is setting the norms. Becoming a man means to play the game (get girls). To his friends, he is showing how much of a man he is, but to the girl being played, she is left heartbroken and her friends will hate him for his actions.
Another example of male homophobia and use of fag discourse would include: “I don’t mean no disrespect whenever I say faggot, okay faggot. Don’t be so sensitive.” His use of very strong language towards homophobia in his song “Villuminati” made many people mad, upset, and uncomfortable. The hip hop culture has trouble dealing with homophobia. Rappers are to focus of what it means to be a man, which is getting money and girls. The use of the word faggot is connected to the word nigger, meaning that they both are harmful but without them, males are perceived as being less masculine.
Even as a female, those type comments make me uncomfortable. I stopped listening to “villuminati” because of the fag verse. It seems really inappropriate. Although I deal with homophobia at times, I don’t believe in harassment or making others feel bad about their sexual identity. Will J. Cole and the rap culture ever overcome homophobia and stop making it a pressing issue? Or is homophobia what makes the rap culture? Can you name one male gay rapper? What does this mean to the future of rap culture?