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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Pop Goes the Rapper: A Close Reading of Eminem’s Genderphobia

By Vincent Stephens, 2005

This article argues that controversial hip-hopper Eminem is more properly termed a genderphobe than a homophobe. Eminem consistently uses homophobic language to critique gender behaviour, not sexual orientation. Focusing on genderphobic lyrics more accurately reveals hip-hop culture’s emphasis on gender behaviour rather than the emphasis on sexual object-choice that homophobia implies. The focus on genderphobia also highlights a discriminatory practice aimed toward external behaviour that is related to homophobia but operates differently in certain cultural realms. I ground my discussion by focusing on the centrality of authenticity in hip-hop and gender propriety’s centrality in comprising hip-hop notions of authenticity. Additionally, I emphasise how all pop stars rely on personae to convey convincing images to the public. I conclude by analysing the Pet Shop Boys and Mariah Carey’s ‘answer songs’, which directly address Eminem’s genderphobia and authenticity.

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