Gina Vaynshteyn
November 16, 2014 12:00 pm

In a freestyle rap compilation that was just released, Eminem shows off his rhyming prowess by doing what he does best: rapping about really, really controversial stuff. Eminem is known for pushing buttons, that we know. And it’s not like he hasn’t gone “too far” before —his entire career is based on sensationalism and his aggressive persona, Slim Shady. But are we finally going to say something this time? When Eminem raps, “Play nice? B*tch I’ll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight,” are we going to stand for that?

The answer should be “no way,” guys. I mean, not only does Eminem rap about punching Lana Del Rey, but he raps about punching Lana Del Rey like ex-football player Ray Rice punched fiancée Janay Rice in an elevator. These misogynistic lyrics not only dehumanize women, but they promote violence against them. I don’t care if Eminem is rapping under the guise of Slim Shady —context shouldn’t be an excuse when it comes to blatant sexism and violence. It shouldn’t exist, period.

And I’m not going to pretend like Eminem is the only one guilty of this gross behavior. Misogyny and the music industry have gone hand-in-hand for eternity. Songs about objectifying women, abusing them, and treating them like garbage are sadly aplenty. But records keep selling, and we keep buying them. Why do we accept these lyrics? Why is society as a whole OK with lyrics that perpetuate hatred against women?

I don’t think we should use music as a veil, or an excuse for these horrifying words and phrases anymore. You can’t justify the terrible treatment of women by saying, “Well it’s rap,” or “Well, it’s hip-hop,” or “It’s pop music —get over it.” No, we can’t get over it. Getting over it means we’ve allowed lyrics like, “I got 99 problems and the b*tch ain’t one / She’s all 99 of them I need a machine gun” to exist in our culture.

I don’t believe Eminem is an entirely bad dude. I mean, maybe he is. I don’t know, I’m not going to judge a person until I’ve met them. But his lyrics are bad. They’re awful. They’re not in any way, shape or form cool. So until the Real Slim Shady stands up and realizes he’s being a huge jerk, I’m not going to be the one supporting his music.

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