Ambivalent Sexism and Misogynistic Rap Music: Does Exposure to Eminem Increase Sexism?1

Authors

  • Michael D. Cobb,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Political Science
      North Carolina State University
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael D. Cobb, Department of Political Science, School of Public and International Affairs, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8102, Raleigh, NC 27695-8102. E-mail: mike_cobb@ncsu.edu
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  • William A. Boettcher III

    1. Department of Political Science
      North Carolina State University
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  • 1

    An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the annual meeting of the Southwest Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA, November 2001. We are grateful for the input provided by Andrew Taylor on that version of this research.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael D. Cobb, Department of Political Science, School of Public and International Affairs, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8102, Raleigh, NC 27695-8102. E-mail: mike_cobb@ncsu.edu

Abstract

We evaluate the oft-repeated but typically untested claim that rap music encourages sexism. We randomly assigned participants to 1 of 3 conditions: no music, misogynistic rap music, and nonmisogynistic rap music. The first study (treated as a pilot; N = 232) weakly demonstrated the differential impact of exposure on male and female participants, but our measures of sexism were unreliable. We then conducted a second study (N = 175) employing well-validated (and more subtle) measures taken from the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI). While we replicated the weak differential impact of participants' sex, we also find that sexism increased after listening to nonmisogynistic rap music, especially among males. Implications for the debate about labeling and censoring rap music are discussed.

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