Pornographic objectification of women through Kwaito lyrics
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This Profile discusses the portrayal of women through Kwaito music and their frequent pornographic objectification in the popular township music genre. It considers the apparent shift away of Kwaito from its roots in the moment of popular expectation of the liberated South Africa and its desire to be an expression of the voices of the townships, both democratic, indigenous and controversial. The Profile draws on research to enquire into opinions of fans on the representation of women and asks whether the musicians have strayed from the track which has brought them into the limelight, popular support and success. While not representative of the whole genre, the Profile reviews a sample of lyrics and asks if there is another direction where popular music might go, particularly, whether gender equality and women’s sexual exploitation will continue to exist in tension and contradiction. It is argued that popular music as an example of township music culture that embraces the ideas of post-apartheid freedom and that speaks to the democracy, and of non-racism and gender equality, may have been overtaken by a more compelling commercial pull: that as long as it sells on the streets, anything goes. It is argued that gendered cultural values hold importance both in how women are represented by men and women in a male-dominated music industry and in a culture that must increasingly be aware of the crisis posed to women of uncritical acceptance of cultural messages that accept gender violence and abuse as a necessary ingredient for success.
Blose, Maud. 'Pornographic objectification of women through Kwaito lyrics' Agenda. 26, 3 (2012): 50-60.