Prewriting and Playing Around with a Studentís Topic

Eminemís Lyrics and their Construction of Gender

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/5-eminem-brutal-lyrics-aimed-women-article-1.2318164

The Media Object she has chosen to analyze: Music from Eminem that focus on the portrayal and treatment of women

Before she gets started she might need to understand what is meant by "media." Here are some sources for Media:

The student analyzed the lyrics of rapper, Eminem. Here is what she noticed was about his treatment of women in these lyrics:

  • Vulgar language
  • Violence & rape
  • Talks about celebrities
  • Hyper-sexualization
  • Woman-blaming

All these different aspects could be placed under a broader category: general misogyny (please look this up if you don't know what it means)!

How could each of these topics be used in an essay?

Each bullet point could be made into a paragraph or groups of paragraphs.

Here is how you could develop a section on Violence and Rape in Eminemís music:

I think that you could do an entire paper on this topic.

  • Provide examples from his albums that definitely portray violence and/or rape. You would actually directly the quote the lyrics.
  • You need to think about how much evidence you might need to be convincing to your audience. What works? This is going to be up to you. Remember writing is all about making decisions!
  • Of course, you would need to set a context for the quotes so that your reader would understand where the quote was coming from and what the song was about. You will need to provide plenty of context about the song you plucking the lyrics from so your readers can follow your analysis. REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT EMINEM EXPERTS. You will need to help them out!
  • Analyze the examples, trying to determine what function they serve

What do Popular Sources Say about Emimen's lyrics???

What do scholarly sources say about the idea of rape culture?

Okay, if I decide to use these articles on rape culture, I will need to define for my readers what I mean by rape culture.

For this information I can use a combination of popular and scholarly sources. (Remember that reference sources are encyclopedia type of sources. Hint: use Credo Reference).

Sources for Rape Culture

  • Rape Culture for a Web site
  • Rape Culture Article from The Nation
  • Examine what scholarly sources have to say about rape in rap lyrics or how rape is portrayed in popular culture.
  • Draw some conclusions about how Eminemís use of rape and violence against women contributes to the construction of gender in our society.

PLEASE NOTE IF YOU DO THIS THOROUGHLY, IT WILL NECESSARILY TAKE UP A LOT OF SPACE ON THE PAGE. THE IDEA IS TO DIG DEEP ON A FOCUSED, NARROWED TOPIC. STUDENTS TYPICALLY LIKE TO PICK EXTREMELY BROAD TOPICS, WHICH MEANS THEY CAN ONLY EXAMINE THEM IN A VERY SUPERFICIAL WAY.

What you may find out is that you wonít be able to cover all the bullet points we started off with. You might have to narrow your focus. Just look at all the information and research that it took to cover one feature of his rap lyrics.

Obviously, you will need to make lots of decisions about what about what is your strongest idea that you can provide the best evidence for and what is weaker and harder to prove.

Inquiry and Research Questions:

  • How do these lyrics ďconstructĒ femininity?
  • In what ways is this an accurate representation of women?
  • In what ways is this a skewed representation of women?
  • Since this is just a song and it is just a bit of entertainment does it really matter what it says?
  • Doesnít Eminem have a right to say what he wants ---freedom of speech and expression?
  • Though the focus is on women here and how they are treated, I am wondering how is Eminem constructing the version of masculinity?
  • When it degrades women and physically harms them, why is this brand of masculinity tolerated in our society?
  • How does his constructions of gender reflect attitudes in our society?
  • Does all rap music have misogyny? That is, is misogyny a characteristic of the genre?
  • What do popular sources, such as news and magazine articles, say about this topic and the associated issues.
  • What do scholarly sources say about this topic and the associated issues?