Georgette Kareithi

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Content Analysis on Popular Music Lyrics

I have always been interested in finding out how many offensive languages and images are in popular music. For this project, I found the current top five singles in the United States from the Billboard charts from ( I also found the lyrics for each song from (

The current top five singles in the United States are:

1 .Chamillionaire featuring Krazie Bone- Ridin’

2. Daniel Powter- Bad Day

3. Rihanna- SOS

4. Sean Paul- Temperature

5. Fort Minor- Where’d You Go

Research Questions:

Is there any sexual content in the lyrics?

Where there any offensive language towards women used in the lyrics?

Are there any racial slurs used in the lyrics?

How are women portrayed in the music lyrics?

Which genre of music was most offensive towards women?

Summary of findings:

Chamillionaire was the most offensive towards women and others because he used derogatory language such as bitch and nigga. Sean Paul’s music consisted of a lot of sexual content and was very offensive towards women. Daniel Powter, Fort Minor, and Rihanna each had zero for racial slurs, offensive language towards women and sexual content.

Corpus and Method:

My corpus consisted of music lyrics. I gathered the information from the Billboard Top 10 singles list. I sampled the top five of the songs. I used quantitative and qualitative methods of content analysis. The lyrics were primarily coded for sexual content, racial slurs, and whether the artist used any offensive language towards women.


Chamillionaire featuring Krazie Bone- Ridin’: His lyrics consisted of 7 racial slurs. He used the word nigga 7 times. The musician used offensive language towards females 3 times and used the word bitch 2 times. There was sexual content used two times in the song. Here are the word that he used- “Just tryna bone ain't trying to have no babies” and “Lookin at my phone finding a chick I wanna bone.” Women are not portrayed in a positive way in this song. He refers to them as sexual objects.

Daniel Powter- Bad Day: His lyrics consisted of 0 sexual content, 0 racial slurs. There was no offensive language used towards women. Overall, this song portrayed women in a positive way.

Rihanna- SOS: Her lyrics consisted of 0 use of offensive language towards women, 0 racial slurs, 0 sexual content. Overall, this song does not portray women negatively. However, I thought the song made women seem desperate and obsessive.

Sean Paul- Temperature: He was offensive to women 13 times, 0 racial slurs, There was sexual content throughout the entire song, 15 times- “From me love how you fit inna
you blouse and you fat inna you jeans and mi waan discover.” 0 racial slurs. This song
definitely does not portray women in a positive way. The singer mainly refers to women when talking about sex. The song is dirty and makes Jamaican women seem over sexual.

Fort Minor- Where’d You Go: This band’s lyrics consisted of 0 sexual content, 0 racial slurs, 0 use of offensive language towards females. Overall, women are not depicted negatively in this song.


Overall, I found Chamillionare and Sean Paul’s music lyrics to be most offensive towards women and other people. Chamillionare constantly refers to people as “niggas” and also had a few naughty lines such as, “Just tryna bone ain't trying to have no babies” and “Lookin at my phone finding a chick I wanna bone” ”- basically referring to woman as objects. He calls women bitches three times in the song.

Sean Paul was not as offensive as Chamillionare but his lyrics were not favorable to women either.
His music mostly consisted of sexual content. He had lines such as “
From me love how you fit inna
you blouse and you fat inna you jeans and mi waan discover.”

Chamillionaire featuring Krazie Bone- Ridin’(RAP)

Daniel Powter- Bad Day (ROCK)

Rihanna- SOS (R&B/ SOUL)

Sean Paul- Temperature (REGGAE)

Fort Minor- Where’d You Go (ROCK)

I was not at all surprised to see Rap and Reggae were the most offensive towards women. In their lyrics, they often referred to women as if they were not human, but only for sexual pleasure. The language they use typically when speaking about females is rude and very blunt. In the rap and reggae music genres many artist talk about women as if they are merely objects. This has become a widespread trend among these artists to refer to females as hoes, bitches, sluts, etc.

I noticed that Rock and Rhythm and Blues (R&B) is much softer and may contain sexual content but not as prevalent as rap, hip hop and reggae music. Rap and Hip-hop music artists have been attacked in the past for the way they depict women not only in their lyric but in their music videos as well. I feel that rap and hip-hop music artist go too far sometimes especially in the areas of sex and violence.

Rap and Hip-hop music makes sex, drugs and violence so glamorous. I think this music is among the reasons why young kids are shooting each other and having sex too young and doing drugs. I think if rap/ hip-hop music does not change then people, especially African- Americans will never change either. The people who make this kind of music should not be marketing themselves to teenagers and young people. And parents should not allow their children to listen to music that oppresses people of color, women, men, etc.

Music is a big part of culture in the United States. The top five single on Billboard are targeted primarily to teenagers and young adults. My biggest problem with popular music is the affect that it has on how people treat each other. If a person listens to music featuring offensive language, racial slurs, and sexual content it is only a matter of time before they begin to change their attitude about people. Music can still be fun without the bad words and disrespect for women.


Images of Women in Popular Song Lyrics, by B. Lee Cooper; Popular Music and Society, Vol. 22, 1998

Measuring the Effects of Sexual Content in the Media: A Report to the Kaiser Family Foundation, by Aletha C. Huston, Ellen Wartella, and Edward Donnerstein.

Sex Role Standards in Popular Music, by Kathleen L. Endres, Volume 18 Issue 1, 1984

Gender Roles

The issue of oppression in women can stem from many different areas. The area I am most concerned with is sexism. I believe that sexism stems from the construction of gender roles in our society.

Postmodern feminist thought/thinker Mar Joe Frug (mother of postmodern feminism) has influenced contemporary feminist thought by discovering the importance of language in feminism and that gender is socially constructed.

“ Mary Joe Frug suggested that one principle of postmodernism is that human experience is located “inescapably within language.” “Power is exercised not only through direct coercion, but also through the way in which language shapes and restricts our reality. This makes language a potentially fruitful site of political struggle.” (Wikipedia, 2006)

Frug's argued in her second postmodern principle that gender is socially constructed. Not only is gender socially constructed but gender roles as well.

How Culture Affects Women

Colleen Mack-Canty is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Idaho. In her essay "Third Wave Feminism and the Need to Reweave the Nature/ Culture Duality" she explains the impact that nature and culture have on women.

Mack- Canty refers three feminisms: youth/generational feminism, postcolonial feminism and ecofeminism to analyze the nature/ culture duality that is a factor in the oppression of women.

In nature/ culture dualism, men dominate culture and women representing nature.Perhaps women define nature because of their ability to bear children.

Mack- Canty quotes: “Ecofeminists see the nature/ culture dualism and the male model of humanity as leading not only to oppression of women, but also to the destruction of nature and to racism and social inequality.”(Pg. 154)

The reality is that men dominate women by dominating culture. In order for women to gain their power in society we must redefine nature and culture. Or just get rid of both completely.

The Male Gaze

Last night, I was at the gas station when this woman walked in wearing nothing but a pair of very skimpy shorts and a bikini top. She was attractive and was probably in her mid twenties.
As soon as she walked into the store all the guys were staring at her as if they had never seen a woman before. They were making comments like- "Dang, look at that butt" and "She so hot." She seemed to mind that they were staring at her body and talking about her. I could tell that their comments were making her uncomfortable.

Two of the guys who were both white and probably in their early twenties started talking to her. They asked her if she had a boyfriend. She did not respond to them at all and this made them mad. They did not like to be ignored and one of them said- "Forget that hoe, she thinks she's too good for us." I was really shocked at how these men were acting towards a total stranger. I thought their comments were offensive and inappropriate. She was just trying to get what she needed and leave but instead she go harrased by losers like them.

Men like that make me so mad! They can't just appreciate a woman's body without making her feel dirty. Just because she was wearing revealing clothing does not mean that she wants to get hit on.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Walt Disney

Today while watching the documentary on Disney, I realized how much of an impact their movies have on children and others. Movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Lady and the Tramp were analyzed.
I never thought that these movies could be harming anyone until today. Disney is sending very negative and untrue messages to young children about cultures and people.

I was very upset when they showed Pocahontas because of the way that Disney portrayed the Indians and the Pilgrims. First of all, that was not a correct story of Pocahontas or John Smith's life. Second of all, they made the relationship between the Indian and the Pilgrims too simple. If Disney wants to make a movie about the Indian and Pilgrims they should make it more complex and true.

I agreed with the lady on the video that was talking Beauty and the Beast and how that movie sends a bad message to young girls. She argued that it was not right for Belle to take the Beast back after the way he had mistreated her and her father. One of the girls that were interviewed said that Belle changed Beast into a nice person and that she should keep being nice to him. I think it is dangerous for young girls to think that they can just change any person from bad to good.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

My thoughts on "Crash"

I thought this movie was very well produced and had a lot of fantastic actors and actresses. This movie was not only about race but it was about being a human and learning how to accept people who are different than you. This movie demonstrated the importance of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is a concept that states that people should be concerned about others, especially those who are different.

I thought it was especially sad when Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) tried to save the black lady and she would have rather died than have him touch her again. I also was sad when Officer Hanson (Ryan Phillippe) shot the black guy.

The movie made me realize that we still have a long way to go before we get rid of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. I think movies like this are important because they make you think about important issues that are affecting real people. Everyone is affected by racism, sexism, etc.

Commercials on MTV

I was watching MTV last night and was paying close attention to the commercials. Most of the commercials (I would say about 75%) were sexual. They had both obvious and suggestive sexual commercials. The commercials on MTV have almost as much sexual content as their obnoxious programs.

There was one particular commercial that caught my attention. It was a cologne advertisement for Axe. The women in the commercial were thin and gorgeous but the guy was so ordinary looking. The women cling to him because he smells good. They are making women look so desperate. The commercial was so cheesy and unrealistic.

Other commercials showed the stereotypical muscular, sexy man with equally attractive females. I found the Dentyne Ice commercials to be cheesy and over-sexual too. They have couples nearly having sex over a piece of gum.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Journal of Communication, 1986

Faces in the News: Gender Comparisons of Magazine Photographs
by Glenn G. Sparks and Christine L. Fehlner

Gender Representation in Magazine Photographs

Summary of findings:
There are more men pictured in Time and Newsweek stories. Overall, men represent more leading occupations than women in the magazines’ pictures.

Summary of previous study:
The previous study was conducted by Glenn G. Sparks and Christine L. Fehlner (“Faces in the News: Gender Comparisons of Magazine Photographs,” 1986 Journal of Communication). The results showed that there are less women photographed in Time and Newsweek than men. The study also revealed that men are depicted in higher occupations than women.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:
The most relevant study I used was done conducted by Sparks and Fehlner from June 18, 1984 through November 12, 1984. They looked at twenty-two issues of Newsweek and Time magazine. They coded the information they found by gender, and occupations: Government officials, Business executives, Journalists, Church officials, Authors, Actresses, Entertainer, Undetermined, and Other.

Leading occupations for male and female non-candidates pictured in Time and Newsweek stories (1984)


Government officials 75... 42.9%
Business executives 26... 14.9%
Journalists 13... 7.4%
Church officials 10... 5.7%
Authors 9... 5.1%
Other 42... 24.0%
Total 175... 100.0%

Government officials 26... 22.2%
Actresses 21... 18.0%
Authors 19... 16.2%
Journalists 12... 10.3%
Undetermined 9... 7.7%
Entertainer 8... 6.8%
Other 22... 18.8%
Total 117... 100.0%

Corpus and Method:

My corpus consisted of pictures in news stories; I gathered the information from the May 15, 2006 issues of Time and Newsweek magazines. I used quantitative and qualitative methods of content analysis. The main person(s) photographed in each news story was primarily coded for gender then coded for occupation. The categories I chose to code for occupations were
Government officials, Business Executives, Journalists, Church officials, Authors, Celebs, and Other.

In the study I conducted looking at the May 15, 2006 issues of Newsweek and Time, I found that the majority of women represented the other category in both magazines. Seventy- one percent in of women represented other in Newsweek and fifty- eight percent in Time. The majority of men in Newsweek represented other. However, in Time men were mostly represented in the government official category.

Leading occupations for male and female non-candidates pictured in Time and Newsweek stories (2006)

Newsweek Magazine


Government officials 8... 19.0%
Business Executives 1... 2%
Journalists 1... 2%
Church officials 0... 0%
Authors 1... 2%
Other 21... 50%
Celebs 10... 23.0%
Total 42... 100.0%

Government officials 3... 7%
Business executives 3... 7%
Journalists 2... 5%
Church officials 0... 0%
Authors 0... 0%
Other 27... 71.0%
Celebs 3... 7%
Total 38... 100.0%

Time Magazine


Government officials 19... 35.0%
Business Executives 3... 5%
Journalists 1... 1%
Church officials 2... 3%
Authors 0... 0%
Other 16... 30%
Celebs 12... 22.0%
Total 53... 100.0%

Government officials 1... 4%
Business executives 0... 0%
Journalists 0... 5%
Church officials 0... 0%
Authors 0... 0%
Other 14... 58.0%
Celebs 9...37.0%
Total 24... 100.0%


I found that women were represented less in leading occupations than men. The sample I used from Time and Newsweek confirmed my assumption that high ranking women are rarely featured in magazine article pictures. Maybe this is because they are not getting equal news coverage in these types of magazines? Both of these magazines focus on U.S. and World news, entertainment, politics, and business. Women are underrepresented in these fields so it would make sense that they would be featured less in these types of magazines.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Too much TV?

Do Americans watch too much TV?

I was surprised to learn that 99.9% of American households have a television. And even more surprised that kids spend 5-6 hours per day with media. I understand that many parents have busy schedules but I think they are devoting too much time to work and not family. If you let your child watch too much television they will eventually turn into people who cannot think for themselves.

Video games are also another thing that is ruining our youth. Kids spend hours playing nasty and violent games such as “Grand Theft Auto.” Videogames have gotten way out of hand. Nowadays, videogames have sex, guns, stabbing, and drugs. Parents are buying these games for their kids with out knowing what they are. These are clearly very inappropriate games. Parents ought t do more research on what they buy their kids. I also think that kids ought to be spending more time with family or playing outside with friends.

When I was a kid I was never allowed to watch more than one hour of television per day. Instead of playing videogames we read books, painted, rode our bikes, swam, run, played sports, etc. I think kids need to get out of the house and socialize instead of spending all day watching television and playing offensive videogames.

"Merchant of Cool"

“Merchant of Cool” shows the extreme measures MTV and other companies take to attract youth to their products by making their brands new and cool. Sometimes they may use a celebrity or other teens to advertise their products. They have to keep reinventing ways to get teenagers attention.

In the movie, they showed a thirteen year old girl, Barbara, dancing with older guys and basically acting like a slut. Barbara also stated in the film that she felt like she had to look pretty all the time to get people to like her. She is aspiring to be amodel and is very optimistic about her "successful" career. I think she should be concentrating on school more than he looks. And where the heck are her parents while she's out there dancing with strangers? All I know is that my mom would have slapped me if I were out looking and acting like that. She seems desperate for attention.

It makes me feel sad when I see young girls striving to look like Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears because those images are so fake. Images that are shown to youngsters affect their judgment and decision making process. Girls are trying to live up to people who are created by the media.

Killing Us Softly

Here is Jean Kilburne's website:

Killing Us Softly

Killing Us Softly had a very powerful message. Jean Kilbourne presented various ways that the media portrays women and men negatively. She believes that the mass media often depicts women as objects instead of subjects. This assumption that women are objects subjects them to violence, harassment and discrimination.

I agree with some of Kilbourne's ideas. She had a wide variety of examples where women are depicted as weak, over- sexual, and helpless. These images of women create negative stereotypes. Consumers do not realize how much advertising affects their thoughts and ideas. Advertising is brainwashing our society by encouraging people to buy products that oppress women in their ads.

These offensive ads define and reduce women to their body parts. I think that companies need to be aware of the powerful messages they are putting out through the media. Advertising companies should be held responsible by customers for tarnishing women’s images.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shoshanna Johnson and Jessica Lynch

May 16, 2006

I think that Jessica Lynch definitely got more media attention because she is a white young woman as opposed to Shoshanna Johnson who is a black single mother. Most Americans felt more sympathetic towards Lynch because the media described her as a delicate woman. Johnson was described as a tougher woman. Also the pictures that the press used for Lynch showed her delicate and beautiful side. Johnson’s photos depicted her as a rough and unglamorous woman.

I do not think that the media was fair to Johnson because she went through the same things that Lynch went through. According to Farai Chideya’s article Shoshanna Johnson was “shot through both legs and held prisoner for 22 days. (She was captured in the same ambush as Jessica Lynch, but remained in captivity longer.)” Also Lynch received an 80% disability benefit and Johnson received only 30%. This clearly shows that the two women were treated unequally. I think that they should have gotten equal disability benefits. In fact, Johnson should have received more because her injuries were more severe and she was captured for a longer period of time.

When Lynch returned to the U.S. she was given a lot of attention and treated like a heroine. The media probably focused on her more because Americans could relate more to a “white” heroine than a “black” woman. Because blacks are minorities the media tends to give them only negative attention in the news. People across the nation admired Lynch for her courage but ignored the fact that Johnson showed courage too.


A Double Standard for Heroes?
By Farai Chideya

Three-fifths of a heroine?
By Garry Grundy

Monday, May 15, 2006

May 15, 2006

Today, we discussed some of the fundamental ideas and theories that relate to media. One of the biggest topics that we discussed was how audience members perceive and are influenced by media; particularly in the United States. We also discussed how media contributes to stereotyping certain groups- mothers.

Mothers are often stereotyped by the media to be “loving, caring, and nurturing” and fathers are “hard-working, strong, and breadwinners.” The book Mommy Wars has started a fake feud between stay-at- home moms and working- moms. The media has begun a war between these two groups of people.

The concept of Cosmopolitanism would help stop this fake feud between mothers. Cosmopolitanism means to have a universal concern coupled with respect for legitimate differences. I think that we should all try to accept each others’ different lifestyles and choices. In order to practice this concept we must have communication with one another. Too many people rely upon the media (TV, radio, news, magazines, etc.) to think for them. If we do not solve that problem we face a “futureless future”.

Are we Consumers or Humans?

I definitely think that most people in the United States are consumers. Consumers are people are constantly spending time and money on things that are frivolous. The media dictates what people buy through advertising. These people buy things to make themselves feel good.