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Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (English)In: The European Journal of Women's Studies, ISSN 1350-5068, E-ISSN 1461-7420, Vol. 21, no 3, 233-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hip hop has grown into a worldwide genre in recent decades, often being associated with issues of race and class. However, as research on ‘hip hop feminism’ in the US context demonstrates, the categories of gender and sexuality are no less fundamental. In the growing body of international hip hop research, though, questions about gender have been relatively absent, and relatively little is known about how gender norms are negotiated and challenged in hip hop in Europe. This article seeks to contribute to filling this gap in the literature by exploring how women negotiate the gender norms of hip hop in the case of Sweden. To this end, rap lyrics by 12 female rap artists are analysed through poststructuralist discourse analysis. The analysis focuses on intersectionality, feminism within and beyond hip hop, as well as the possibilities and limitations of female masculinity. It is shown how the masculine norms of the genre are simultaneously resisted and resignified as many female rappers incorporate some elements commonly associated with masculinity but mobilize them in their challenging of masculine norms. In this way, complying with the genre interestingly produces a hard and explicit feminism in which ‘all sexist pigs will be slaughtered’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 21, no 3, 233-250 p.
Keyword [en]
female masculinity, feminism, hip hop, intersectionality, rap lyrics, Sweden, women in hip hop
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214568DOI: 10.1177/1350506813518761ISI: 000340132400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-214568DiVA: diva2:685085
Available from: 2014-01-08 Created: 2014-01-08 Last updated: 2015-01-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Reading Rap: Feminist Interventions in Men and Masculinity Research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reading Rap: Feminist Interventions in Men and Masculinity Research
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis explores how masculinity is constructed and negotiated in relation to race, class and sexuality in hip hop in Sweden. Theoretically, the study contributes to the increasing use of contemporary feminist theory in men and masculinity research. In so doing, it brings into dialogue poststructuralist feminism, feminist phenomenology, intersectionality and queer theory. These theoretical perspectives are put to use in a discourse analysis of rap lyrics by 38 rap artists in Sweden from the period 1991-2011. The thesis is based on the following four articles:

Sticky masculinity: Post-structuralism, phenomenology and subjectivity in critical studies on men explores how poststructuralist feminism and feminist phenomenology can advance the understanding of subjectivity within men and masculinity research. Drawing on Sara Ahmed, and offering re-readings of John Stoltenberg and Victor Seidler, the article develops the notion of “sticky masculinity”.

Degrees of intersectionality: Male rap artists in Sweden negotiating class, race and gender analyzes how class, race, gender, and to some extent sexuality, intersect in rap lyrics by male artists. It shows how critiques of class and race inequalities in these lyrics intersect with normative notions of gender and sexuality. Drawing on this empirical analysis, the article suggests that the notion of “degrees of intersectionality” can be helpful in thinking about masculinity from an intersectional perspective.

‘No homo’: Straight inoculations and the queering of masculinity in Swedish hip hop explores the boundary work performed by male artists regarding sexuality categories. In particular, it analyzes how heterosexuality is sustained, given the affection expressed among male peers. To this end, the article develops the notion of “straight inoculations” to account for the rhetorical means by which heterosexual identities are sustained in a contested terrain.

Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity investigates lyrics by female artists in the male-dominated hip hop genre. The analysis shows how critique of gender inequality is a central theme in these lyrics, ranging from the hip hop scene to politics and men’s violence against women. The article also analyzes how female rappers both critique and perform masculinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 66 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 101
hip hop, rap lyrics, men and masculinity, feminist theory, intersectionality, queer theory, poststructuralism, feminist phenomenology, discourse analysis, cultural studies, popular music, gender, sexuality, race, class
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-229518 (URN)978-91-554-9012-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-10-10, Room IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-09-19 Created: 2014-08-11 Last updated: 2015-01-22

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Berggren, Kalle
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