This will be short section, because it should come as no surprise to anyone out there. But the marketing departments in our society largely revolve around an almost timeless principle that using sex to sell will definitely help you get the attention of our audience. I won’t delve too much into this principle, since it’s been done to death by so many others, and should pretty much be common knowledge. So I’ll just jump to the point.
The music industry is a business. Hopefully this too comes as no surprise, but there are record companies out there who invest lots of money into lots of artists. Each of those artists is basically a product that the company has helped to develop, and they are very eager to bring as many of them to market and to sell lots of records so they can earn a return on their investment. It may be an unfortunate state of affairs, especially in so many instances where the business side begins to actually interfere and alter the original artistic element, but it’s not rocket science that the record companies would want to have an influence to help their artists sell more records.
The problem is that sex is also a good way to catch attention even in the music industry. Videos with attractive people are going to be more likely to keep you from turning the channel, and you’re probably more likely to buy a magazine with an attractive person on it.
Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a genre that is already experiencing a sociological shift in how it prioritizes the pursuit of physical mastery and dominance over artist integrity and is already having problems with the tendency to objectify women, then you’ve got a perfect candidate to use sex to sell more records. It’s almost just the course of least resistance when you think about it. You’ve got artists who are seeking power, and the ability to portray dominance over their environment, so they not only may perhaps be more willing to participate in the objectification of women but are also going to be more desperate to obtain those higher record sales so they can acquire other material indicators of their success and mastery over their environment.
Obviously, this is not at all what hip-hop was ever supposed to be. To many in this culture, this state of affairs is repulsive and disgusting. But we must first understand the reasons that things have come to this point if we ever hope to rectify the situation. The tendency to use sex to help sell our artistic endeavors is certainly one of the strongest factors in hip-hop’s excessive degradation of women, and the mistaken pursuit of power only (discussed in the previous section) amplifies this tendency.