Jackson Katz takes on Eminem's hatred of women and our silence about that

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martin dufresne
Jackson Katz takes on Eminem's hatred of women and our silence about that

Eminem, Misogyny, and the Sounds of Silence

Jackson Katz, on The Huffington Post, June 5, 2009:

(...) "For those of us who had hoped that his cultural moment had passed, the return of Eminem forces us to confront the disturbing reality that our society remains in deep denial about misogyny and its myriad manifestations in the art and commerce of everyday life. Misogyny (the hatred of women) in rap preceded Eminem and has thrived in his absence. And in fairness, the fact that he is white makes it easier for this writer and other whites to criticize him than it is to call out Black artists whose work is similarly sexist and oppressive. These racial dynamics are important issues to examine in another time and place.

"Nonetheless, the evidence of our culture's unwillingness to address the reality and ubiquity of men's violence against women is not merely contained in the lyrics on Eminem's new album, which when they're not exploring the depths to which the artist's drug addiction had taken him, characteristically communicate a deep contempt for women and a violent rage at them. This unwillingness is most clearly seen in the music reviews and overall media coverage of the rapper's comeback.

It is not what they say that is cause for concern, but what they studiously avoid. With a few notable exceptions, such as Alan Ranta on the web site Pop Matters calling Relapse "chauvinistic hate-speech," the high priests of cultural criticism in the journalistic mainstream seem to have decided that Eminem's virulent misogyny is no longer even worthy of a mention, much less an appropriate subject of extended commentary and critique. Is it truly possible that women's lives have been so thoroughly devalued that a multi-platinum musical artist with nine Grammy awards to his name can sing multiple songs about raping and mutilating women and hip sophisticates can't even bring themselves to utter the words "woman-hating?" (...)