Sexist? Maybe its all the rap music you’ve been listening to

Based on some research they conducted way back (I think) before I even got to NCSU, my friends Bill Boettcher and Mike Cobb hit the media with some interesting non public opinion on Iraq research.  From the Raleigh News & Observer:

Rap music brings out sexism in college students, but it doesn't
necessarily cause them to be sexist, a new study from NC State says. In
light of claims that rap music causes sexist beliefs, the study's
authors say the connection isn't likely to be a direct cause and effect.

“It's
like hearing the word 'chocolate' and suddenly having a craving for a
candy bar,” says Michael Cobb, assistant professor of political
science, who conducted the study along with Bill Boettcher, associate
professor of political science.

In a press release today, NC State reports that
the study found that college students who were asked to listen to rap
music had significantly higher levels of reported sexism. In the study,
males who listened to any rap music were more sexist than those in the
control group even though sometimes the rap lyrics did not include
sexist language.

Females in the study also reported higher levels
of sexism when rap music was not sexist in its language, but their
endorsement of sexist beliefs was the lowest after listening to rap
with overtly sexist language.

“Sexism is imbedded in the culture
we live in, and hearing rap music can spontaneously activate
pre-existing awareness of sexist beliefs,” Cobb says. “We feel it's
unlikely that hearing lyrics in a song creates attitudes that did not
previously exist.”

In another area of the study, Cobb and
Boettcher found that sexist attitudes among respondents also increased
after exposure to rap that contained no sexist lyrics.

“Rap music
may be associated with sexist attitudes and beliefs, regardless of the
actual lyrical content,” Cobb says. “So non-sexist rap can now have
sexist implications. This gets back to our hypothesis that we don't
think rap music causes sexism, because how can rap that contains
non-sexist lyrics cause someone to become sexist?”

As to whether rap causes sexist beliefs, just to be on the safe side, you should probably stick with Celine Dion.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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