Rap music linked to teen pregnancies

It promotes a demeaning view of sex, thus encouraging children to experiment with it, says a UK research.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 13:04 IST

After being blamed for inciting violence with their lyrics, rap stars have come under fire once again - this time for promoting a demeaning view of sex, thus encouraging children as young as 12 to experiment with it, leading to a growing number of teen pregnancies.

And the blame is being put not by worried parents, but by a scientific three-year study by a team of psychologists led by Dr Steven Martino.

Their research has shown that rap songs, more than any other kind of genre of music, affects the attitudes of boys and girls to sex, and is responsible for them experimenting with sex at an increasingly younger age.

Dr Steven Martino said that the lyrics in rap songs, by depicting women as mere objects and sex as insignificant, were causing changes in teens’ sexual behaviours.

"These lyrics depict men as sexually insatiable, women as sexual objects, and sexual intercourse as inconsequential. Other songs about sex don't appear to influence youth the same way," the Daily Mail quoted him, as saying.

"These portrayals objectify and degrade women in ways that are clear but they do the same to men by depicting them as sex-driven studs. Musicians who use this type of sexual imagery are communicating something very specific about what sexual roles are appropriate, and teenage listeners may act on these messages," he said.

Martino further said that by promoting acceptance of women as sexual objects and men as pursuers, these lyrics tend to stereotype boys and girls, and send out the message that it is okay for women to be submissive partners in a relationship, and be treated with disrespect.

"These lyrics are likely to promote the acceptance of women as sexual objects and men as pursuers of sexual conquest. Despite the fact that degrading sexual lyrics are particularly demeaning for women, they affect adolescent boys and girls similarly," he said.

"It may be that girls who are repeatedly exposed to these messages expect to take a submissive role in their sexual relationships and to be treated with disrespect by their partners. These expectations may then have lasting effects on their relationship choices. Boys, on the other hand, may come to interpret reckless male sexual behaviour as 'boys being boys' and dismiss their partners' feelings and welfare as unimportant," he added.

The study is published in the current edition of the journal Pediatrics.

First Published: Aug 23, 2006 09:00 IST