One need not argue that boys and men who listen to Eminem will become rapist-murderers in order to maintain that misogynous music and lyrics play an important role in legitimating men’s mistreatment of women by making it culturally acceptable and even “cool” for men to express sexist rage against women and then hide behind the pretense that “it’s only a joke” if anyone takes it too seriously. That argument has long been discredited when it comes to racism. What’s the difference when the oppression in question is sexism, or heterosexism?
In domestic violence advocacy, there is a term used to describe a situation where people contribute to an abusive man’s behavior by their conscious actions, by their minimization of his crimes, or by their silence. It is called “colluding with the batterer.” It is hard to avoid the conclusion that a society where radio stations continue to play Eminem’s records, people continue to buy them, and critics continue to write about them while leaving out any condemnation of their vicious sexism, is a society that is in profound collusion with the batterer.
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