Lies Hip Hop Told Me: Bi**hes Ain’t S**t
In 1992, Dr. Dre exemplified the prevalent view of women in hip-hop culture with his song, “Bi**hes Ain’t S**t.”
On this song from Dre’s hugely successful “solo” debut, Snoop Dogg delivered a sing-song chorus so offensive I dare not repeat it here. By way of summary, the song claims that women are not good for anything other than oral sex and, as such, should be dismissed from a man’s company when that work is done. Just a year later, Snoop released “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None),” in which Snoop and his friends have their way with women and then pass them onto their friends because, as Kurupt raps in his verse, “there’s nothing else to do with it.”
For several decades, hip-hop has most often presented women as untrustworthy sex objects who are valuable for nothing more than a man’s personal gratification. Of course, this is a lie. But it is a lie that millions have believed.
Consequently, this lie has done much damage to the women who are treated this way as well as the men who believe that to treat them any other way is a sign of weakness. I was one such man for many years and I have only been freed from this as I have learned to allow the Bible — instead of BET and MTV — to shape my view of women.
The Bible presents women not as objects but as God’s image bearers. In the first book of the Bible, God declares his intentions, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Moses, the author of Genesis, then tells us God did just as he intended, “So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, emphasis mine).
According to the Scriptures, both men and women equally bear God’s image. This means men and women are equally valuable because both equally show us something of what God is like. Thus, because God has given both men and women the innate ability to put his nature and character on display, anyone who would minimize the value of a human being is minimizing the value of God’s image in them.
For this reason, God promises severe judgment for murder, which destroys God’s image physically. In Genesis 9:6 he warns, “Whoever sheds human blood, by human beings shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made humankind.”
God also promises grave consequences for those who slander another human being, which destroys God’s image verbally. In James 3:9 we read, “With the tongue…we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” Because of this, James describes the tongue as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8) that “sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). In short, to devalue a woman is to devalue the God who made her in his image — an utterly dangerous thing to do.
In addition to creating females in his image, the same God who reveals himself as Father also uses female imagery to illustrate certain aspects of his nature. This occurs frequently in the book of Isaiah. For instance, as God prepares to break out with powerful cries against his rebellious people he compares himself to a woman in labor (Isaiah 42:14).
Yet, despite the sin of his people, God will not forget his people any more than a mother can “forget the baby at her breast” (Isaiah 49:15) and promises “as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). God continues to use female imagery to illustrate certain aspects of his nature in the New Testament.
In Luke 15:8-10, Jesus likens God to a woman seeking a lost coin while in 1 Peter 2:2 the Apostle exhorts Christians to approach God like newborn babes craving spiritual milk from his bosom. To devalue a woman is to devalue the God who sometimes likens himself to one — an utterly reckless thing to do.
The innate value of women is also evidenced by Jesus’ great love for them. On multiple occasions Jesus stepped outside the bounds of his culture and treated women with unparalleled respect.
He healed a woman who was ritually impure (Mark 5:25-34), he gave equal rights to husbands and wives though tradition favored the husband (Mark 10:11-12), he shared intimate communion with a woman of ill repute (Luke 7:36-50), he traveled with women in his inner circle (Luke 8:1-3), he taught women though other rabbis taught only men (Luke 10:38-42), he offered eternal life to a foreign woman when custom forbade him from even speaking to her (John 4), and he appeared first to his female companions after his resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10). To devalue a woman is to devalue someone that Jesus loves dearly—an utterly foolish thing to do.
In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that the Bible teaches that men are to honor women just as God does. The Christian man is to “treat…older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Such honor is to be given to all women but special honor is reserved for a man’s bride:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, people have never hated their own bodies, but they feed and care for them, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:25-30).
Notice that men are called to love their wives as Christ “loved” the Church. Even though Jesus continues to love the Church Paul chose to speak of his love in the past tense. He did this to emphasize the ultimate expression of Christ’s love: his willful death on the cross for the Church.
It is in this self-sacrificial way that men are to honor their wives, thereby reinforcing the innate value of women. If a man finds a wife he “finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). Thus, to dishonor a woman is to dishonor a gift from God-an utterly senseless thing to do.
The lie that “Bi**hes Ain’t S**t” has done much damage to both women and men and has contributed to the tension and division between the two sexes. As such, it may seem impossible to undo the destruction this lie has caused.
Left to ourselves, it very well may be, but through Jesus Christ it is not. For in the Church of Jesus Christ “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Jesus has come in the flesh to put an end to the tension and division between humanity and God and to the tension and division within humanity itself. Through faith in his person and work, men and women alike are reconciled to God, becoming one with him and one with each other. This is further evidence of the equal value of men and women as Jesus paid the same price to redeem them both as his own people.