The Role of Women in Reggae Music

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Bridget Murphy
Rhetoric of Reggae: Final Paper
“The Role of Women in Reggae: Past and Present” Reggae music is globally known and listened to by many people from different walks of life. This genre of music is closely related to Rastafarianism, and many people believe that Bob Marley was influential in the spread of the Rastafari religion through his music. There is a direct correlation between Rastafarianism and reggae music. It is pertinent to understand the ideas and culture of Rastafari in order to fully appreciate reggae music. Music was typically seen in Jamaican culture as a way to stay out of trouble, and avoid becoming a part of the “rude boy” lifestyle. The “rude boy” lifestyle typically led to violence and further crime. In the early years, before the introduction of reggae music, Rastafarians were normally not allowed within recording studios, therefore stunting their creative ability. Throughout time these accepted norms would change as the Rastafari movement began to gain ground among young, aspiring musicians. Once this movement was established, the Rastafarian message began to dominate reggae music and spread throughout the world. Some popular names in reggae music include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, and Jimmy Cliff. Many of the well-known artists are predominantly male. There are some women present within this genre; however, they have not received the widespread recognition of their male peers. This inequality stems from the Rastafari belief that men are superior to women. There are specific rules and commandments that Rasta women must adhere to and in which men are not subject to follow.
Women have faced oppression within the Rastafarian culture from its inception, and those ideals have carried over into the world of reggae music. Throughout time, Rasta women and women reggae artists have made great strides in an attempt to gain independence and recognition. Changes to the existing culture have started to become

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