Blue Ivy Carter and the Potential Shift of Gender Perception in Hip Hop

01/31/2012 03:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 01, 2012

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you're well aware that pop culture icons Beyonce and Jay-Z are now parents to the most famous baby in recent history, Blue Ivy Carter.

Their daughter is now also the youngest person to ever appear on the Billboard Charts, making her claim to fame crying in the background of Jay-Z's single "Glory," in which he describes his emotions after becoming a parent.

Baby girl Blue has been a hot topic of conversation since her birth. It has left people wondering -- what does this mean for the future of Jay-Z's rap career?

It's no secret that one of Brooklyn's finest doesn't have a squeaky-clean record when it comes to depicting women throughout his career. Sexist tendencies are all too common in any male-dominated industry, and the rap game isn't any different.

Jay-Z is guilty of falling victim to utilizing controversial lyrics with negative connotations. The famous rapper has toned it down since his relationship with Beyonce, but the "sluts" and "hoes" still find their way into his songs.

There has been a debate as to whether Jay-Z -- and other rappers like him -- is sexist, or if his behavior is reflective of his professional work. It's oftentimes not solely individuals who are responsible for their actions, but also the systems in place and societies at large that encourage poor decision-making.

Regardless of who's to blame, Jay-Z's language choices perpetuate a misogynistic environment toward women in rap and hip hop, and this is what makes critics skeptical of any possible changes in his work due to Blue Ivy.

There were other opportunities for Jay-Z to change his ways and form a new consciousness about women's rights before the birth of his daughter, but there's no denying the importance of personal experiences in relation to political and social choices. Sometimes it takes a life-altering experience to come to certain realizations. This is a familiar concept to many feminist theorists who claim that the personal is political, and our own experiences and histories shape our political understandings.

Blue Ivy's existence will force her parents to re-evaluate their music and career choices and work toward presenting female-positive messages. This is already apparent in Jay-Z's "Glory" when he introduces the fact that his wife miscarried before Blue Ivy. While the couple usually remains private about their personal lives, he felt compelled to mention the struggle of Bey's miscarriage. He addresses a topic often deemed taboo to publicly talk about. With these few lines, Jay-Z helps destigmatize the nature of miscarriage discussions and opens up a dialogue about the role of women's bodies in childbirth.

The birth of this new celebrity baby is important because of her ability to shape the way her parents demonstrate an understanding of gender. This, in turn, will benefit the masses and help shift public perceptions and dialogue around gender.

It's not guaranteed that Jay-Z will eliminate all sexist words entirely, but there's a strong possibility the hip hop culture will transform its perception of gender equality; his actions have a hold over millions of fans and other artists.

Blue Ivy's significance extends beyond what she's capable of individually because Blue's existence influences two of the most successful and popular artists in history. Even if it took an experience that affected him on a personal level, Jay-Z seems to be taking positive steps in a direction toward female-positive messages in his music, and the reason behind his powerful influence is one small woman. You have to love the Carter family for that.

A version of this post originally appeared in the "Daily Orange."