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Can rappers beef without resorting to misogyny?

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Kanye West's withering takedown of Wiz Khalifa has officially leveled Twitter, leaving us to marvel in its wake. It was, for the most part, wonderful to watch, and like any rap beef in the present era, will likely spawn all manner of memes and commentary in the coming weeks. But like so many rap beefs these days, the feud quickly descended into casual misogyny. We shouldn't need reminding that that's unacceptable.

Deep in Kanye's tweetstorm, he made references to his ex-girlfriend and Wiz's ex-wife Amber Rose. His remarks weren't anywhere near charitable (the tweets below have since been deleted):

These are shitty tweets. They're shitty because they show Kanye, whatever his feelings on his relationship to Amber may be, subscribing to the common notion that strippers are an untouchable caste when actually they're human beings making human decisions, the kind too often made under duress. Yes, Amber Rose was a stripper. She's also an accomplished businesswoman, actress, and advocate against slut shaming. Kanye must have missed the movement.

Women are too often used as weapons in these petty feuds

Rappers are expected to throw all kinds of creative digs at one another when they're embroiled in a beef. The flagrant disrespect is what makes beefs such fun spectator events, especially since we're well past the era when feuds could very likely lead to bloodshed. But women are too often used as weapons in these conflicts. Meek Mill (may he rest in peace) was brought low last year mainly because Drake questioned his relationship with Nicki Minaj. "Is that a world tour or your girl's tour?" Drake joked, seemingly forgetting how long he thirsted after Nicki himself. Meanwhile, 50 Cent released what was actually revenge porn in his battle with Rick Ross in 2009, a move that lost him $5 million in court last year.

Artists should do better. Taking shots at women to hurt an enemy, by way of their sexual history or how successful they are, ignores that they're capable as creators and valuable as consumers. They have voices and they will use them. Amber Rose certainly is: