Representation in Music Video

Music Videos and Representation 

What is representation?  How the artist or band is portrayed via music videos and how it portrays other things in it’s video.

In these videos and films aspects of reality are picked upon and reshaped to suit current trends in society to make money or get people interested in the products they’re selling. To do this media producers use stereotypes because the audience easily understands what is trying to be portrayed.

Women are often represented in a negative light, as sexual objects for men. A good example of this is Lil Wayne’s Lollipop.

The Video shows Lil Wayne surrounded by girls in a limo. The sheer number of women suggests that they are basically interchangeable and disposable and that the sexuality of the women is only existent in relation to men. Which in my opinion is not the kind of message you want to be portraying to the public.

All of the women have their eyes on him and checking him out however he seems to be ignoring them all, implying he has some sort of superiority to all the girls in his company.

The models featured  have curvaceous figures, as they do in many other rap/ hip hop music videos. People watching it may begin to think that only women who look this way are attractive. However, these women do not look like the kind of woman you would want to have as a mother, daughter or wife. They are shown as overtly sexual and promiscuous and are scantily clad, whilst gyrating in front of the artist, fighting for his attention.

What surprises me the most is that these women are willing to degrade themselves in these Music Videos, Do they realise they are participating in the brainwashing of a younger generation who are dressing  and acting more provocatively because they have been fed these over-sexualised images from an early age. When young girls go out they wear skimpy clothing and have no qualms about gyrating with men they have only just met, if the Hydrodermic Needle model is anything to go by, it could be because these music videos have changed what is deemed acceptable? Moral standards have changed, women’s sexuality is displayed in an almost grotesque manner.  The most disturbing image for me, in Lil Wayne’s music Video is that at the start, a woman is seen to be tucking money into her bra. This seems to be a common image in modern rap/ hip hop music videos and it could suggest the women has been rewarded for her sexual behaviour.

Children watch these music videos, what kind of impression does it have on them? Will it warp their view of women? Perhaps even devalue women? If this is the case we need to do more about protecting young children from seeing images that are derogatory toward women and maybe society needs to think about it’s morals when it comes to what is acceptable to show in a music video.

I’ve posted an interesting link about CNN’s take on how modern Hip-Hop portrays women.

Chris Rock talks about the the representation and objectification of women in music videos during his Never Scared tour. He talks about women just accepting what is said in these songs, using the excuse that it isn’t about them. (2:26 – 4:10) 

This video focuses on the sexual violence and objectification of women in modern music videos.
In 50 Cent’s video for ‘In Da Club’ he is seen to have superhuman, almost machine like strength, shown as being well built and strong working out all the time.  Black men are often shown as being big and strong in music videos. Another example of this can be seen in the video for ‘Say Say Say’ by Micheal Jackson and Paul McCartney. The man Micheal Jackson arm wrestles with after drinking the magic potion given to him my McCartney happens to be hunky. This gives the public the impression that all black men are muscly and strong, which is not always the case! 

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