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Women's Music Essay

2195 words - 9 pages

For nearly thirty years, popular culture has been an ever transforming mosaic of human flesh, or more specifically female flesh. While it has been known for decades that ”sex sells”, this statement has taken on bizarre, and at times offensive aspects. It seems that the more modern we become, the more sexually explicit and objectifying media content becomes. This fact remains true across multitudes of media formats; today everything from vacuum cleaners to toothpaste is madly exciting by sex appeal. Ask any senior citizen about the content of television in past generations and you will likely hear them describe modern programs as inappropriate, even vulgar. Perhaps the perversion of sexuality and the objectification of women in the media are made most clear in a format of a few brief minutes of ‘scenery centered on a musical narrative. I speak of course of modern music videos. While there is not as much material available for analysis in music videos as there is in other media forms (due to the fact that music videos are a relatively new media format), examples of increasing objectification of female bodies are everywhere. In order to best illustrate this point I have selected sixteen music videos to dissect and study. These videos vary both in their genre and era. In an attempt to cover all bases, I have selected several videos from pop and rock as well as rap (hip-hop).
Pop music is named as such because it is what is considered the most popular musical genre. Because of the large potential audience for pop music, I will deal with these videos first. In order to show just how far the sexualization and objectification of women has gone, I have selected four pop videos, two from Grammy winner Mariah Carey and two from platinum recording artist (and former Mickey Mouse club member) Christina Aguilera. I purposely chose video examples from opposite ends of those artists’ careers (one from the beginning of their career, and one recent video) so that readers can see just how far objectification has come in a short time.
The first Mariah Carey Video I chose was You’ll Always be My Baby. I chose this video for two reasons. First and foremost, it was one of Ms. Carey’s first hit singles and second, it deals (as do most pop songs) with love. I thought that by choosing a song about love I might get to see some of the more explicit video segments that the early 1990’s had to offer. My hypothesis was far from supported as this video showed relatively few stereotypes, and the sexual objectification of the female main character (Mariah herself) was non existent. The video details a childhood romance that faded, but the fact that first loves always hold a special place in one’s heart. While both Mariah and the adolescent girl she is played by are dressed relatively conservatively and are, for the most part, not sexually objectified, certain stereotypes persist. For one the video only shows Mariah in settings of leisure activities, she is rocking back and...

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