Group 9

 

Writers:

Sean Maguire

Vanessa Malone

Jacquelyn Markovich

Stephen Massey

Ryan McNulty

Sean McPike

Alex Meiring

 

Editors:

Sean Maguire

Vanessa Malone

 

Webpage and Image Creator:

Jeff McDaniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women in the Visual Media: Does Appearance Matter?

By Stephen E. Massey

Who says appearance does not matter? Indeed, we know that this statement has been proven false. Like it or not, women are some of our top advertising agents in todayís society. It is often said "you canít judge a book by its cover" however, when some men go to purchase a movie or go to the cinema, one of the deciding factors of which movie to watch is based on what female will be featured.

Women tend to complain about being looked at like a piece of meat, but they do not give us any reason not to. If women did not like the attention they are receiving, then changes to the body such as breast implants, butt enhancers, and liposuction would not be necessary.

According to Laurien Alexandre, project director of Immaculate Heart College Center in Los Angeles, and a teacher of media at California State University Northridge. "The options are few. In the process of living, women are made to feel self-conscious and guilty for being real"(Alexandre 2003). They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

In an article entitled Beauty and the Beast of Advertising it stated, "Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because they are new and inexperienced consumers and are the prime targets of many advertisements. They are in the process of learning their values and roles and developing their self-concepts. Most teenagers are sensitive to peer pressure and find it difficult to resist or even question the dominant cultural messages perpetuated and reinforced by the media. Mass communication has made possible a kind of national peer pressure that erodes private and individual values and standards" (Kilbourne 2002-2003). The fact of the matter is that sex sells, and as long as society continues to buy into this concept how will we be able to stop it? The answer is simple, love yourself and do not try to please people.

Women in Music Videos
By: Vanessa Malone


Rap music videos are so powerful that they contribute to
shaping a womanís image and status in society. Throughout the past
decade, rap music videos have influenced various perceptions of the
images of women. Moreover, this type of home entertainment puts false
perceptions of women into the mainstream of America. These perceptions
range from women being viewed as sex symbols to their intelligence.
Today, the nature of rap music videos directly misrepresents women.
Women portrayed as sex symbols or material objects in rap music videos,
suggests that they are powerless and submissive.

Women should not be portrayed as submissive people in need
of protection and adoration in rap music videos; this is a false
perception hurting the image of all women. In rap music videos women
are depicted as the weaker sex, in need of protection from men. After
viewing rap music videos by Jay-Z, R-Kelly and Snoop Dogg itís obvious
that these women who participate in the videos have no personal values.
They are solely dependent on men and want to be rescued. In the videos
they rarely say anything and are positioned closely to the rapper.

Many of the videos are directed by men who have concocted an image of
the "perfect" woman. "A woman who is beautiful, sensuous and ready to
be seduced at any time is the type of person for the job" (Duquaine).
Clearly, these scenes hurt the image of women by generating a dangerous
gender stereotype. Viewers are under this false impression that all
women want this title. Women in our society have historically fought
for equality and certain music videos derail all the progress that has been made.

Clothing women wear in music videos is too provocative,
creating the idea that they are sex symbols. Male artists prefer that
women wear provocative clothing in their music videos to satiate male
desire in music. Many rap videos that are regularly shown, display
many dancing women (usually surrounding one or two men) wearing not
much more than a bikini, with cameras focusing on their body parts.

Every time a video portraying these views is shown on television it is
in reality misrepresenting women and it hurts all women as a whole
because we are directly affected by this negative representation. "This
image diminishes a womanís worth personally and publicly" (Morgan).

These images are shown along with explicit lyrics that commonly
contain name calling to suggest that women are worthless. Itís
bothersome to watch women support the message that dancing seductively
in front of a camera is the only way to receive male affection. Women
are described as being only good for sexual relations by rappers who
call themselves "pimps". In many popular songs men glorify the life of
pimps (Hay). For example, the artist 50 Cent has a song by the name of
P.I.M.P. He raps about women having a fetish for him because he is rich
and all the cars and other material objects he owns. According to the
article Sex, Lies and Videos, "The problem with rap is that the images
of cool women they present are always degrading to other women. They
get to be only one thing-toys for boys (Morgan) ".

In addition to fashion, women in rap music videos appear in erotic
scenes. In some videos they are seductively draped over car hoods or
undressing in silhouette behind window shades. Furthermore, some other
videos feature women indulging in shameful activities such as foul play
or explicit sexual positions. Some viewers look at these videos and
see their actions as acceptable. Others see that these behaviors are
unacceptable.

Music videos objectify women as trophy pieces and property, which is commonly affiliated with materialism. In Ja Ruleís video, Always on Time, there are two women on each side of him pouring him milk and cereal. This scene implies that women are only capable of doing simple tasks and that they are possessions. Similarly, in other videos, beautiful women are positioned near an elegant car smiling or laughing seductively. "Male artists use women in their videos as an accessory, to make the video more appealing to a larger audience" (Baraka). Another video that portrays women as property is the artist Busta Rhymeís song, Pass the Courvoisier. A scene in this video shows many women posing in a showcase being examined by three rappers. The rappers joyfully pick women whom they want to be with and the women smile seductively as they are chosen. Both these scenes obviously depict men enacting their role as a "pimps". Video entertainment of this kind is detrimental to a womanís self-image.

Women in opposition of the proposal that rap videos objectify them embrace the subservient role, a role that implies that women canít equally do the same things as men. They argue that music videos donít suggest that women are powerless and submissive want the image of a helpless and unintelligent person. They feel that this is what they were born to do, satisfy the pleasures of men. Obviously, education is not the path women in rap music videos want to take. Itís easier to earn a living by dressing up in hooker clothes and by posing around rappers. Women attempting to stray away from these perceptions are complaining to music stations such as BET and MTV, informing them that the content of the videos is demeaning (Baraka). Videos influence how women think of themselves and how they conduct themselves. Viewers are under the impression that this behavior is acceptable, when thereís no one to refute it. Duquaine stated in the article "Women Objectified: Gender, Violence, and Mass Media" that "these videos provide an in-depth, critical analysis of media messages and how they contribute to gender role expectations within American culture".

Some women feel that power and material wealth are
qualities for men, leading them to follow current negative trends
because they feel men have always been dominant in society and in
life. Rap videos donít portray financial independence, education,
ambition, intelligence, spirituality and love. These aspects are
priceless and should be praised by all women. According to the article
Sex, Lies and Videos, "In rap videos, there is no self. Girls become
body parts and nothing more (Baraka)."

Women have advanced in society and in life financially and publicly;
therefore, this feeling that men should always be the dominant sex is
false. Today, women are doctors and lawyers. Many women historically
and presently have paved a way for women to become something in this
competitive world. Men and women have equal opportunities. Women
should not settle for the images displayed in music videos. Those
images are nothing to be proud of and should not be viewed by young
viewers.

Most rap videos misrepresent women, but there are also
other videos that show strong-willed women. Those who feel that
certain videos degrade women appreciate videos that have something
positive and encouraging to say about women. For example, one group by
the name of Destinyís Child sang numerous songs that uplifted the self-
esteem in women. A few songs sang by the group are Independent Women
and Survivor. Both songs are strong for their profound lyrics.
Survivor incorporates strong women demonstrating strength to handle any
obstacles coming their way. Similarly, Independent Women is about
working hard and accomplishing goals in life. The song salutes all
women in the world who are working hard to get what they want. Songs
like these are important to television in order to give confidence to
women.

Rap music videos displaying women and negative sex appeal
are ruining the image that women fought as hard to earn. Women have
advanced economically and professionally throughout the past decade.
Videos depicting women as helpless, unintelligent and submissive are
contrary to the progression of respect, dignity and a sense of self for
women.

How Music Videos Effect Self-Esteem in Women

By: Jackie Markovich

In todayís day and age, the media plays a big role in how
people act and dress in everyday life. Many ideas for style and
behavior come from watching music videos, reading magazine articles,
and advertisements. With media making such a big impact on American
citizens, it seems that women especially, should be portrayed in a
more positive and less provocative manner.

In todayís society, women are shown more as objects and sex symbols
than actual independent people. As Kimberly Johnson of the Young
Peopleís Press asks, "When you think of a Black woman what image comes
to mind?" Many times women are thought of as thin, beautiful, and
dressed in skimpy outfits. This is especially true for black women,
who are often featured in rap music videos. These young, beautiful
women are usually shown wearing barely anything, and are always at the
beck and call of the rapper in the video.

As a result of these beautiful women always shown in the media, people
begin to think less of themselves and idealize these television
stars. The biggest problem with this is that women have a lower self
esteem, and begin to dress and act like these women in music videos.
The women who are featured at the sides of rap stars are treated more
as objects than real women. The men in these videos donít respect
women, and make these innocent women serve them and treat them almost
as their own personal slaves.

Starting at a young age, children begin to view these videos and think
that they are the way that people should really act, which is
completely wrong ("Influence"). Rap stars make women seem like
objects, when in all actuality everyone is their own person. These
young children should be taught that everyone is an individual, and
should not have to change their image for anyone. If this isnít
fixed, statistics concerning self-image and the result of seeing these
videos will continue to rise. As one survey concludes, "at age
thirteen, 53% of American girls are "unhappy with their bodies." This
grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen" (Media). Rap videos
not only affect body image, but they also convey a mentality that all
women are inferior to men.

In a society that claims that we are all free and equal, there is an
awful lot of influence in the media that concludes otherwise. Women
are looked upon in society as being inferior to men. To stop this,
the media needs to stop portraying men as better than women, and begin
showing that women have as much independence in society as men. This
will help our nation as a whole, live better lives and start to
realize that no one is better than anyone else. One day, women may
stop being looked at as inferior, and gain a better self-image if the
media is willing to change a bit.

 

When Do Words Begin To Hurt?
By: Ryan McNulty

Since the beginning of the emerging hip-hop culture,
women have been viewed as sex objects instead of ladies. Women
have been thought of for only their bodies and not their
personality. Without seeing the music videos, and just listening to
the songs, you will know that this is true. "The name calling
disrespects, dehumanizes, and dishonors women. If a rapper
labels any woman with any hateful name, their audience may be
justified in committing physical or psychological violence
against a woman" (Ayanna). The name-calling may also be
representative of the way these men are thinking and feeling
the anger, disdain, and ill feelings toward women.

Several hip-hop artists do not only disrespect women in
their songs, but they violently describe what they would do to
a woman. For example, Eminem, a popular rapper from Detroit,
sings a song in which he describes killing his wife. The song,
Kim, is a portrayal of violence towards his wife lyrically. At
the end of the song Eminem says, "Now Bleed! Bitch Bleed! Bitch
Bleed! Bleed!" (www.azlyrics.com).

Many other hip-hop artists including Dr. Dre, and the Notorious B.I.G. have all made songs that reflect a negative image of women. For example, Snoop
Doggy Dogg, a famous rapper from Long Beach, California has a
song named "Break A Bitch Till I Die", in which he describes
how "bitches" try to play him and take all his money. This has
become a common trend among the hip-hop culture. Putting women
down lyrically has become almost second nature among hip-hop
artists and the people that listen to their music.

 

Rap music and how women are portrayed

By: Sean Maguire

Rap music and music videos have been around for a little over twenty years now. The styles of each artist vary from their sound, to the style of the music video, its elements, and the overall image of the musicians themselves. One thing that has not changed over the years is how women are portrayed in these videos.

Most women in rap videos are portrayed as objects meant only for their looks. In almost all rap videos women serve no purpose other than "rump shakers" or "eye candy". Because women are used as sex symbols it helps rap musicians to sell their music and videos. The sex symbol usage of women in rap videos is only one part of the issue.

The images of women in rap videos have a deeper meaning than just sex, it is about power. It is about showing the dominance of men and the control men need to have over women. Often, in music videos you see a man with money and power who uses women for nothing more than entertainment and pleasure, and when he is finished with one he moves on to the next.

Also, women are seen in rap videos as weak and defenseless and usually are experiencing some sort of emotional problem until the man comes in and saves the day. This kind of portrayal of women has lead to a steady rise in acts of violence towards women.

Although women are primarily used for images of sex some women have come along to change the image of women in rap videos. The image has changed with such groups and artists as Salt n Peppa, TLC, Ashanti, and Destinyís Child. These artists have made music to empower women and show their strengths rather than there weaknesses. Some examples include Bills, Bills, Bills by Destinyís child, Scrubs by TLC, and Unpretty by TLC. These videos somewhat reverse that roles of men and women portraying women as being in control and the men as being dependent on women. Unfortunately, groups like these fade out and the only image that is left is the image of women being portrayed as sex symbols.

 

Rap and the Women Associated with Rap

By Sean W. McPike

Today rap music has changed the way women are viewed in music videos, and this change has not been one good for the music industry or society at large. The most apparent of this change is the song by Sir Mix-a-Lot, "I like Big Butts", and this song has shown women with abundant backsides to be the best type of women to have. That is obviously not true. Women should not be judged on their looks, instead women are better when viewed as intelligent human beings, not a side of beef that we slobber over. The below statement was written by Ife Oshun, she feels extremely strong on the idea of women being more than drool cloths for men.

Rap music has been around a little over 25 years now with hip-hop culture being slightly older. We now have generations of heads who grew or are growing up listening to rap. We are just beginning to see the long term effects and benefits of the imagery gleaned from videos and lyrical content; at this point it's safe to say that the effects are deep and long reaching.

Obviously she is right women are to be respected for their knowledge and strength not for their backsides or other such body parts that many drool over repeatedly.

 

 

 

References

Academic Search Premier. The Music Video Revolution. April 5, 2003. Available online: http://web14.epnet.com/citation.asp? (accessed October 15, 2003).

Academic Search Premier. Women Objectified: Gender, Violence, and Mass Media. January 31, 1999. Available online: http://gw.softlineweb.com/record.asp? (accessed October 15, 2003).

Academic Search Premier. Womenís Portrayal in Video Debated at Billboard Confab. June 6, 1997. Available online: http://web14epnet.com/citation.asp?tb=1&_ug=dbs+1+1n+en% (accessed October15, 2003).

Alexandre, Laurien. Women: Using Female Bodies for Sales and Profit. Available online: http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/article223.html. (accessed October 26, 2003).

Ayanna. The Exploitation of Women in Hip-Hop Culture. Mysistahs. Available online: http://www.mysistahs,org/features/hiphop.htm (accessed November 9, 2003).

Eminem Lyrics. Azlyrics. Available online: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eminem/kim.html (accessed November 9, 2003).

Johnson, Kimberly. Black Women Make Great Role Models. Available online: http://www.equalitytoday.org/edition8/role.html. (accessed November 4, 2003).

Kilbourne, Jean. Beauty and the Beast of Advertising. Available online: http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/article40.html. (accessed October 26, 2003).

Mediaís Effect on Girls: Body Image and Gender Identity. September 6, 2002. Available online: http://www.mediafamily.org/facts (accessed November 4, 2003).

Oshun, Ife. (2003). Big Booty Hoes (and other whack Rap video images). http://rap.about.com/library/weekly/aa011201a.htm. (accessed November 11, 2003).

Snoop Dogg Lyrics. Azlyrics. Available online: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/breakabitchtilidie.html (accessed November 9,2003).

The Influence of Music and Music Videos. May 2000. Available online: http://www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/musicvid.htm. (accessed November 6, 2003).