Webpage and Image Creator:
Women in the Visual Media: Does
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
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
Clothing women wear in music videos is too
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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