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Gender Roles and Popular Music

by Kat, Alema and Courtney (Period 6)

Courtney Mankowski

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Gender Roles and Popular Music

Many successful men and women in popular music are heavily subjected to gender stereotyping. This in turn puts pressure on both youth culture and up-and-coming artists to fit these roles in order to remain "cool" in the eyes of society.
Blurred Lines
Music Videos
As well as song lyrics, music videos are another huge platform for the music industry, as well as gender typing. In the videos of both male and female artists, women are both objectified and more prominently oversexualized to promote the song and the artist.
Gender Typing: Female Objectification and Music
Gender Roles and Popular Music:
Popular contemporary music reinforces the stereotypical gender roles of women in modern society.

Popular contemporary music reinforces the stereotypical gender roles that exist for women by displaying and describing women as sex objects who exist solely for the pleasure of males. This is enforced by the gender schema theory, which states "that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly" (Myers, pg 132).
Defining "Stereotypical" Gender Roles
The general sense of female inferiority and the subsequent male superiority, specifically in romantic relationships.

The oversexualization and objectification of women, i.e. a man with multiple woman is seen as "cool", while a woman with multiple men is seen as "slutty".

Female Lyrics
Lady Gaga - Do What U Want:

Male Lyrics:
David Guetta - Sexy B**ch:
Female Videos
In many music videos, female artists oversexualize themselves to gain attention. Because this provocative behavior gains such a grand and largely positive response, it encourages that role for females.
Male Videos
In many male videos, such as the one above, women play no other role than as oversexualized objects. Again, because this content receives so much praise, it promotes this stereotyped image in the minds of young women.
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
This video brings the oversexualization of women to a new high, where women are deemed "animals", and used as sex objects in the video while dressed in revealing leather costumes. This being the clean version, we do not even see the full extent of the objectification.
Both female and male artists objectify women, because in many music videos created today by female artists, they "engage in sexual objectification of their own bodies." (comm.arizona.edu, pg 362)
Write what you want
Say what you want about me
If you're wondering
Know that I'm not sorry
Do what you want
What you want with my body
What you want with my body
Lana Del Ray - Dark Paradise:
And there's no remedy
for memory your face is
Like a melody,
it won't leave my head
. . .
It's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
Here, two very successful and influential artists promote the idea of female inferiority. Firstly, in a male-dominated sense (the man is in control) and secondly in the weak, helpless female sense (she won't be able to survive without him).
Bruno Mars - Gorilla:
She's nothing like a girl you've ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore
I'm tryna find the words to describe this girl
Without being disrespectful
Damn, you's a sexy b**ch
Let me hear you say
you want it all
Say it now, say it now
I bet you never ever felt so good
I got your body trembling like it should, it should
You'll never be the same baby once I'm done with you
Here are two examples of successful male artists' oversexualization and objectification of women. By singing about liking women who look and act a certain way, they reinforce the idea that women can only be liked if they objectify themselves.
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it...
You're a good girl
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Blurred Lines is a song by Robin Thicke that glorifies rape culture, the oversexualization and dehumanization of women, and enforces the inferiority and use of women as sex objects.
Lyrics cont
Let me be the one you back that ass to...
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you...
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two...
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don't smack that ass and pull your hair like that...
Not many women can refuse this pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get it if you get with me
Amela Kalezic, Courtney Mankowski, Kat Byrnes
This emphasizes the idea that women need a man to "save" them, and that being overly sexual is in a woman's nature.
This part implies that a "good girl" wants sex, and also glorifies rape culture, saying that a proper woman wants sex depending on action rather than actual consent. This part also states that the "blurred lines" are the lines between rape and explicitly consensual sex.
This part enforces the dehumanization and inferiority of women, calling her a bitch. It also shows no consideration for women, enforcing the idea that a woman's only use is as a way to achieve a man's pleasure, even if that pleasure is achieved through rape. It also shows that Thicke has an egotistical idea of his own sexual prowess and attractiveness, when he says "not many women can refuse this pimpin'" (someone should really rectify that).

A study geared towards male college undergraduates found that those who watched highly sexual music videos objectified women more and supported stereotypical gender roles after watching the video than male participants who watched less sexual videos. (comm.arizona.edu, pg 364)
This affects adolescents, because they listen to music and watch music videos more than watching TV or any other form of entertainment. (comm.arizona.edu, pg 361)
In 2010, following a set of three studies that “examined the associations among sexist beliefs, objectification of others, media exposure and three distinct beauty ideals and practices,” researcher Viren Swami and collegues, found that sexism exists where beautyideals and practices are rigidly consumed and followed. (New York Sociologist, pg 2)
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