Double Standard-Sexualization in the Music Industry

Introduction:

The music industry is considered a vicious business and known to chew female artists up and spit them out throughout their careers. This industry is very successful in many ways and one way is by advertising the female artists in the magazines, newspapers, television sets, social media, and on the billboard. They are not the only industry doing this. We see other industries like cosmetic and fashion are known to sexualize their actress in hopes of increasing their product sell. One example of the females being hyper-sexualized in music videos is looking at several 1980’s videos where female dancers wore tight, fluoro-coloured spandex gym clothes while exercising something you see at the gym but in a more sexualized way.

Argument:

Recently, several artists from different genre have been standing up against female being sexualized in the music industry and mocking male artists who continue to sexualize. Female are sexualized in many ways over the years and it’s not a new thing, but the artists that are fighting is new. Although their methods have received criticisms. Which I bring to you a question do we as a society accept certain people to stand up for how female are sexualized against others? And why?

Problems:

Hyper-sexualized music videos are known to receive thousands of likes on social media, which further on promotes and encourages the companies’ objectification of female. Although the argument is blaming the industry, that isn’t quite true, we as a society are also blamed as well. The problems aren’t the artists, directors or even the companies, but instead the popular culture in continuing to like and award artists who objectify females and how they are going on about it. They encourage female artists to dance in a certain way in order to survive in the industry, whether it’s twerking, or dance in a seductive way to get themselves to the top. Another problem is the society’s double standard issue where the society criticizes female artists from body shaming, dancing, clothing, singing and much more. It’s common that everyone is different in their own way and artists are no different in that when they state their argument or message through their music.

Example One: Country Music

Maddie & Tea are two female country artists and known for their 2014 hit New single, “Girl in a Country Song”, which talks about how females are portrayed in various of country music. These artists grew up watching and liking some of the stereotyped country music videos but often disliked the content, so they flipped the script on their music video. This hit single turns the tables on many country artists who sexualized females in their music videos. They used male actors and also showed the viewers how overall male actor’s used female in their music videos. Maddie and Tea also wanted to show how males also used the stereotype of country girls wearing to what looks to be cowboy boots, shorts, and cowboy hats.

Issue: This song got some criticism over what reviews label the song as an Anti “Country bro”, which is known as a subgenre of mainstream country music originating in the second decade of the 21st century. The girls were highly criticized because they mocked artists for sexualizing female, being an anti-Country Bro and using some similar of beats from Country Bro songs in their hit.

Example Two: Pop Music

            Jennifer Lopez is among many successful artists in the music industry for over a decade. In her recent new single, “I uh Ya Papi” produced in 2014 generally received positive views because of the catchy rhythm and the fun beats that Jennifer is known to have in her songs. Her songs are greatly known to have a mixture of Hip Hop, Pop, and Hispanic tones and much more making her own style and common to dance in the clubs as reviewers have put it. “I Luh Ya Papi” Featured guest vocals French Montana and was directed by Jessy Terrero. The video was filmed in Miami, Florida where it had random males shirtless or better yet half naked men’s laying down on the yacht tanning while their skin glowed to perfection obviously Lopez was sending a message how we normally see females doing that in many music videos and overall making it rather difficult for producers to even film it. She flipped the script.

Example Three: Hip Hop

            Here we have Nicki Minaj in her many famous music videos, “Anaconda”. Nicki is greatly known for her rapping talent and is considered the most successful female rapper. In her song, Anaconda she slashes the recent objectified songs made by Sir Mix Alot called “Baby Got Back” where it celebrated female for their bodies, but mostly those who have larger behind yet. Baby got back was introduced while the popular cultures were also introduced to “twerking” a dance where evolves intense movement of the behind. Many females celebrate participated in these activities where they shook their behind. This dance was so popular that Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj performed it at the VMA’S awhile back. In the song of Anaconda Minaj states “My Anaconda don’t want any unless you got buns, Hun”. In this video, Minaj’s response to comments that are stated in her lyrics to the song of “Baby Got Back” and to other countless songs that objectifies women. Throughout this song, Minaj celebrates females of all sizes and race and cuts off at Banana stating that no matter what they do or how they want to do female own their body at their end of the day. She states Feminism and female empowerment in controlling their bodies in ways they choose and not other people.

Issue: Nicki Minaj’s was highly criticized in her “Anaconda,” music video even though she exemplified sexist and racist double standards in our society that have become normalized in pop culture. Viewers have comment harsh words for Minaj referring as a “plastic” and “fake.” According to the parody, any woman who uses surgery for cosmetic purposes is considered trash and pathetic, despite it being a personal choice not fit for public judgment.

 

Example three: R&B

            In the video, Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. are engaging in their stereotypical male roles, as the aggressors and dominant individuals. According to Wood, men are commonly perceived as dominant, sexually aggressive, powerful, and likely to engage in these activities. The song and video were fighting the double standard of females in music videos. Blur lines take the video to a new level where it highly sexualized the females in the music videos from pulling one female hair and telling her he knows she wants it to referring them as animals. Women are socialized in music videos in many ways in media in general and for that, it was actually good to know that some male artists are aware of this situation and are disagreeing with it.

Issue: Robin Thick was heavy criticized for this song because of the mass objectification of female in the music video and his actions pulling one of the girl’s hair and telling her that he knows what she wants, therefore, it questions whether female voices and their decisions.

In conclusion we are aware that female are bodied shamed, sexualized and often judged for who they are, we are aware of this any much more because there are many scholars who have researched about gender bias and stereotypes within our culture. One scholar tells us that we as a society have created a norm on what is considered normal to the viewers like a male sexualizing female and what’s abnormal when female flip the script. This norm has made it rather difficult for female artists to fight being sexualized when viewers are judging them on how they do it or how they look instead of the content. Every artist that is fighting this stereotypes is doing it for themselves in a different way, but the overall message is their actions should only be judged for who they are and not all the women as a whole. An example of this idea is seen from the text when Christina Aguilera, a pop genre artist says “she is fighting for her rights to be sexual without being called a slut.” (Lo 2004)

Bibliography:

Scholars:

Rudman, Laurie A., Janell C. Fetterolf, and Diana T. Sanchez. “What motivates the sexual double standard? More support for male versus female control theory.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39.2 (2013): 250-263.

Vandenbosch, Laura, Dorien Vervloessem, and Steven Eggermont. ““I might get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans”: Sexualization on music entertainment television.” Communication Studies 64.2 (2013): 178-194.

Vandenbosch, Laura, Dorien Vervloessem, and Steven Eggermont. ““I might get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans”: Sexualization on music entertainment television.” Communication Studies 64.2 (2013): 178-194.

Levande, Meredith. “Women, Pop Music, and Pornography.” Meridians, vol. 8, no. 1, 2008, pp. 293–321., www.jstor.org/stable/40338921.

In Hip-Hop, double Standard for women Persist by Emily Holdgruen, produced by the Educators Reference Complete. URL:http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=PROF&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA383922738&asid=0764e43226172963f4e63af2873bf004.%20Accessed%2014%20May%202017.&authCount=1

Songs:

Robin Thick; Blurred lines featuring Pharrell and T.I from Pharrel label Star Trak Recording produced by Pharrell and directed by Diane Martel Published on 20 Mar 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU

Jennifer Lopez, “Luh Ya Papi”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4oiEhf9M04

Maddie and Tea, “Girl in a Country Song”,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MOavH-Eivw

Nicki Minaji, “Anaconda”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZX4ooRsWs

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About hidaya15

I'm a girl that loves to hear music, talk, and play sports, I also love living life to the fullest, I don't or in other words ever take things for granted simply because there are people in this world who haven't got what they're playing with. So whatever you do, do it with knowledge and whatever happens in the past, present or future it's no ones fault because whatever happens in this world was meant to happen anyway. Not everyone can stop it. Not everyone gets lucky enough to live long so the time you have in this world live your life to the fullest and go after what you want and if you can't get it at least you tried. That's what's so called life

2 thoughts on “Double Standard-Sexualization in the Music Industry

  1. Hi hidaya15,
    I absolutely love your BigPicture Blog Post! I remember when Maddie & Tae’s song came out and all of the women that I knew (growing up in the country) loved it! We all loved it and couldn’t wiat for there next song to come out but their next song was nothing like “Girl In A Country Song” and most of us were disappointed and didn’t understand why this had happened. After reading your post, it all kinda makes sense, and I find myself extremely frustrated.

  2. Hi Hidaya, I enjoyed reading your post.

    I find that most music today is about sex. Sex being the main message in today’s music is proven in this article from the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/09/92-top-ten-billboard-songs-are-about-sex/337242/. I hope that in the future there will be more popular music artists that don’t make songs about sex, because apparently I think we need more diversity in the messages given in mainstream music.

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