Music Music Videos Opinion Sexism

Music Videos: Where did it all go so wrong?

August 6, 2015
Rita Ora

Music videos. I just can’t seem to understand them at the moment. They have absolutely nothing to do with the song being sung, a lot of them being embarrassing to watch, and they’re also overtly sexist.

The hypersexualisation of women in music videos is disgraceful, and no, they aren’t “empowering” images. The music industry is a male dominated world and the use of  scantily clad women to sell music is just more proof we still live in a patriarchal society. The difference between the presentation of men and the presentation of women is remarkable.

Nicki Minaj gets to wear a barely-there outfit

Nicki Minaj gets to wear a barely-there outfit

Whilst Davey G has to be covered head to toe.

Whilst Davey G has to be covered head to toe.

Take a look at Nicki Minaj and David Guetta’s latest music video. They’re in the desert, so therefore the women are wearing bikinis/barely there swimsuits. Well that’s fine, it’s a hot climate, providing they’re wearing a high factor SPF to protect their bare skin, of course. But what confuses me is that David Guetta (a man) is covered head to toe as if he’s in the bloody arctic. He’s wearing a hoody, gilet, trousers, boots. Woah there! So poor David Guetta is covered head to toe under the heat of the boiling hot sun, whilst Nicki and her fellow females are wearing bikinis. Poor Dave.

Then you’ve got Chris Brown’s latest video. Again, they’re in a desert-like setting, so, naturally, the beautiful, slim women are all prancing around in bikinis. But again, Chris (a man, again) is wearing a thick orange jumper.

Chris Brown looks like he's having a great time, but he must be sweltering...

Chris Brown looks like he’s having a great time, but he must be sweltering…

The worst one is for Nick Jonas’ Jealous video. This one is in a city, for a change, and Nick is wearing a leather jacket, trousers, jumper and shoes – the perfect city attire. There he is, dancing around in some bizarre garage setting, a nice woman dancing and then BOOM! Suddenly she’s playing the cello in her underwear? Eh? I don’t know many people who play the cello anyway, let alone in their bloody lingerie.

This goes without talking about Rita Ora’s video for Poison. The preview shot on YouTube for it is her in a bra and leather jacket. I’m not entirely sure what that image has to do with her song, but anyway. Once you watch the video, you realise that for most of the video, she does actually have a top on, and she’s only in that outfit for a relatively small proportion of the time. But yet, her PR people etc chose to use that image to  advertise her song. They are quite obviously using her body as a way to sell her songs, which in a male dominated is no surprise. You’ve also got to remember her appearance on the Graham Norton show. She, yet again, paraded around in a pair of jeans, a leather jacket and a black bra. When you look at the demographic of the audience that Graham Norton is aimed at (think about who stays at home on a Friday night – older couples, families with teenage children etc), why on earth was she only wearing a bra? Quite obviously, to appeal to the ‘dads and lads’ culture.

Rita Ora in a bra

Rita Ora in a bra

The only music video where I’ll be lucky enough to see a man wearing hardly anything is in Fetty Wap’s video for Trap Queen, where Fetty is topless for half the video, although he is still wearing baggy jeans and trainers, but still. Even this video, however, presents a woman as being hypersexualised, her wearing a short skirt and provocatively stroking her thighs. Hmm..

I find it offensive when women are branded ‘prudes’ when they disagree with the female form being presented in this way. I am in no way being a prude, or being ‘overly conservative’. What I have a problem with is the inequality in representation between men and women in the music industry. Unfortunately, we still live in a patriarchal society where, in order for a women to be successful in popular culture, she must look a certain way, wear certain clothes and behave in a overtly sexual way.

A woman playing the cello in her underwear. Naturally.

A woman playing the cello in her underwear. Naturally.

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