Women and the Music Media

I’m trying to decide which music magazine to buy and I can’t help but think a drooling, spotty, teenage boy should be standing in my place. It’s funny how we use a rack to display magazines to then display ‘racks’. Even when the music magazines don’t feature a sultry looking female, the surrounding ‘lad mags’ seem to point to a misconception that only men are interested in these music publications. Meanwhile, us women are shunned to the other end of the shelf to laugh at some famous face’s ‘red carpet calamity’.

It doesn’t stop in the print press, B.J Epstein wrote on Huffington Post about the messages that music videos give off about society, “It may come as no surprise – although it’s nonetheless depressing – that women are very clearly the objects in these videos. And the keywords to describe their outfits are “skimpy” and “sexy”.” The publicity of these videos just make a firmer suggestion that women can only be visually entertaining when wearing very little and dancing provocatively.

“It has been known that music videos featuring male artists often sexually objectify women, but our study shows that many female artists are objectifying themselves in their music videos” says Cynthia Frisby, an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri. I find it difficult to decide whether this is a good thing or not. Are women struggling so hard with selling their music that they have to bare all in their videos, or is it a display of freedom? I often wonder that in exploiting the female body, the media is subsequently stifling the freedom of woman. If they show their flesh they are either a ‘slut’ for choosing to conform to the mass objectification of woman or are weak for being pressured into it by a larger power (inevitably a male figure).

Back to the music press – notably with some exceptions – very little features about female artists seem to be about their music, instead we are supposed to be interested in what they wear, how they keep fit and which ex-boyfriend that last song was about. “I’m sad that it’s uncool or offensive [for women] to talk about environmental or human rights issues” says female artist Grimes in a heated rant about sexism on her blog. The unfortunate truth is that if anyone’s opinion on such matters counts, it will more than likely be a male’s point of view.

References:

Actuallygrimes.tumblr.com (n.d.) Untitled. [online] Available at: http://actuallygrimes.tumblr.com/post/48744769552/i-dont-want-to-have-to-compromise-my-morals-in-order [Accessed: 14 May 2013].

Epstein, B. (2012) ‘Sweet Nothing’: Women in Music Videos. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/bj-epstein/sweet-nothing-women-in-mu_b_2037597.html [Accessed: 14 May 2013].

Latimesblogs.latimes.com (2012) Women objectify women in music videos too, researchers find. [online] Available at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/04/women-sex-object-music-video-research-study.html [Accessed: 14 May 2013].

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