The Sexual Exploitation of Women in the Music Industry - study of the portrayal of women in music videos.

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The Sexual Exploitation of Women in the

Music Industry

Amelia Ramirez – Tonya Lawrence

Harrisburg Area Community College

A study done in 2003 focuses on women in the visual media. The first section discusses women in the media and their appearance. It goes on to discuss whether appearances matter. That they in fact do, otherwise, options such as breast implants, Botox, and liposuction would not exist. Next it discusses women in music videos. The study focuses on rap music videos. It states how rap videos misrepresent women and portrays them to be simply sex objects. It discusses the clothes, erotic dancing, and submissive acts women create in rap videos. It briefly discusses the reasoning for why some women oppose the view that women are degraded and misrepresented in music. The study then discusses the effect music videos have on women’s self-esteem.  It goes on to discuss the huge role media has on people’s everyday life, including how they dress and act. The style and clothing women wear come from the media, including the music industry, magazines, and advertisements.  This section of the study focuses on how women feel they need to dress and look. At a young age, females are being shown and told how to act. As they get older, what they see and think in appropriate is what is shown in the media. For the music industry, that means skimpy clothes and the worship of the men in their lives. The next section focuses on the lyrics used in music. It goes on to point out specific lyrics by artists such as Eminem and Snoop Dog. The lyrics suggest violence towards women and the act of degrading women. The next section sheds light on how women are portrayed in rap music. It discusses the various changes rap music has made, but that the representation of women has stayed the same throughout the years. It states that the image given to women in the rap industry is that of an object to obtain. It also discusses how the image women can also have is that of a helpless, depressed woman without a man in her life. The study also discusses the rap music that has broken through the stereotypes of women such as Destiny’s child and TLC. The last section sums up the study. It states that the views of women in rap have not changed, and that it should. Women should be look at as independent, intelligent women rather than just an object.

        In 2012 a study was conducted focusing on the sexually degrading music videos and lyrics. This study examines the effect sexually degrading music has on male aggression of rape myths and sexual stereotypes. The method used by this study was an experiment. There was a pilot study done as well as a primary study. For the pilot study, 54 undergraduate students from a small Midwest US university were used as participants. The students were volunteers for the study. There were 33 women and 21 men aged from 18-22. Of the 54 volunteers, 85.2% where Caucasian, 5.6% were African American, 5.6% Hispanic, 1.9% Native American, and 1.9% Asian American. The participants were asked to view 8 music videos chosen by the experimenter  to represent videos that have been aired during television programs such as BET: Uncut. The order of the videos was reversed for half of the participants in order to avoid order effects. At the end of each video the participant was to rate the video as well as the lyrics (separately) on a 7-point scale. The scale ranged from not at all sexually degrading to extremely degrading. The results from the pilot study were used to determine which ones would be used for the primary study.  

        The primary study used 187 male undergraduate students from a small Midwestern US university. These participants’ ages ranged from 18-35. Out of the 187 participants, 87.6% where Caucasian, 3.8% where African American, 4.3% where Hispanic, 2.3% where Native American, and 2.0% where Asian American.  Of the 8 videos used in the pilot study, 2 were selected for the primary study.  The first video shown was titled “Pull Over” by Trina. The second was a song titled “Shake That Shit” performed by Preacha. To measure aggressive behavior, a written survey was used. To measure rape attitudes, a written survey was used based on the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Sexual stereotypes were measured using the Sexual Stereotypes Scale. The results found suggested that regardless of sexually degrading content participants were exposed to, there was no significant differences in participants’ aggression towards women or endorsement of rape myths and sexual stereotypes.

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        Another study conducted in 2010 focuses on female body image as a function of themes in rap music. This study is a content analysis. The study performed focused on whether female body images differ between specific messages or themes of the music videos. The videos where determined by the end of the year countdown aired in 2006 from MTV, BET, and VH1. These stations where picked because they are the most popular music outlets in the media. The results of the study showed that emphasis on materialism was at the top with 47.1%, sex was next with 45.2%, violence followed ...

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