Powerpoint Investigation Summer


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Powerpoint Investigation Summer

  1. 1. How do female artists represent themselves in their own videos and why? By Helen Blyth
  2. 2. Hypothesis • I believe that there will be two types of video made by female artists, one of these being where they remove their clothes, dance provocatively and represent themselves as men’s play things. • The other type of video would be of women empowering themselves and being good role models, however I think most female artists will promote both messages in their music videos to create a larger fan base of males and females.
  3. 3. The Female artists I will be focusing on and the links to their videos • Britney Spears i. Gimme More - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTdDCfBOalw • Sugababes i. No Can Do - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuoG3vqOWZ8&feature=related • Robyn i. Handle Me - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGfzGb8-b64 • Eurythmics i. Sweet Dreams - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52bh36j023Y
  4. 4. Genre • Genre is a huge contributing factor to the way in which artists represent themselves: the way they dress, underlining messages, lyrics, make-up, colours, images, narrative etc. • This is all because of the way in which they are trying to appeal to their target audience, because some will watch videos, some will just listen others will remix, copy their style etc. • Heavy metal/Goth music for instance is specifically targeted at a niche audience whom although stereotyped generally wear a lot of black (shown below). • I am mainly focusing on mainstream dance/pop/hip-hop music videos as they are seen by a wider audience and have a greater influence.
  5. 5. The Male Gaze • According to Laura Mulvey ‘The Male Gaze’ refers to the act of “looking upon women as objects, of adopting the role of spectator. Metaphorically it refers to a way of thinking within society.” • Although Mulvey looked at this through the Hollywood cinema many of her ideas are transferable to any type of media e.g. Music Videos.
  6. 6. Discussion • I showed a group of six sixth formers (3 male and 3 female) the videos and gave them a questionnaire to better understand their thoughts on the representation of females. • I chose to use sixth formers because they have an emotional maturity and would answer the questions fully. • In this group I made them watch 3 music videos: 1. Britney Spears – ‘Gimme More’ 2. Robyn – ‘Handle Me’ 3. Sugababes – ‘No Can Do’ • Below you can see the Questionnaire they were given.
  7. 7. Britney Spears – ‘Gimme More’ • I chose to discuss her video ‘Gimme More’ because it is a demeaning video with suggestive lyrics. • Also Britney Spear’s has a history of removing her clothes in her videos whilst trying to be a strong female role model, which in itself is a contradiction as this shows no empowerment. • This video is different to the other two as it appears to have no redeeming values from the point of view of a woman.
  8. 8. Britney Spears – ‘Gimme More’ – Brief Analysis • The use of hand held camera adds to the sense of the male gaze as if you are seeing it through his eyes. • The parallel of the ‘innocent’ Britney with blonde hair and the ‘naughty’ Britney with black hair shows her inner demons, this juxtaposition also show the differing perceptions of women through male eyes. • The close-ups and extreme close-ups of different parts of her anatomy show her eagerness and adds to the male gaze, as does the male voice at the end telling the audience he is “going no where”! • Strips of light and changes in colour make the mise- en-scene feel like a clubs and makes the grimy surroundings look more exotic.
  9. 9. Sugababes – ‘No Can Do’ • The Sugababes Video ‘No Can Do is a stark difference to ‘Gimme More’ by Britney Spears because the roles of men and women are reversed with the women being dominant. • Whereas in ‘Gimme More’ Britney Spears is almost begging to please the man saying ‘I just wanna go that extra mile for you’. • The Sugababes are physically walking all over the men, showing the female gaze as the men are shown as objects, literally as lamps and cars etc.
  10. 10. Sugababes – ‘No Can Do’ – Brief Analysis • Turning the tables on the ever popular male gaze this video is portrayed through the female gaze with extreme close-ups of parts of the muscular men’s bodies. • The occasional black and white shots and the lack of colour apart from skin tones in the video connotes a lack of emotion which fits in with the lyrics as the women appear to be very strong saying “what makes you think I’d want you back again” • The use of men as objects like the motorbike and lamps etc. Has reversed feminist theory and changed men into objects instead of women. • It is obvious in this video that the women have power over the men as the close-ups of their faces show and the way in which they tell the men what to do.
  11. 11. Robyn – ‘Handle Me’ • I mainly chose it because compared to the other two it doesn’t involve men at all, although the lyrics do, which is great to show the questionnaire group to gain a mixed view of representation. • On top of this just like Annie Lennox (Eurhythmics) Robyn is very androgynous and so by appearing more masculine she is creating an entirely different image of herself compared to Britney Spears and The Sugababes, one which is not from the male or female gaze.
  12. 12. Robyn – ‘Handle Me’ • The use of boxes in this video is very clever as they range in sizes and you can never tell what way they are standing up! This connotes a sense of confusion and entrapment. The sense of confusion and the need to figure it out also allows quite long length shots that fit in with the music at the beginning and this distraction is an element that is missing from the other two video which is why the need for nudity or sexual references are needed. • The different sizes of the boxes enable a variety of sot distances from close-ups of Robyn’s head in a tiny box to long shots of her entire body in a long box. • The lapses in the footage to create a jerk effect fits in with the beat perfectly to create a coherence and a dance atmosphere. • The many different outfits that Robyn wears add colour to the mise- en-scene which is predominantly white this keeps emphasis on her and the white colour adds a sense on ambiguity.
  13. 13. Questionnaire Comments on Britney’s Video 80.00% 20.00% 0.00% Female opinions of Britney's Video negative points positive points inbetween 33.33% 33.33% 33.33% Male opinions of Britney's Video negative points positive points inbetween As can be seen here the male participants enjoyed Britney’s video more than the females who predominantly said it was “degrading”, which is expected as she is viewed through the male gaze. A recurring statement about Britney’s video in the questionnaire answers, is that she wants to be viewed as a ‘sex symbol’ the definition of a sex symbol on Wikipedia is very interesting; “A sex symbol is a famous person of either gender, known for their sex appeal. The celebrity "star system"—the tabloid papers, paparazzi, and gossip talk shows—play an important role in creating and sustaining the public perception of which stars are viewed as attractive. These media industries are in turn sustained by a strong public demand for sexually alluring photographs or footage of celebrities” This promotes the view that the audience made her create this “degrading” image of herself, by consuming media that show her as a sex symbol and in turn viewing her in that light.
  14. 14. Questionnaire Comments on Britney’s Video Another point made by a male in a questionnaire is that “flaunting their good points is the kind of thing you would find in a club”. This shows the view that Britney’s video is merely reflecting the culture we live in, in so doing by making this behaviour socially acceptable we created this image of her ourselves by consuming her material. On the other hand it can be interpreted as the way in which media like Britney’s video made our culture like this in the first place, by desensitising the public to images of sex and nudity. Another interesting comment, made by a female participant, considers the way in which Britney is “dominating” in this video, so instead of being a helpless woman complying to all the mans needs she is in fact in charge of the situation. This is an interesting viewpoint and it is reflected both in the title and the video. ‘Gimme more’ is a phrased with a very demanding tone and the lyrics just concern her own emotional feelings showing that she does not care about the male, she does however seem to care about the “cameras are flashing” connoting that she is using him for publicity or attention. Overall this video wasn't as well received as the other two, this may have been due to the fact that Britney has recently done some very strange things and has alienated herself from her audience. The test group have proved that this video appeals more to the male audience which is shown in the youtube.com comments like: JOHNNYNGUY3N100 says “I thinkI wanna have sex with her “. In spite of this, on YouTube many females have left positive comments because over Britney’s long career she has amassed a large fan base consisting of both genders, who support her throughout.
  15. 15. It's Britney Bitch I see you, And I just wanna dance with you Every time they turn the lights down Just wanna go that extra mile for you You got my display of affection Feels like no one else in the room (but you) [Bridge:] We can get down like there's no one around We keep on rocking, we keep on rocking' Cameras are flashing while we're dirty dancing They keep watching, keep watching' Feels like the crowd was saying [Chorus:] Gimme Gimme more Gimme more Gimme gimme more [x4] The centre of attention, even when we're up against the wall You got me in a crazy position (uh huh) If you're on a mission (ooh) You got my permission oh [Bridge] [Chorus (x4)] [Spoken] I just can't control myself, more They want more? Well I'll give them more (ow!) [Chorus (x4)] Gimme more gimme more Gimme more gimme more babe I just want more Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme [x4] Britney’s ‘Gimme More’ Lyrics AnalysedThe repeated use of ‘I’, ‘Gimme’ and ‘my’ shows she is just thinking about herself Complying to the needs of the crowd could be a symbol for her fans, giving the audience what they want to see The male gaze – she is just an object Overall •She appears to be just a toy for the man to play with – (Male Gaze). •She doesn't seem to mind being thought of like this and attracts the attention of the cameras – could be a reflection of societies need for publicity and attention. She seems to be in control of the man giving him ‘Permission’. Explicit sexual references show how society is desensitised to this and this reference also shows the male gaze – Barbie doll?
  16. 16. Questionnaire Comments on The Sugababes Video 41.67% 33.33% 25.00% Male opinions of the Sugababes video negative positive inbetween 25.00% 58.33% 16.67% Female opinions of the Sugababes video negative positive inbetween In contrast with the results from Britney Spear’s video the Sugababes video was a lot more popular with the females (58% positive) than the males (33% positive), this is probably due to the fact that it was directed through the female gaze and involves women dominating men. One male participant said that they are portrayed as “man eaters to attract women audiences”, this statement demonstrates the reaction of males that I mentioned earlier and proves that men do not like this video as it is aimed at women by using very attractive partially naked males and lyrics that try and empower women stuck in unhappy relationships. Another reason for one of the males to not enjoy this video was that it was “unimaginative and plain”, the colour tones are very neutral and bleak in this video with the only colour coming from the females dresses and skin, so the video does look quite plain. However making furniture and automobiles out of men and reversing the usual roles of gender in this video does not seem unimaginative but quite the contrary. The participant to say this also described the Sugababes as “arrogant” and said that they “don’t do a lot in terms of making music”, so this comment may have stemmed from an earlier bias and from a dislike of the genre of music.
  17. 17. Questionnaire Comments on The Sugababes Video A particularly interesting point made by a female participant was that although the stereotypical gender roles had been reversed and the women were literally walking all over the men and using them the Sugababes still tried to keep their “sex appeal” through their dominating/teasing dispositions and the low cut dresses they are wearing, which shows that sex really does sell albums and singles. Another point made, is that this video “makes them look like they only care about good looking men”, but when was the last time a mainstream video was released that had no good looking people in it. It is very hard in the modern day mainstream music industry to become a large star if you are not attractive or slim, the exception to this rule of course is Susan Boyle but she is famous not only for her voice but actually for her unattractive appearance. Furthermore it comes to the same conclusion as before that attractiveness and sex does sell. Overall because this video is filmed through the female gaze it appeals predominantly to the female audience, this perfectly presented by two YouTube comments: LuIIabye (a member of the female audience) says: “YES for the first timea video filled with naked, perfectly muscular, handsome men!!!!! I wonder if all men now feel slightly intimidated” and conversely munirah0709 (a member of the male audience) says: “I hate this video! all men look like they are the slave for the women. it is not good” Lullabye makes a good point by saying that the men may now feel slightly intimidated because the tables have been turned on the common gender roles within music videos. My research shows however that some of the males in my research group enjoyed the video saying that the women looked “sophisticated” but predominantly the audience is female.
  18. 18. I've been thinking about How you've been messing around Why do you get your kicks from hurting me? I've tried on giving you up But now it's time to stop 'cause boy I see that you're no good for me If you really wanted my love so desperately Then you should have taken time and try to rescue me! [Chorus] Sorry, no can do 'cause you're never really gonna make it better So forget forever Now it's time to face it boy we're through 'cause I ain't got time for your conversations So sorry, no can do Sorry, [x4] Don't try to sweet talk me no more 'cause I've heard it all before What makes you think I'd want you back again? And now my mind has been made up And I have had enough You've had your chance and now this is the end You could've handled things a little differently But now you're on your own and you'll be missing me! [Chorus] It don't matter what you say 'cause I've gone my separate way There is nothing you can do to make me change my mind It don't matter what you do 'cause I'm done with loving you Don't you bother turning back the hands of time [Chorus] Don't try and even call me on the telephone It don't mean a thing 'cause I'm on my own [x6] Sorry no can do Sugababes ‘No Can Do Lyrics Analysed Overall •There is a subtle change after the first verse of this song as the tone changes from indecisive and stereotypically female reliant on the male to strong, empowered as they realise that they can survive on their own. • Fits in with the visuals of the music video as they command the male attentions. •Different from Britney Spear’s lyrics by the fact that they are not begging for attention and are not giving in to the audience or the man. Being empowered and strong taking over their own lives. Although being empowered they are still saying that the man is stronger and they as women need rescuing. Female’s are in control Repeated messages of strength and empowerment. Makes a transition from slightly submissive to empowered on their own!
  19. 19. Questionnaire Comments on Robyn’s Video 36.84% 52.63% 10.53% Male opinions of Robyn's music video negative positive inbetween 9.09% 81.82% 9.09% Female opinions of Robins music video negative positive inbetween This video was the most popular with both sexes perhaps due to the fact that Robyn is very androgynous and her videos are unique, and different meaning that they have enough interest to keep the audiences attention without any nudity, and because they do not contain any nudity it is not creating a female or male gaze in so doing widening its audience demographics to both genders. Although it does appeal to a wider audience the female audience still had more positive things to say about the video, whereas some male participants thought she was “rubbish” and “annoying” which is not a reflection of the video but of Robyn herself. She obviously annoys some audiences.
  20. 20. Questionnaire Comments on Robyn’s Video This video does according to one participant create an image of Robyn as a “pseudo– feminist”, this viewpoint can be seen when looking at the lyrics, because as Amanda Marcotte so eloquently puts it in her blog: “Once again, I feel that the music industry is cleverly positioning songs that kind of sound powerful but re-inscribe traditional female passivity as a substitute for songs that might actually give women ideas.“ For whilst Robyn is saying no to the man she is still reinforcing the role of the male as the money provider ‘Livin large with your crib and your cars’ who can take her ‘shopping’ which is a stereotypically feminine past-time. On the other hand Robyn just like Annie Lennox appears more androgynous and by doing so is pushing the boundaries of femininity and in this way they are representing themselves as individual, strong and empowered. YouTube comments don’t reflect this though and the majority say: Musicissoul: “she looks like aman lol but the song is great” The same goes for The Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ song on YouTube, the comments involve people pondering whether she is male or female. This representation that Robyn and Annie Lennox have chosen, although challenging the gender stereotypes also serve to reinforce them as to appear more empowered and strong they have to look more masculine.
  21. 21. Yeah, I heard about some guy that you beat pretty bad and got in the papers Sure, you own a cool bar and I hear you get far with every waitress Yeah, I saw you on the poster your song is the bomb and you're outrageous Sure, I see you're living' large with your crib and your cars and that's just great but.. Let me tell you how it be You won't get with this you see Cause you can't handle me Yeah, you make your big move and I see you're not used to being rejected Sure, you making' that call to your guy and I'm sure you're well connected Yeah, judging from that line you just passed you are well known and respected Sure, would me and my girls come participate in something you directed [Chorus] Let me tell you how it be You won't get with this you see Cause you can't handle me It's a simple fact that you can't seem to handle me No matter how you act with them you can't handle me [x2] You got to make me feel you got my back but you're a selfish narcissistic psycho freaking bootlicking Nazi creep and you can't handle me Yeah, I think you're kind of cute when you try and act like you isn't looking' Sure, I think you're kind of fly and your ride sure is off the hooking Yeah, bet you could take my mind off things for some time and take me shopping' Sure, you writing' those rhymes and the acts you produce are really kicking' but [Chorus] Yeah, I heard about some guy that you beat pretty bad and got in the papers Sure, you own a cool bar and I hear you get far with every waitress Yeah, I saw you on the poster your song is the bomb and you're outrageous Sure, I see you're living' large with your crib and your cars and that's just great but.. [Chorus] Robyn’s ‘Handle Me’ Lyrics Analysed Overall •Robyn portrays herself to be a self reliant woman who doesn't need a man and furthermore no man is good enough for her. •These lyrics are different to Britney’s song because throughout she is strong and although tempted she says no to the man consistently just like the Sugababes lyrics. The difference is that she portrays herself as more androgynous to get this message across! Empowered woman saying no to the man = strength = roles reversed. In contrast with her androgyny these typical female past times like shopping counteract this and the fact that he takes her shopping and provides the money shows he is the boss with money. However she says no and thus represents herself as empowered. By saying ‘you cant handle me’ makes her sound volatile and scary which are typical female qualities thus making herself more androgynous. Traditional male values – strong, aggressive and the ‘money maker’
  22. 22. Overall By reviewing all the things I have discovered from looking at and juxtaposing these three different popular modern artists, I hope to answer my initial question of, how female artists represent themselves in their own videos and why? •I have discovered that it is very difficult to totally disregard stereotypical views on gender and to do so is to alienate oneself from the audience. Thus female artists represent themselves in the manner that best befits a modern woman. •In so doing female artists are keeping the traditional stereotypical values but are reflecting the modern culture in the way that they act and dress. So if they are wearing less clothes it is because the audience wears less clothes and thus this is socially acceptable to them and does not remove the artist from their target audience. •However some rare artists are beginning to push the boundaries even further, (like Robyn acting more male) but their reception and popularity depends on whether this sort of behaviour can be accepted by the masses.
  23. 23. Conclusion • Overall female artists pigeon hole themselves into certain stereotypes and often mix several together in their music videos, for example Britney Spears degrades herself as a mans toy and Robyn is colourful extravagant and androgynous. However occasionally artists step over these lines and either create a new identity for themselves just as Britney did by changing from a cute school girl to a promiscuous dangerous woman, or they transform themselves on a one off to challenge the audiences perception of the artist. • I also believe that all music videos reflect certain aspects of society and so in today’s upfront, open culture, where sex is referenced extremely regularly; music videos like Britney Spear’s is not even pushing boundaries as the society we live in is already desensitised to violence and images of sex. • However I do not think the content of the artists video is their own creation but instead is down to the director who is hired, although I am sure if the artist had any problems with taking their clothes off and preserving their dignity the director cannot argue. • Essentially, as advertisers say, sex does sell, and it is this fixation with status symbol, material wealth and attractiveness that many media such as T.V. programs like 90210, films like The Girl Next Door, almost all modern songs, and the majority of music videos use to promote, create fans and ultimately to make money.
  24. 24. Bibliography • http://www.starztv.co.uk/SongDetail.aspx?SongID=1 062&ArtistID=558 – Sugababes Lyrics • www.youtube.com is used for all showings of videos. • http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/faux_feminist_po p_music_be_gone/ - Amanda Marcotte’s blog • http://artists.letssingit.com/robyn-lyrics-handle-me- cdwd194 - Robyn lyrics • http://www.mp3lyrics.org/s/sugababes/no-can-do/ - Sugababes lyrics • http://artists.letssingit.com/britney-spears-lyrics- gimme-more-wpvh4fv - Britney lyrics