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Gender representation


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  • 1. Gender Representation Aim of lesson: To examine feminism, the male gaze and post-feminism
  • 2. Initial Thoughts on Gender Representation How are males and females typically represented or portrayed in music video? E.g. Men are likely to play a musical instrument Women are more likely to dance
  • 3. Gender Stereotypes In Music: Current Research Findings
    • Men engaged in significantly more aggressive and dominant behaviour
    • Men represented as independent, adventurous, unemotional and competent
    • Stereotypical Gendered occupations apparent (i.e. Males as FireFighters/Mechanics Women as Cheerleader/Waitress)
    • Women engaged in significantly more explicit, sexual and passive behaviour
    • Women represented as objects of sexual advances or as sexual objects
    • Sex role stereotyping and negative attitudes towards females
    • Women more likely to be presented in provocative or revealing clothing
    • Women portrayed as decorative objects that dance, pose and do not play instruments
    • Research findings NOT restricted to the Hip Hop genre
    Research Findings taken from ‘Joining the Dots’ May 2009 OBJECT
  • 4. Feminism (1960/70’s)
    • A movement in which women questioned their position within patriarchal society & the ‘private sphere’ of ‘home/children/domestic bliss’
    • Serves to uncover, challenge and eliminate oppression and dominant gender imagery
    • Women began to debates the narrow range of stereotypes present across all media;
    • Women as virgins, mothers or promiscuous
    • Women as sex objects
    • Women are inferior to men
    • Women as domestic/based in the home
  • 5. Sexual Objectification and the Male Gaze (Laura Mulvey 1975)
    • Definition of Voyeurism: Erotic pleasures gained from looking at a sexual object (who is unaware of being watched)
    • Presence of women solely for the purpose of display (rather than narrative function)
    • Female on display is passive and objectified for a male gaze regardless of viewers gender
    • Voyeuristic treatment of female body in ‘male’ videos – use of dancers as adornments to the male ego
    • The inclusion of women for display is a staple element in music video’s – across all genres
    • Women connote to-be-looked-at-ness and are the object of the male gaze .
  • 6. Stereotypically ‘Female’ Occupations
    • Britney adheres to traditional gender stereotypes by taking on the roles of:
    • Secretary
    • Air Hostess
    • Waitress
    • Each occupation emphasises highly sexualised costume & behaviours
  • 7. Video Case Study:
    • Buttons
    • ( Pussycat Dolls/Snoop Dogg )
    - Watch the Buttons video. - Taking Mulvey’s theory into account what do you think a feminist reading of the video would say ?
  • 8. Pussycat Dolls - Feminist Reading
    • Sexual power derived from physical attractiveness to men.
    • Snoop’s voyeuristic male gaze/POV shots invites male viewer to join in.
    • Suggestive body language.
    • The Doll’s used literally as objects to create patterns in an aerial shot.
  • 9. Post-Feminism and the female gaze
    • Post-Feminism (1980’s)
    • A re-appraisal of Feminist values
    • Does not strive for ‘equality’ as this assumes men are ‘the best’ - they wish to surpass male achievements
    • Objected to theories which position them as objects of the ‘male gaze’
    • Identifies a ‘female gaze’ - women actively desiring men
    • Women began to assert their right to dress and be sexually attractive
  • 10. Post-Feminist Readings
    • Rihanna is not on show for the benefit of male audiences, but is enjoying herself experiencing different identities.
    • She is successful, independent and in control.
    • Connotes messages of Empowerment/Confidence/ Independence to female audience .
    In contrast to other representations here Britney is in control and dominates men within the narratives. She also takes a variety of identities e.g. super heroine. There is also opportunity for the female gaze.
  • 11. Pussycat Dolls - Post-Feminist Reading Thinking back to the Buttons video what post-feminist readings could be made about the representation of gender?
  • 12. Pussycat Dolls - Post-Feminist Reading
    • Offer messages of sexual empowerment - assertive, provocative and in control of ‘the gaze’
    • Confident, sassy, sexy icons challenging traditional assumptions about passive female sexuality “I’m a sexy mama/ Who
    • Uses a provocative male address challenging Snoop to “loosen up my buttons babe” - however, the dolls prove ‘too hot to handle’ for Snoop
  • 13. Video Case Study: Watch a more recent of the Britney Spears video. Try to identify feminist and a post-feminist reading in regards to representation of gender.