Rihanna – Pour It Up
Rhianna’s video to ‘Pour It Up’ is an excellent example that addresses both sides of
the debate over the hyper-sexualisation of women in music.
This video was especially controversial, the original version was banned only 10
minutes after its release due to outrage caused by its provocativity and was soon
replaced with a less explicit edited version.
Although now clean, the video still deals with women’s over sexualised provocative
dance moves and outfits. This is damaging as is demeans the standards of women
and if males did this it would be seen as offensive. This representation is most
commonly featured in rap/Hip Hop music.
An alternative view is that women are simply using ‘the male gaze’ as a tactic, using
their assets to manipulate men. This is also highlighted in Rihanna’s video as she is
says ‘I still got my money’ and is pictured with 100 dollar bills, this challenges the
stereotype that only men can be the ‘breadwinners’.
However, there are some female artists that aim to challenge and
subvert the expectations of their stereotype. They attain this though
powerful vocals and by wearing non-revealing clothing. Their music
focuses more on their talent and the lyrics are often strong and
empowering. Examples of these artists are Adele, Meghan Trainor
Beyonce’s music videos can vary, some conform to the stereotype
whereas others challenge it and focus more on empowering women
such as ‘Run The World (Girls)’ and ‘If I Were A Boy’ in which she
challenges the stereotypical female and male roles.
Masculinity is a popular representation of males in Rap/Hip Hop
music. To conform to this representation the male needs to
possess all of the qualities traditionally associated with men.
To fit the male sex role, they need to appear both mentally and
physically strong, handsome and driven.
An example of ‘Masculinity’ can be seen in Rap artist Kanye West’s
video to ‘Power’. He wears a heavy gold chain to symbolize his
success and dominance as he is surrounded by women.
Hegemonic masculinity reflects a need for males to seek dominance
over other males, making them very competitive and want to
subordinate females. Characteristics of this include ambition,
independence, heterosexuality and aggressive and misogynistic
This representation is evident in Robin Thicke’s video ‘Blurred lines’
as it features men displaying dominance over women that are
dressed in provocative outfits. A binary opposition that can be seen
in this video is that the men are fully clothed in black suites whereas
the women wear revealing white clothing, the irony being that white
connotes purity. In the un-rated version of the video the women are
fully topless, many women found the video to be offensive and
demeaning, some giving an allegation that the lyrics were promoting
In a recent interview Miley
expressed her outrage at the
abuse she had been receiving
after her performance at the VMAs
“He was actually the one that
approved my outfit, so I thought
that was very funny. He wanted
me as naked as possible, because
that’s how his video was. It was
very much a collaboration. My part
— “We Can’t Stop” — was all me.
But when it went into “Blurred
Lines,” that was his performance."
Homo-Eroticism is the Sexual attraction between
members of the same sex both male and female
Separate from ‘Homosexuality’ which is a
permanent identity or sexual orientation, ‘Homo-
Eroticism’ refers to the desire alone.