Women: The Protagonists and Antagonists

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As we strived to change the societal norms of how negatively women are portrayed in the music industry we came across many obstacles. For instance, it was hard to argue and stand up for the rights of women when the reality is, most of them choose to objectify themselves in these music videos. But, it is also sad to say that society paints an image in these young girls minds that tells them it is okay for them to show off your bodies, wear a lot of makeup and model their behaviors after these video vixens they see in the media.

While, it’s not okay, it seems as though being a video vixens is what everyone is doing. And even though it may come across acceptable to many, it is actually discrediting women as a whole. Not allowing women to grow in the music industry through their actual talents, but instead by their assets defeats the purpose of creating music. In an example, music videos create a false representation of how women respond to successful men in the industry, as well as how they are supposed to appear.   For example, the majority of video vixens have really enhanced their body image, in order to obtain the most recognition in the industry as well as help their career become successful. This creates a norm for other younger girls and inspiring female artists to feel obligated to follow.

When was talent never enough! Why can’t women rely on just their talent alone? The answer is simple, its because the norms of society say that its not just about the music anymore. Its about selling an image which requires women to look and act a certain way. This often involves being provocative. However, women should be able to rely on just their talent and they shouldn’t have to succumb to the standards set for them in society.

This means things need to change. For example, the way male artists rap and sing about belittling and taking advantage of women needs to stop. Or even the way the male rappers depict women as sex objects instead of human beings in their music videos. However, we understand that men are not entirely to blame. Even female artists such as Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus need to start setting better examples for young girls and women. How can we expect male music artists to respect women if they don’t even respect themselves. So stop dancing on poles, stop twerking, stop wearing provocative clothing and stop letting others demean you. And we get it, “sex sells” but when did women become objects that could be bought and sold? The way women are portrayed in the music industry has got to change before this issue becomes a problem bigger than it already is.

We understand that change is not going to happen over night and it may not ever happen. But people need to be aware and informed that sometimes it is not just a catchy beat, but lyrics that diminish the character of women as a whole or that the women in these music videos could easily be your sister, cousin or friend. We would like to see the media show a better and more positive representation of women in the music industry. For example, popular singer and songwriter, Beyonce, is consider one of the most beautiful, sexiest, and talented women in the music business and she doesn’t have to wear provocative clothing or dance on poles to receive this recognition either. When it comes to women in the music industry, we are not asking for much, all we are saying is that we want beautiful, smart and educated women not video vixen, sex objects and symbols.

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The Misrepresentation Of Women Continues

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This article on neontommy.com discusses how the women are continuing to be objectified through the music industry for the likes of popular male opinion.

Link to article: http://www.neontommy.com/news/2013/11/the-misrepresentation-women-continues

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Why so serious ?

Women view different songs in different ways.  Often time the feminist view is thought to be the view of all women around the world.  When you hear the song blurred lines many women started dancing in their cars and singing along.  Why aren’t their voices heard just as loud?  A popular Williamsburg blogger wrote her thoughts about not viewing popular songs as degrading.  She in fact sticks up for the artist instead of chastising them.

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Chelsea Fagan, whose blog “Thought Catalog” was featured in Madamne Noir, wrote about how much she feels empowered by songs like “Blurred Lines.”  “Earlier this week, I wrote an article about the song “Blurred Lines,” and more specifically, how we should stop telling women what to be offended by — including songs like that. I (and other women I know) had been labeled “un-feminist” or expected to apologize for enjoying it, and I found the whole ordeal to be — if somewhat expected — extremely condescending.”  In the rest of the article she talks bout dancing to this song and having fun.  Women in club all the time dance to songs that are seen as degrading, but love every minute of it.

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“Blurred Lines” director Diane Martel directed this video with an image of fun in mind.  She wanted the women in the video to outnumber the men, and bring a playful side to the video instead of predatory.  The video was a satire that focused on doing everything in a taboo matter that celebrates “degrading women.”  In her Huffington Post interview she says, “We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.’ So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.”

Sometimes a song it just a song no matter what the words say.  It is all creative expression and can be taken many ways.  The view of feminist is not the view of all women and therefore should not be considered the majority.  No matter how women are represented in lyrics and music videos men will still look and them and think about them how they want to.  The expression of the body is up to the person who is exposing their body.  The public can victimize the “vixen,” but she may feel empowered.

– See more at: http://madamenoire.com/288896/robin-thickes-blurred-lines-and-why-degrading-music-empowers-some-women-while-offending-others/#sthash.b8k8QPt2.dpuf

-See more of this interview at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/blurred-lines-director-diane-martel_n_3509359.html

Visit Chelsea Fagan’s blog here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2013/07/i-am-a-woman-and-i-am-empowered-by-degrading-music/

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Exploitation of Women in the Rap Industry

An informative 15 minute documentary on the exploitation of women in music videos in these past few decades.

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November 19, 2013 · 4:52 pm

Lily Allen’s ‘Hard Out Here’ mocks the objectification of women in the music industry

Lily Allen’s music video for the new single ‘Hard Out Here’ is sparking much debate, bringing to relevance the issue of women being objectified in the music industry once again.

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November 19, 2013 · 4:49 am

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

In a male dominating industry, female artists are still doing what they can do in order to stay relevant in today’s music industry. The vast majority of female artists like Nicki Manji and Kim Kardashian have become well recognized by their body assets. Both Nicki and Kim like others have enlarged their chest and butts to keep their male fan base.

In today’s society women are the most attractive when they meet a certain expectation created mostly by the media and music videos. In order to audition for any music videos you must have double D’s and a perfect ass. If not, I’m sorry you are just wasting your time. But being realistic, how many females are built to music producers and male artists expectations? Obviously NOT many, therefore, females undergo through plastic surgery in attempts to meet these expectations.  In the article, Plastic Surgery Industry Sees Increase in Butt Augmentations, “statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (APAS), more than $31 million was spent in the U.S. alone on buttock augmentation surgeries in 2010, a whopping 40 percent increase from 2009.” Publisher Straith, states that the increase of butt augmentation is a result to the “increase in curvy role models has affected his practice.”

 

http://www.straithclinic.com/blog/2012/02/plastic-surgery-industry-sees-increase-in-butt-augmentations/

All these female artists and famous video vixen have no other choice but to accept the “norms” of body appearance in today’s society in order to be successful in what they enjoy doing. For example, if you love performing in front of an audience or singing your chances of being accepted in the industry you have to fit the part. Unfortunately, looking the part does not come cheap or easy. It is not fair that women have an expectation to follow, especially when men started these expectations.

What are we teaching our younger generation if they are exposed to what to look like and what not to look like to get them attention?

Is this really fair? Why are women only treated and seen as sex objects? Can’t one be beautiful in their skin? Female artists need to put a stop to such norms and become a better role model to our younger ones. Few artists are already putting this into effect becoming successful with altering their bodies such as Kurreche Tran and Zoe Saldana. They are very petite but amazingly gorgeous and relevant.

Change is not going to come over night, but eventually with time we will see change. Hopefully…

 

-Affirmative

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Can Rappers Change?

Check out the changes Jay-Z is making in his music after the birth of his daughter.

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November 18, 2013 · 9:53 pm

Drake Says Lyrics are “Fun” and “Whit” Do You Agree?

Hip-hop star Drake tells Katie Couric about the fine line between lyrics that are demeaning to women and music that is fun and witty. “It’s all about how you say it and how you deliver the product,” he said.

Most of his fans disagree. Don’t believe me. Check out the comments of the video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boloHgCmVNQ

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It’s all fun and whit when your not butt of the joke…..or lyric in this case. Watch Drake’s “Practice” video to determine if it’s fun or witty? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jcaIwtVDIo

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November 18, 2013 · 6:38 am

Tricia Rose Calls it Like She Sees It!

Professor Tricia Rose says Hip Hop images exploits women.

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November 18, 2013 · 6:28 am

The Future of Women in the Music Industry

The latest numbers from the Directors Guild of America, out this week, report that women directed just 15 percent of television episodes in the 2011-2012 season. The amount of work white women did stayed static, and the number of episodes women of color got to direct, went up but the jobs for men of color shrank. There is one question that always needs to be answered. Can music videos finally get more women directing movies and TV?

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Born in 1981, Matsoukas, who is Jamaican, Cuban, Jewish, and Greek, has built a career on collaborations with female artists like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna. Her videos often combine a certain girliness and wild power. In the video for Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” widely believed to be about Chris Brown, Matsoukas painted a failing affair in candy colors, and she turned Beyonce into B.B. Homemaker, a period desperate housewife to rival Betty Draper, in “Why Don’t You Love Me.” Melina Matsoukas is doing a wonderful job, directing music videos and commercials, but the article does not talk about Melina’s past music videos, such as “Sensual Seduction” by Snoopy Dogg. The models in this video feature explicit scenes of sexual intercourse, because “Sensual Seduction” is known by the uncensored version as “Sexual Eruption”. Melina has also directed many other videos with many artists that showcase women as sex objects such as Robin Thicke in “Sex Therapy”, Ne-Yo, and Beyonce. Sure, it is great that Matsoukas is now a Grammy Award winner for her “We Found Love” video, but it does not erase what she had to direct in the past in order to get to that point. By favoring what the audience wanted, Matsoukas was able to come this far.

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These videos show off what Matsoukas can do in five minutes or less, in a medium where powerfule female artists, unlike Hollywood executives, are keenly interested in speaking to women’s fantasies. Matsoukas is not without a doubt talented in directing music videos, but she first had to adapt to what her audience wanted, which was showcasing women dancing sexually. It would be nice to see her follow in the footsteps of David Fincher, who went from Madonna music videos to bloody, cerebral thrillers, or Marc Webb, who’s directed Weezer and Green Day and is now working on his second Spider-Man movie.

All of the content this post is based on can be found at the following websites:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/10/03/what_do_solange_knowles_and_christina_aguilera_have_in_common_new_videos_by_a_woman_to_watch_.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melina_Matsoukas

-Refutation

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