How Music Videos Shape Public Perception of Gender Roles and Sexual Behavior
Music videos certainly shape our views on gender roles, sexual behavior and what is considered socially acceptable. The visuals that accompany a musical piece can confuse or, sometimes, even subconsciously influence our thinking.
Many music videos contain common gender stereotypes in the way they depict the roles and behaviors of men and women. For example, some videos might portray men as assertive, confident, and brave individuals, and women as emotional, sensitive, and demure individuals.
Objectification of Women
It is no surprise that music videos often portray women as sex objects. They are often seen dancing in revealing outfits and singing about their physical traits. This objectification of women can lead viewers to believe that for a woman to be desirable and accepted in society, she has to follow a certain standard of beauty and sexual behavior.
Promotion of Unhealthy Sexual Behaviors
Many music videos feature sexual encounters with no consideration of the consequences, such as sexually transmitted infections or unplanned pregnancies. In addition, they often encourage promiscuous behaviors, and advocate for a “hook-up” culture, without addressing issues such as consent and respect. This unawareness can lead viewers to think that these behaviors are natural and acceptable.
Music videos can influence our views on gender roles, sexual behavior, and beauty standards. By repetition of the same message, viewers are likely to internalize these biases, perpetuating gender stereotypes and unhealthy behaviors.
To reduce these negative effects, more thought should be put into the messages conveyed by music videos. Artists should consider the potential impact of their lyrics and visuals, and strive to create videos that are inclusive and promote mutual respect.
Here are some tips for design better music videos:
- Include characters from diverse backgrounds. Music videos should reflect different gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities and abilities.
- Avoid objectifying women. Avoid showing women in a sexualized way, and focus on their physical and intellectual capabilities as well.
- Illustrate healthy relationships. Show various types of physical and emotional connection, with mutual respect.
- Encourage positive sexual behaviors. Show examples of safe and consensual sexual encounters, with knowledge of the risks involved.
By doing so, music videos can have a positive impact on viewers, and help create a healthier reality.