Music Videos and the Issue of Young Women’s Self-esteem
Music Videos came about in the 1990’s when the TV station MTV came about. Women play a huge role in these music videos to help them look visually appealing and to help songs that normally wouldn’t sell to sell and get ratings. In these videos woman were depicted and stereotyped to look a certain way. Are the women that are being presented in these videos affecting young girls’ self-esteem? And how can the imaging in these videos be changed to help the young girls who watch it?
Music videos came to popularity in the 1980’s with such television stations as MTV, BET, and VH1. The aim of these music videos is to market and promote different artists through the use of visual appeals. Gangster rap, a subgenre Hip-Hop music, presents violence, homophobia, and sexism in its lyrical content. This type of music presents the youth with an ideal identity, one that is consumed with money, cars, drugs, and multiple women performing sexual favors. Gangster rap videos usually focus on the buttocks, hips, and breast of women, (specifically black women). These videos depict black women as: hypersexual, money-hungry, sex objects. The success of these music videos relies on the imaging of these women in these videos and their use of their sexual appeal to sell the song. Music videos portray woman in a positive and negative light and these portrayals of woman could essentially play a role in a young girl’s self-esteem. People within the music video industry as well as the viewers have differing opinions as to why they do not like the social standard for music videos. In Lil Wayne’s music video for “Love Me”, the woman are shown half naked playing on swings and are in what appears to be dominatress outfits.(LilWayneVEVO). These type of imaging are the ones in which people who argue that music videos are detrimental are strictly talking about. The standard for majority of music videos are that of the Lil Wayne music video and these types of videos have been said to be detrimental to young woman’s self-esteem because of the visual messages it presents to young girls. “But its impact is exceedingly worse for Black children, particularly for young Black girls whose self-worth and self-esteem are frequently being shaped by these unrealistic and harmful images of Black womanhood” (Hikes). These images of black womanhood are an unrealistic view of what true womanhood should be about and the woman in these videos do not even portray the characters they play in these music videos in reality. The images in these videos often lead to the girls in the video being type casted. According to Mako Fitts, the videos have “define[d] black female talent as “ho’s” to be consumed, both in front of and behind the camera (Fitts 221). If these type of imagings demonstrate this attitude within the rap music video itself the imaging could possibly have an even worse effect on the young girls who watch it. Even the producers of these videos do not agree with the images being presented in these videos. The producers in these videos do not agree with the images because they are formulaic and don’t let them take creative risks (Fitts 223). So these formulaic videos force the producers to have to exploit women, which is not there goal. Artists also have a similar issue as that of the producer. The artist wants to be able to stay true to themselves but they also want to give their audience what they want (Fitz 225). The idea of what their audience wants is based on what the companies feel will get more ratings. Parents blame the media that they are shown for the cause of low self-esteem. According to the Pittsburg-Post Gazette, one father stated because they are bombarded with so many media messages so much that their physical attributes are seen to be the key factor in determining if she will have low self-esteem or not (Ganster). The messages created in media are not purposeful but they seem to have a...
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