'Too Much Sexism and Racism in Music Videos' Says New Report

Study hits out at major popstars.

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A new report has claimed there is too much sexism and racism in music videos, stating that modern clips create a "conducive context" for violence against women and girls, Gigwise reports.

The study, compiled by Pornographic Performances gathered a wide range of data from a wealth of sources to form their argument, and the group are now urging for radical change in the industry.

Commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, the study found that women were being hyper-sexualised in music videos, whilst male subjects were predominantly shown in positions of "power and dominance."

The study comes in the wake of continued debate over the last few months about how women are represented in music videos, an argument that hit fever pitch with Robin Thicke's misogynistic video for "Blurred Lines."

Ia Latchford of Imkaan Young Women's Team said: "For years young women have been telling us that they are not happy with the representation of women in popular culture, including music videos. We are happy to finally see a briefing which reflects their experiences and the harmful impact of racism and sexism in music videos."

She continued: "We believe in women's right to self-expression and freedom of movement. Our concern is how the music industry uses music videos as yet another vehicle to colonise and commodify black women's bodies. We urge the music industry to consider what young women and the evidence are telling them."

Based upon their findings Pornographic Performances are pursuing change in the way music videos are made and accessed, particularly by informing young people about what is and isn't acceptable, hearing the views of young women and by introducing compulsory age ratings on music videos.

The full report can be seen here.

90 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Reevo
    Well unfortunately, sex sells, and these "artists" who only care about their next pay check will gladly do that. Whats a little lack of self respect when there's cash in return?
    GodzillaRAWRRR
    These people are idiots if they think not having sexy music videos will stop violence against women. Violence against women has been around way before all this stuff in the media.
    howyjr
    So because violence against women "has been around way before all this stuff", shall we just sit on our fat arses and do nothing about it?
    Izzy-Sweet
    Sex sells... but who's buying?
    thejay2
    Couldn't agree more! and to add to this, I notice that they used a still from that god awful song 'Blurred Lines' has anyone actually heard the lyrics to that song? He's practically glamorizing rape! People have the audacity to say that Rock/Metal is miserable etc....these people clearly don't listen to the song and follow the rest of the sheep that have no opinion over music unless their friend says it is cool!
    Abacus11
    Mainstream pop music is all about one thing - MONEY. Most of this "music" has very little to no artistic merit. It is a product who's producers are trying to sell to as many people as possible. As soon as millions of people stop spending their money every time they see a half-naked, hyper-sexualized girl (or guy) dancing around telling them to spend... that's when pop music and mainstream media will stop using them as tools to separate you from the contents of your wallet (and mind).
    phili666
    This has always existed though. guns n' roses, motley crue, kiss, aerosmith, etc.. all have videos like this. I dont get why people are complaining about it still
    SkepsisMetal
    Maybe because it's "still" going. That's why people are "still" complaining about it. They did then, and they are now. Just taking different approaches, and perhaps something might change. You cannot say that the sheer amount of hypersexualisation bullshit flying in our faces is the same amount as the rock videos of 25 years ago.
    filipe26
    Either way it's on because people like it. You can't control what people do just because YOU think it's wrong.
    karstaag666
    Difference is TV back then was so blurry you couldn't see f#ck all.. Miley Cyrus would look like she's wearing a gymnast outfit.
    seance
    Yeah, and those bands are all pretty much considered "Cock Rock" bands.
    mrsuns10
    Anybody remembers this video?
    howyjr
    Oh yes indeed. When I was about 8, I remember staying up "all night" just to see it because it was only allowed on after midnight. But now in the internet age it is basically impossible to restrict when and where something is viewed or heard. It is definitely the role of parents to decide and discuss what their kids watch
    qrEE
    Here's how I see things - Girls, you don't have to put yourself out there as a sex symbol or make sex a dominant part of who you are career-wise or life-wise. If you truly want to do that, go ahead, that's not my area to judge, but if you're doing it for attention or money or whatever, just realize it isn't necessary. Look at pop music outside of the US, there's plenty examples of pop girls who don't try to sell themselves off as sex symbols. Guys, you can treat girls like people too. They don't need to degrade themselves for you and honestly, they shouldn't, because guys hardly return any of the favors that girls do for them. You don't have to be sex crazed either. Treat women with respect and don't expect anything in return, that's called being nice. I don't know, I'll probably get some form of hate for having an opinion where I think life is better when people have more respect for themselves and others. Sex is just a great marketing tactic for people who want your money and greed over-powers morals for a lot of people. I'm not even one to talk of morality because honestly I don't really care, like sex music stuff can be there I'm fine with that, but I just think it's best if people know what they're signing up for and aren't forced into anything.
    unyinz
    "Pornographic Performances" Yeah, that's a nice, unbiased name.
    BVSocialClub
    "For years young women have been telling us that they are not happy with the representation of women in popular culture, including music videos." Well duh! Most women don't look like Victoria's Secret models. Maybe all women should talk to their girlfriends, daughters, and sisters and tell them to stop modeling and going to such video castings. I think videos that portray very succesful men with hair shouldn't be made available to women on TV. I don't appreciate the pressure I feel from women to have very expensive cars, houses, a great career, and a 32 inch waist size! Plus, I'm losing my hair and I don't like the fact that most people portrayed on TV have theirs.
    jorge.medina.50
    Right subject, wrong place. The videos are entertainment and females are participating willingly. They should look IN the industry to see how actual female performers are being treated, I'm pretty sure it's way worse in there than in the couple of videos they looked at.
    SGstriker
    It wouldn't be big if the majority of the population didn't ENJOY this kind of thing. This is so ****ing stupid.
    harrison_t_cl
    More politically correct whining. I grow so tired of it. Feminists are such an annoyance. Men are portrayed similarly in many areas of media as well. If you don't like it, don't buy it or listen to it. Problem solved.
    mjones1992
    Lol. Really? Who got paid a boatload to pose naked on camera? Oh yeah. A group of women who wanted some moolah (let's stop pretending that women are incapable of saying no to taking off their clothes in front of a camera. I mean, really?). As a man, I'd happily do a video (especially a music video) in the nude if the price was right. Who wouldn't?
    worshipthewitch
    If society condoned violence against women, they'd be the victim of more crime than men are. But men are the victim of every single type of violent crime more than women, by not insubstantial numbers.. So the point is rather invalid. Plus women are allowed to hit guys but men can't hit women. Until these videos start having real world consequences, complaining about them is the same as complaining that violent video games are bad for society and make our children violent people.
    worshipthewitch
    Oops - this was meant to be a comment on the video, not your comment. But what I wrote may as well be a comment to your comment, so whatever.
    jpcl
    Bullshit article as always. Is there anything that can be done nowadays without being judged or critizised.
    Crackheadrich
    Im personally disgusted at the way bitches and ho's are portrayed in the media, its terrible!
    UniformRecon
    It's such a bad influence, too. Everyone is following Miley Cyrus's lead in enabling sexism and degrading the image of women. It's pretty sad that almost every female pop star has a sexualized video. That's the one thing that I appreciate about Taylor Swift, though: she's never really done that.
    Mixloopx
    Women can choose to do whatever they want though. If they want to act like that it's their right. They're not puppets who need others to tell them what to do.
    Funnyname99
    This has been around a lot longer than Miley Cyrus... Did you see Britney gyrating? How about the new kids on the block? And, wait for it... The Beatles!
    schirripar
    Elvis wasn't able to be shown from the waist down on some TV shows, but you know sexuality in music is brand new
    UncleBluck
    You are comparing an watermelon to a grape....study up on what you just said and tell me how Elvis dancing compares to this discussion.....and also don't forget...Elvis actually had talent...unlike most of the pop stars today that are being referenced....
    schirripar
    Elvis was a marionette, like most pop stars today. He didn't write his own songs, and he had no creative control over what he did. Elvis was totally sexualized the same way that pop stars are sexualized today for their singing and dancing. And if you don't believe me, then that's just because you're blinded by your own nostalgia.
    Allysonb7001
    i think you cant necessarily ban these videos, because these girls are choosing to do this and there getting paid. but i would love to see some musicians have some actual creativity in there videos and do something different.
    mizerama
    Well, look. You're allowed to make a misogynistic video, even though that's gotta say a lot for the artist. Shouldn't the focus be placed on the networks who in turn actually showcase it? It's not like well WHOOPS this popstar made a video filled with a harem of twerking women, I guess we have to show it!
    ninikee456
    but the women in the videos tho. like even their stance on the issue is like.... so whatever... if they really cared that much for a change, they wouldn't do these types of videos.. what will their kids think of it? "oh ts just for fun. it means nothing" srry you cant have it both ways media girls...
    Floyd Phoenix
    In these cases of background dancers etc it's usually women who want to be actresses or models though, and they have to take what work they can get no matter how demeaning it is else they won't get paid and can't afford basic things like rent or food... An even in the cases of a lot of the 'stars', it's still a case of their own greed or their bosses because of how well it sells...
    ninikee456
    and I totally get that. completely agree with you here, but my beef is that when they do take the opportunity to do these things for the sake of putting food on the table, they backlash the hand the feeds them. my point is that they can't have it both ways. hypocritical even. It's just confusing, especially in the media, what message they are trying to enforce...
    seance
    And to be fair, some of these women may not know (or care, unfortunately) about the inherent sexism perpetuated in these music videos. So hopefully issues like this pops up more on peoples' radars and things change. Sex may sell, but hopefully sexism won't.
    schirripar
    If they feel that strongly about misogynism in pop music, maybe they should write a song about it and try to change that themselves instead of bitching about it.Don't blame the marionette artists for decisions the record label/music video directors make. These guys don't even have a say in their own songs, let alone their music videos.
    okanggggg
    Nowadays mainstream pop lyrics are mostly about club, getting drunk, sex, pussy, how rich I am, and **** hoes. Rock/Metal lyric are more meaningful than this shitty industry. Its about life, a storytelling, a journey, love, about don't giving up, fighting for your life, about the corruptions in this world, humans behaviour, meaningless war. The lyrics are more powerful and meaningful.
    N7Crazy
    That's just plain incorrect. If anything, a shit ton of pop songs talk about stuff like love, an emotional journey, not giving up, fighting for ones life, and all that, albeit in a often simplified form. It's true the other stuff is also popular, but the former is the most consist themes within popular music. Likewise, you'll find that a lot of rock/metal songs deal exactly with the other stuff like getting drunk, sex, wealth, bitches, and getting ****ed up. Think of bands like The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Van Halen, KISS, Arctic Monkeys, Fidlar, Dropkick Murphy's, hell the entire glam rock/metal scene - Most them are equally guilty of what you accuse mainstream pop of writing about. And as a further point, in most mainstream pop songs you won't hear anyone anymore singing about any harder drugs than marijuana. Smack, coke, speed LSD, is a no-go nowadays, and yet you'll find a lot of rock/metal bands singing, and some even praising some of those drugs. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against drugs nor drug-users at all, and some of those bands I mentioned are favorites of mine, but if you're going to argue a black/white image of rock/metal mainly writing insightful and meaningful stuff, while pop music only cares about getting laid, drunk, and rich, then I'd say you need to get your ****ing head out of your ass.
    Doogal
    So spot-on. FIDLAR's entire debut is about massive amounts of hard drugs and debauchery (and "Whore" is horrifically misogynistic), which, with the exception of the latter, I'm totally cool with. I can't stand most of the people on UG that circlejerk over how "pure" and "meaningful" every band with a guitarist is.
    MaggaraMarine
    I agree completely. People now are acting like parents in the 70s and 80s. Now mainstream pop music has become the "evil" thing that rock music once was. Don't people see the connection? I also hate comments about "meaningful" lyrics. Lyrics are what they are. Not every song needs to have deep lyrics. If the song is about having fun, it doesn't need any "deep" lyrics. Lyrics are entertainment. Sometimes they aren't meant to be taken seriously. Sometimes they are just meant to be catchy. And there are lots of pop songs about love. I don't even pay attention to lyrics that much. If the music side of the song isn't good, I usually don't listen to the song. But there are some exceptions.
    TheExterminator
    "Rock/Metal lyric are more meaningful than this shitty industry." Please
    Just, please
    Seriously,
    Next you'll be saying Metal is the next wave of classical or some of the other horseshit tryhards and posers make up to make it seem like Metal fans are the ubermensch of music listeners. I swear, modern Metal fans seem to forget the whole "Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll" thing existed and is still incredibly popular amongst people who actually like the music. Stop whining about club music like you're some conservative prick who thinks KISS is trying to get your kids into Satanism, Metal doesn't need whiny scum like you.
    link no1
    Did you jut type 'f*** off and die' into youtube and post the first 3 results that were from metal bands? I'm pretty sure you did. I could probably type in 'guns n hoes' and get an entire page full of rap results. Just sayin'.
    TheExterminator
    I know and love all of the bands whose songs I posted. I mean, my username is taken from "Korgull the Exterminator", a song by Voivod, SO, REALLY. "I could probably type in 'guns n hoes' and get an entire page full of rap results." .. So?
    jaybrink10101
    Bands like Lamb of God, Protest The Hero...they tend to be vilified for their stage shows and their 'anger' and 'violence', and yet they talk about such important things - politics and morality and sexuality and life lessons and religion. Pull up any excerpt from either of those bands, compare it with any top 40 song, not even close. PTH and LoG never used 'Nigga' or 'Bitch' or 'Ho', so far as I know.
    filipe26
    Randy Blythe kills people and don't regret though. That goes along with some murderers in rap, like Snoop Dogg.
    Blatouch96
    There are thousands of songs about men who are depressed because of a breakup of simply because of a girl, so I don't get this bullsh*t about "power and dominance". They're just songs, for christ sake, they are meant to express feelings of the artist and nobody should tell the artist what he should write about, what he should feel. The same applies for the music videos, they're part of the art aswell (in the addition, I think that Thicke's video that was mentoined above was meant to be a joke, not to be taken seriously). After all, it's the viewer who chooses to watch the video, play the song... It's the same as if you've started to ban nude paintings and photographies. And women are definitely not the ones that should blame somebody. For instance, Marina and the Diamonds has a lot of videos that could be concerned as sexistic (
    ). Art is about a freedom of expression. If you don't agree, you're supporting censorship.
    filipe26
    Exactly. Plus lots of women like to be taken under power and dominance. They are sexually attracted to it.
    Floyd Phoenix
    Not necessarily a fan of Marina and the Diamonds but I've heard a lot about how her songs and videos are showcasing how bad sexism in the music industry is by showing how ridiculous it looks in reverse and calling people out on it. Also, sure people should be allowed to express what they want, but they shouldn't really be expressing racist or sexist opinions in the first place and then shouting 'freedom of speech' whenever someone tries to censor it, which is the problem.
    K33nbl4d3
    On Marina and the Diamonds, anyone who can't tell that that video is a REALLY simple form of satire is seriously thick. Its entire point is quite clearly to mimic the position of men and women in a large number of music videos - only reversed. The fact that the guy who posted the video just now is so offended by it demonstrates nicely. Freedom of speech is nice and all, but if it's the most compelling argument you have to defend your position, as is the case with songs about date rape and their respective music videos (Thicke, for anyone who didn't figure that out), you probably shouldn't've recorded that crap in the first place.
    telephonebear
    i certainly dont agree with censorship and artists should be allowed write what they want (although inciting violence/hatred is a different matter). the problem is that pop music is predominantly listened to by 13 year olds who are likely to want to emulate their 'heroes'. the problem is when children sing along to songs like blurred lines, to use the common example, without understanding what they are saying is innapropriate
    Blatouch96
    I get your point that this is the problem, but I think that parents should be the ones who tell their children that this is wrong. Children are going to find the videos no matter what (it will be as hard as to find a porn on the internet). It should not be unavailable for them, it should be explained to them that something's wrong about it. As much as I don't agree with certain rap and pop videos and songs, I don't think that the solution lies in the inaccessibility, rather than in a good explanation from the parents. After all, every child can always create an account on Youtube and fill in that they're above age of 21 or 18 or whatever...
    LastBaron
    I agree that it is the parents responsibility to teach their children and set them on a good path. The problem is that many parents would sooner leave their six year old with a cell phone/tablet, the internet and their own devices, than teach them anything at all
    DMRIOT
    Thicke's video used nudity to give the music context because the music was so seriously lacking. Whether it was meant to be taken seriously or not is irrelevant as long as it sold units using sex. But even good music relies on visual stimulus. If we're talkling about porn, when I was a kid I had to brave buying a dirty magazine, now kids can watch women being gang banged through all three orifices - it shouldn't be unavailable for them! Don't confuse the fact that because something can't be easily contained and is freely available, means it should be freely available. 'So little Jimmy, this is a gang bang and i'm going to explain to you why it's bad.....' Come on. Unless i've picked you up wrong.
    telephonebear
    i agree, blocking from certain groups still feels like censorship which as i said i am against. but at the same time if kids are warned of something being bad it might make them want to see it to see what the fuss is about, like early 80s teens all huddling around their iron maiden records
    woody182
    I disagree. I'm not saying an artist should be told what they can and can't do per say. But I definitely think there should be censorship in place. Censorship isn't always bad. If you want to make a film with loads of sex, violence, and drug use, go ahead. But have an 18 certificate on there. I would not want my kids seeing that stuff until they're old enough. It's the same with music videos. If they're pornographic then they shouldn't be able to be viewed by impressionable young kids.
    telephonebear
    true. an entirely fictional film cant really contain anything so shocking that nobody in the world must ever see it. whether we want our kids watching it is another thing
    AlexGreat123
    It's ironic people won't play a lot of rock/metal videos because they're deemed violent (amongst other things)yet they're fine with playing songs which imply racism and sexism from pop videos
    jaybrink10101
    Surprise f*&^#@g surprise. Metal isn't the worst of the worlds issues, pop music is forced down the throats of the masses (vast apologies for using the massive cliche) and people wonder why we have some serious eating disorders, self-harming issues, self-esteem issues, self-respect issues, sexual morality issues, personal morality falls, and some serious obsession hedonism. Curious.
    phds
    And you can bet most of those don't come from pop music.
    filipe26
    You have Burzum and alike bands in metal. That's worse than any hypersexualized pop video.
    TheLiberation
    Burzum and Vikernes-level nutcases are extremely rare in metal, and as much as I'm actively opposed to people like him, almost nobody takes him seriously. You have no idea what you're talking about.
    deanwinchester0
    All those videos of 9-year-old girls twerking to Miley Cyrus videos come to mind. I completely agree with their findings...
    ewolf5150
    I disagree, we need more racism in music
    kasrafallen
    y? well people like you are the main thread in the other side , indulgence and egoism cuz this kind of stupid racism.
    ewolf5150
    lmao, its so funny how easily a joke goes over peoples heads. i can picture you guys now, (in a pissed off face smashing keyboard) "o this mother#$%^&$, i'm gonna show him! his stupid ignorant ways are not needed here" hahahahaha
    adambauman31
    Boycott the music. Censoring is wrong. This problem will never end. Sex sells so nobody is about to change their ways.
    Wolfscar
    Hasn't it been pretty sexist for a long time? Pretty much a lot of dance music videos from 10 years ago were pretty erotic. With the suggestive lyrics, surely the videos that accompany the songs have to be.