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This project investigates the effects of the portrayals of women in music videos on young women throughout the country. First, I reviewed multiple scholarly articles that investigate the effects on young women and men through studies. I summarized this information in a research paper. I then attempted to demonstrate some of the effects through a video I compiled which compares real women and the videos they post on youtube to the women on music videos. Hopefully this website, and this project, will give people a sense of how contemporary music videos are affecting the young en and women in our country. 

Sarah Rose Bierenfeld

Dr. Stahl

Rhetoric and Popular Culture

2 December 2011

The Effects of Women in Music Videos

Check That Body! The Effects of Sexually Objectifying Music Videos on College

Men’s Sexual Beliefs

This article focuses on the effects that viewing sexualized music videos has on young males. It not only reviews the general issues of how women are portrayed and portray themselves in music videos, but also describes a specific study that was conducted about the effects of these sorts of music videos on young male’s ideas about how women should be treated and their aggression towards women.  This article defines objectifying music videos as those that contain “close-up shots of individual body parts, self touching of sexual body parts, ample skin exposure, or sexualized dancing.” It discusses the idea that after viewing music videos with these sorts of images, the males have more aggressive thoughts towards women and are more likely to believe that it is acceptable to treat women in these sexualized, objectified ways. The study was done on a group of young males who were exposed to music videos with female artists who were objectifying themselves in some way. After viewing these videos the men were asked to answer questions about their attitudes and beliefs about women and sex. The study found that these men, compared to those exposed to non-sexual music videos, were more likely to feel causal towards sex and were less likely to believe that sexual harassment was a legitimate concern. (Stevens Aubrey)


The Effects of Gender and Music Video Imagery on Sexual Attitudes

This article discusses the effects that viewing sexualized music videos has on both young men and women, and the differences between the two. In the study conducted, both young men and women were exposed to the same music video and asked to answer questions about their acceptance of violence and stereotyping. Young women who did not watch the video were much more likely than young men to be against stereotypes of women as objects and violence towards women. On the other hand, girls who were exposed to the videos were much more likely to be okay with the idea of violence toward women by men. This proved to be the same for young men, but to a lesser extent. This article not only focuses on the findings of the study but is concerned with the implications of such findings. At the end of the article, the author begs the question of what this means for our society, and how this effect of music videos will affect how women will allow themselves to be treated by men in the future. (Kalof)


What's Happening on Music Television? A Gender Role Content Analysis

This study focuses in the sexual contents of music videos, especially the rock genre, that were played on MTV. For this study, the researchers found four students who viewed all of the videos as a group and ranked the contents every thirty seconds in the following categories: dominance/subservience, implicit aggression, explicit aggression, aggression with sexuality, objectification, implicit sexuality, and explicit sexuality. What was found to be true after completing this research was that both males and females were portrayed as having dominance at about the same rate. However, when it came to being portrayed as being subservient, women were placed in the role at a much higher rate than males. In general, it was found that the message the MTV sends is one that is highly sexualized, no matter what the gender. MTV and the videos it airs encourage men and women to act in highly sexualized ways, and discourages normal non-aggressive and non-sexual relationships between opposite sexes. (Sommers-Flanagan)


Sexual Objectification in Music Videos: A Content Analysis Comparing Gender and Genre

The main focus of this study was to compare the sexual objectification that artists took part in in their music videos across genres and genders. They based this study on the objectification theory, relating it to music videos specifically. In this study, the researchers focused specifically on objectification of and by the artist. This was considered most important and significant because viewers, especially young ones, tend to idolize the artist, and are more likely to accept their actions as opposed to background actors or dancers. The researchers found that not only did male artists objectify women in their videos, but many female artists took part in what is called self-objectification, in which they present themselves in a way that invites the male gaze in a sexualized way. Furthermore, male artists we much more likely to portray women in their videos as “arm candy,” with their only role being to satisfy men’s desires. As far as the genres are concerned, country is the least likely objectify women, while rap is the most likely. This analysis also begs the question of whether or not it is a good thing for women to be portraying themselves in such sexualized ways. Some may consider this a form of empowerment, where women choose to do with their bodies what they want and are proud of their sexuality while others may see this as proof that women are trapped by enduring stereotype and see no other way to be successful in today’s market. The researchers note that in order to answer this question, more research must be done. (Stevens Aubrey)


Does exposure to sexual hip-hop videos influence the sexual attitudes of college students?

In the study conducted by Michelle E. Kistler and Moon J. Lee, four main influences were focused on. This study attempted to discover whether or not college men and women exposed to such videos would express “greater objectification of women, sexual permissiveness, stereotypical gender attitudes, and acceptance of rape myths.” What these researchers found was that this form of entertainment may help to encourage distorted sexual norms and help certain sexual stereotypes to prevail. The findings of the study differed between males and females. Males in the study who watched highly sexualized hip-hop music videos were more likely to accept the objectification of women as well as exhibit higher degrees of sexual violence, whereas the video seemed to have the opposite effect on females. Interestingly, female were actually more tolerable of men’s objectification of women before watching the videos, and became more outwardly opposed and offended by these actions after watching the music videos. This analysis notes the prevalence of music videos in the lives of young adults, and recognizes that there are implications to the constant exposure that young adults have to such portrayals of sex. (Kistler)


Works Cited

Frisby, Cynthia M., and Jennifer Stevens Aubrey. "Sexual Objectification in Music Videos: A Content Analysis Comparing Gender and Genre." Mass Communication and Society 14 (2011): 475-501. Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

Kalof, Linda. "The Effects of Gender and Music Video Imagery on Sexual Attitudes."     The Journal of Social Psychology 3rd ser. 139 (1999): 378-85. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. < /kalof.pdf.pdf>.

Kistler, Michelle E., and Moon J. Lee. "Does Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students?" Mass Communication and Society 13: 67-86. Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

Sommers-Flanagan, Rita, John Sommers-Flanagan, and Britta Davis. "What's Happening on Music Television? A Gender Role Content Analysis." Sex Roles 28 (1993): 745-53. Springer Science and Business Media B.V. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

Stevens Aubrey, Jennifer, K. Megan Hopper, and Wanjiru G. Mbure. "Check That Body! The Effects of Sexually Objectifying Music Videos on College Men’s Sexual Beliefs." Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 3rd ser. 55 (2011): 360-79. Broadcast Education Association. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. < /doi/pdf/10.1080/08838151.2011.597469>.