After taking a close look at popular music videos and the way women are represented, a clear answer to the research question presented above is found: music videos do contribute to the objectification and sexual violence toward women. Through the way women are presented, wearing barely any clothing, always “ready and available” for sex to the male artist rapping/singing, and rarely having a sense of human feelings or emotion. Often their face is not even shown, the camera just pans over their bodies to promote the idea of a sexual object made only for men’s viewing pleasure.
Based on the results from a survey we created about the objectification of women in music videos, it was found that college men watch these videos frequently, and despite knowing the effect it has on females, they still blame the music industry for the negative effects on women and sexual violence. This could contribute to the problem of men not knowing exactly how subconscious and harmful these images are. The theme from our research results of societal unawareness becomes prevalent. It is a problem that should be solved in order to complete a call to action.
The theme of embracing women’s own sexuality rather than suppressing it was a strong point from the dance practice with the Urban Pulse dance group. Fixing this problem by trying to suppress women’s sexuality completely is the wrong way to go about it. This leads to the ultimate call to action for this problem: The media needs to stress the importance of strong women role models in music videos. These images can change the way women are portrayed in popular, mainstream music videos in order to outnumber the current negative and degrading ways they are represented now. Rather than suppressing women’s sexuality, the media should express women in control of their own sexuality. There should be a distinction between embracing one’s own sexuality and giving up their rights to the men that seek them as sexual objects.
After interviewing Bianca Marino about the work she has done at WomenSpace and Sexual Assault Support Services, her words only further confirmed the fact that music videos damage the way women view themselves in society. The problem stems directly from the way the media perpetuate this concept that women are merely an object existing to satisfy and entertain men. The connection to abusers and survivors was evident when Bianca explained the types of issues SASS deals with every day. The survivors came in with a wide range of problems, but one of the main things they found in common with each other was having low self-esteem. Although there is not a direct link or proof between the harm of music videos and the way survivors feel about themselves, there is an undeniable connection between the messages the media send relating to the music videos, and the way women in return receive these messages and how they look at themselves. If a music video portrays a woman as less than a human being with her only purpose as being a sexual object, how are women supposed to feel like they are worth anything? The damage the music video industry has caused is irreparable, and it has caused an innumerable number of problems with self-esteem issues among women.
Another comment Bianca had was about the way we can attempt to solve this massive issue. After being immersed in a culture where women are held to ridiculously high double standards, and men are accountable for virtually nothing, it would be impossible to solve the problem quickly or efficiently. When women, teens, and young girls are watching a highly offensive music video such as “Blurred Lines,” they subconsciously are thinking “this is what I am and this is what I can aspire to be.” As Bianca points out, society is sending subliminal messages that are responsible for many of the problems young teen girls face as they are growing up.