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Women are Over-sexualized in the 21st Century.
The music in the twentieth and twenty first centuries are significantly different, both vocal and visual. In centuries before, music was primarily made up of instrumental music from stringed and wind instruments with the exemption of Operas. With the advanced technology and culture, many new genres of music advanced with an increased participation of women in music. However, this involvement has triggered a major escalation in the sexuality of women over the years. Women have fought for the right to own their sexuality for decades in the society. In many places, men in a family, owned the sexuality of a woman and she could not have a say in who she married or dated. Women today, have taken control of their sexuality, but at the same time, increased the objectivity of women by men.
The degradation of women’s self-worth has become much evident in almost every genre of music in this century. Women are viewed as sexual objects in most music videos for the generation. The role of women in these videos is to dance provocatively for the camera whenever the beat drops and not to take part in the vocal part of the music. Music videos tend to impose the impression that female sexuality is defined by what is pleasurable for men. The reason this constant demeaning of women exists is because women claim it to be an approach of liberation from the male chauvinism and constant disdain of female power.
Popular music videos have been criticized as bearing misogynistic messages and pictures. While more female artists have grown visibility and created fruitful brands in recent years, critics claim that several of these artists are pushing the limits of tolerable norms with regard to race, gender and sexuality in popular culture. Hip-hop artists, for instance Nicki Minaj, display ample degrading of women by displaying women’s sexuality as a mere way of pleasure to both men and women. An example of her music videos that clearly shows how the today’s woman have become more sexualized is “Anaconda”. This video is undoubtedly an example of sex being used to sell an artist. In the video, Nicki Minaj and her backup dancers are seen gyrating their bodies provocatively for the cameras as they dance to the beat of the song, almost naked. The lyrics to this song, are erotic and very vulgar displaying the woman’s body as an item by using words like “big fat ass” and “pussy” to refer to the female body. In her song, Nicki tells two instances where men are pleased by her body and pamper her with gifts while she pleases them with her sex appeal. The female body, in this video, is reckoned as appallingly powerful and appallingly susceptible, capable of short-circuiting men’s aptitude to act logically or compassionately. Most women will view this as gaining control of their relationships and sexuality, urging them to use their bodies and sexual acts to intimidate men into giving them anything that they desire.
Pride in the woman seems to be a thing of the past. Nowadays, women are more proud of their sexual activities, viewing them as achievements. Sexual pleasures were held as a secret matter in past centuries, even sacred among married couples. This is however not the case in this century, where women typically brag about their sexual appeals and bodies. In “Anaconda”, Nicki brags about her vast rear end, taking pride in men being pleased by her body.
This belief that men take pleasure in big rear ends, as in the phrase “he wants something he can grab”, has resulted into many women tending to change their physical appearance, normally through plastic surgery, just for the aim of appearing “sexy” acceptable.
Her sentiments about “the skinny bitches” and “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun” tells young women what is desirable and what isn’t. For a young woman, it is very normal to desire and be desired and with music videos telling and showing what’s ‘hot’ and what’s not, it irrefutably diminishes the self-esteem of millions of women who do not possess vast rears, making them believe that to be sexually desired by men, they have to have massive rear ends, effectively altering the way women should view sexuality.
Most teenagers, especially boys that watch music videos like “Anaconda”, grow up with the mentality that a woman’s physical appearance is all that matters and not her mental capability or behavior. They are more likely to sexually harass women and have unfitting expectations of them. This attitude leads to relationships and marriages that are as a result of wrong choices, which is a result of the high rate of breakups and divorces in the twenty first century. The teenage girls exposed to sexualized content, are more likely to place attractiveness as central to a woman’s value, even regarding sexual appeal more than education.
As in Nicki Minaj’s anaconda, the artist is seen dancing provocatively to a fellow artist Drake, while he sits and enjoy the moment. By doing so, she showcases herself as an item of entertainment to a man. A man being provoked in such a manner could lead to uncivil behavior like rape and other sexual injustices. Women have taken up the habit of dressing as they see in music videos in the name of “fashion”. Men artists, insists on having half-naked women in their music videos as objects to gaining popularity and recognition among other men and to attest that they are authentic gangsters.
Many artists view demeaning women as a way to declare their masculinity. In as much as women claim it to be liberation, they fail to notice that these men do not have any regard for them and their only aim is to benefit themselves by using them to gain fame. Women in this century walk half-naked as compared to the past where decency was valued. Today’s dressing mode has resulted in men not respecting women at all. A woman is likely to receive a lot of sexual approaches while walking down the streets just because of how she is dressed. Men even go as far as undressing a woman in their minds which is a sign of so much disrespect to a woman. It’s not only the dressing mode that has changed but also the way of dancing. In the past centuries, women used to dance appropriately and most of the time with men as partners and they would dance with respect. Nowadays, women just dance to a beat as long as they can gyrate their rear ends to it, with no respect whatsoever, so as to be seductive and admirable to men.
`Women also lack self-respect involving themselves with criminals who engage in illegal activities just to make themselves rich. Some women take pride in associating with such men because these men easily provide them with money and lavish lifestyles which is an in-thing today, in exchange for sex appeal. For example, Nicki the phrase “boy toy named troy used to live in Detroit. Big dope dealer money, he was getting some coins. Was in shootouts with the law but he live in a palace” and also “I let him hit it cause he slang cocaine”.
The use of derogatory names is also unmistakable like the use of the term “bitches” to refer to women. The term has become so widely used. Once a person mentions “bitch” everyone automatically has a woman in mind instead of a female dog as it is supposed to be. Referring to women as female dogs, especially by artists, shows how much they have come to see women as a sexual object and not human beings. You may think that women are just for the purpose of pleasing men and nothing else.
The stimulating, rather than remorseful content of these videos anticipate a pensive exercise on the part of those people who watch them. The “Anaconda” type of music videos have undoubtedly encouraged prostitution among the women in this century. Women now believe that it is okay to use their sex appeal to get what they want, resulting in some of them making it a profession. These sex workers dress as they see in the music videos and they also use the music lyrics to compare to their own lives. For instance, a woman who go to clubs and involve in sexual activities will not be remorseful about it. Some enjoy dancing provocatively in the clubs and being applauded by men. However, these women are ignorant of the fact that they play a big role in rape especially when they are scarcely dressed or drunk. In the renaissance, baroque, and classical music, the music used to be smooth and as an art of strictly organized compositions, which is not the case in today’s music. Musicians lack knowledge of the art of music and they just throw in words in a beat as long as someone can dance to it, usually the women in these videos.
Representations of women are shifting at a rate that may be too fast for the conventional, and too sluggish for the radical. The over sexuality of women in music videos needs to stop. The most effective way for this continuous sequence to end, is if the fight and protest comes from the women themselves. Men are the problem in the objectification of women but in order for it to stop, women need to step up and take control of the situation. It is correct that women have taken control of their sexuality which is a good thing, but it is also correct that they have gone beyond the norm by using their sexuality for money and power. Women can liberate themselves from the male dominion without having to over sexualize themselves or letting men objectify them in music videos. Being free of the negative influence of pornographic and subjective music videos is a choice that women need to make.
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Essay In a Book: Cooper, Sarah. “Access Some Areas.” Girls! Girls! Girls!, edited by Sarah Cooper, 148-160. New York: New York University Press, 1996.
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http://www.newcastle.edu.au/Resources/Schools/Humanities%20and%20Social%20Science/JIGS/JIGSV4N1_63.pdf Nicki Minaj Anaconda http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZX4ooRsWs