Women in music videos

Published 30 Jun 2017

The objectification of women in music video industry has become increasingly rampant since the inception of the entertainment medium. The era of music videos has heralded the demeaning of women by reducing them to an object of male visual appreciation. The music industry thrives on the level of viewer-ship that can be attracted to any given video, and it seems to be the dominant belief that the less clothing a woman wears in a video, the more likely it is to be viewed. Such channels as MTV, BET and VH-1—three of the largest music video cable channels—thrive on the broadcast of videos that are filled with sexual images portraying women as scantily clad. These images are present in order to fuel the sexual fantasies of men, and highlight women as having the primary purpose of fulfilling those desires. Many videos are also filled with women being touched by men, as “We only want to see males if they’re doing things to females” (Burrowes, 2002). Therefore, while women are made objects in a lot of videos, the primary purpose of the male in such videos is usually to act out the fantasies that place women in the position of sexual object.

This paper addresses the problem with media portrayal of women as objects by arguing that not only does it harm the image that women have of themselves, but it also adversely alters the image that is fostered in the minds of males as they grow within the society. With respect to the study and practice of communication, such media objectification has the potential also to adversely affect the treatment of women in workplaces. It may also hinder the commencement or advancement of their careers in the corporate world. Such portrayal of women as objects in music videos makes it difficult for a woman to be taken seriously in any communications setting within and beyond the interpersonal level. Possible sources for this research include Philip Burrowes’ “A new era of scantily-clad women,” Robin Roberts’ Ladies First: women in music videos, and Hedy Fry’s “Round table on the portrayal of women in the media.” While some have argued that it is women who allow themselves to be portrayed in that way, but the pressure that such videos place upon them is largely responsible for influencing their behaviors and their subordinate role in society.


  • Burrowes, Philip. (2002). “A new era of scantily-clad women.” The Tech. 122(8).
  • Fry, H. (1997). “Round table on the portrayal of young women in the media.” Status of Women: Canada. Vancouver.
  • Roberts, R. (1996). Ladies first: women in music videos. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
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