November 2014

Music Videos: How Far Have They Come?

Carolyn West, associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington, Tacoma, made an important observation with this statement: “Many adults are quite ignorant about what’s out there. We can’t afford to pretend it doesn’t exist.”

The observation certainly applies to music videos. When I was younger, I became concerned about the way women were portrayed in music videos. The hottest rap artists in the early 2000s seemed to thrive off degrading women and making it seem as if there were only one type of woman in the world. I knew that something should have been done about it, but I was like a lot of other people: I liked the beats and hooks of songs so much that I overlooked the video. The popularity of those videos made it seem as if all women would ever be was sexual objects.

I generally listen to rhythm and blues rather than hip hop, but recently have found myself intrigued by how far music videos for the rap and hip hop genre have come. Although we are a far cry from where we should be, I feel as though the videos showing a lot more positive side of women. Videos that show we can be beautiful without having to remove clothing is a big step forward from the days when videos tended to show crude depictions of how men felt about  women.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the portrayal of women is finally where it should be, but I will say that there has been valid effort to promote a better image of woman in music videos. When we watch music videos today, the main goal of artists is usually to tell a story, which wasn’t the case in the past. Artists have realized that story telling is a major part of music videos because that’s what connects their songs to the public. That concept has grown more popular through the years so although everything isn’t perfect, there is hope; perhaps the stories will begin to better reflect reality.