Musical savagery, image of the women, masculinity in music videos, female stereotypes, sexual object, female dominance, patriarchal structure, Beyoncé, Maroon 5
Music videos in general, it is true, are usually intentional exaggerations of tropes or clichés. The worn-out images make easy shortcuts for listeners and viewers looking for a quick visual accompaniment for a song and don't demand much more. However, these intentional exaggerations help to reveal an unintentional assumption about the proper gendered and racial roles in our culture. By examining the specific case study of the Beyoncé video for her 2003 song "Crazy In Love", I will show how certain masculine roles are played out and strengthened through this medium, further establishing themselves as the dominant tropes about masculinity in our culture.
[...] However, enough has already been written about the role of women in contemporary hip-hop music videos. As Liesbet Van Zoonen has pointed out, feminist theory has long underemphasized masculinity and its tropes in the media (Van Zoonen 47). For this analysis, the “Crazy In Love” video is interesting due to its scenes with Jay-Z. Jay-Z, who was Beyoncé's boyfriend at the time of the video's shooting (they have since been married), appears first at the beginning of the song. His spoken-word rap is the foreground while Beyoncé struts around in her red heels and foreshadows her sexualized dance moves later on 0:30). [...]
[...] Van Zoonen, Liesbet. [...]
[...] At the same time, there is a strong racial aspct to Jay-Z's role in this video. By acting uncivilized, Jay-Z matches the trope of the uncivilized black male. African- Americans are often depicted as "native" or "savage," inherently uncivilized, and in this depiction lies "the threat of civilisation being over-run or undermined by the recurrence of savagery," explains Hall (Hall 92). Because under this ideology the black man is inherently uncivilized and is ready to exert his violence upon the civilized white man, he is not to be expected to be anything other than uncaring and aggressive. [...]
[...] "This Love." Songs About Jane. Octone Records Music Video. Dir. Sophie Muller. MTV. August 2004. Meyer, Elizabeth J. "Masculinities on The O.C.: A Critical Analysis of Representations of Gender." Media Literacy: A Reader. Donaldo Macedo and Shirley R. Steinberg, eds. New York: Peter Lang 454-462. [...]
[...] It reasserts and strengthens the image of the powerful male whose female companion is sexually submissive to him. Also, it supports the idea of the aggressive black male who is outside of the boundaries of civilization. A similar scene with white actors in Marron 5's “This Love” video shows many of the same strong patriarchal overtones but with a somewhat softer side. The Beyoncé video also conjures, indirectly, the violent male associated with uncivilized male behavior, particularly black male behavior. [...]
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