The Portrayal of Women in Rap Music.

Music Videos

What the Industry Is Saying
Music Videos
Questions to think about...
Conclusion: Critical Essay

     Music Videos are intended to provide the visual compliment to a song or lyrics.  On occasion the highly sexualized lyrics have an equally shocking sexualized video to accompany them.  These videos are aired on cable television with little or no censorship.  The youth are hearing and seeing daily the commodification of women as objects of sexual pleasure and desire.  Music videos reach such a wide audience that it is hard to censor who and who will not watch them.  The perpetuation of these images in rap videos is directly linked to the demand for them.  We must now ask ourselves, who is creating these videos and for whom?  The artists are not the directors nor do they conjure the "plots" of the videos.  Therefore we must look further, past the artist, to the source of the marketing. 

Click on the image to be linked to the Candy Shop Video

The above video is called "Candy Shop" by 50 cent (one of raps biggest chart toppers today).  The premise of the video is 50 Cent goes to a mansion aka the candy shop, where women are walking half naked feigning for his attention.
Candy Shop Lyrics
I take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollypop
Go 'head girl, don't you stop
Keep goin 'til you hit the spot (whoa)
I'll take you to the candy shop
Boy one taste of what I got
I'll have you spending all you got
Keep going 'til you hit the spot (whoa)

[Verse 1: 50 Cent]
You can have it your way, how do you want it
You gon' back that thing up or should i push up on it
Temperature rising, okay lets go to the next level
Dance floor jam packed, hot as a teakettle
I'll break it down for you now, baby it's simple
If you be a nympho, I'll be a nympho
In the hotel or in the back of the rental
On the beach or in the park, it's whatever you into
Got the magic stick, I'm the love doctor
Have your friends teasin you 'bout how sprung I gotcha
Wanna show me how you work it baby, no problem
Get on top then get to bouncing round like a low rider
I'm a seasoned vet when it come to this shit
After you work up a sweat you can play with the stick
I'm tryin to explain baby the best way I can
I melt in your mouth girl, not in your hands (ha ha)


[Bridge: 50 Cent & Olivia]
Girl what we do (what we do)
And where we do (and where we do)
The things we do (things we do)
Are just between me and you (oh yeah)

[Verse 2: 50 Cent]
Give it to me baby, nice and slow
Climb on top, ride like you in the rodeo
You ain't never heard a sound like this before
Cause I ain't never put it down like this
Soon as I come through the door she get to pullin on my zipper
It's like it's a race who can get undressed quicker
Isn't it ironic how erotic it is to watch em in thongs
Had me thinking 'bout that ass after I'm gone
I touch the right spot at the right time
Lights on or lights off, she like it from behind
So seductive, you should see the way she winds
Her hips in slow-mo on the floor when we grind
As Long as she ain't stoppin, homie I aint stoppin
Drippin wet with sweat man its on and popping
All my champagne campaign, bottle after bottle its on
And we gon' sip til every bubble in the bottle is gone

[Chorus 2x]
[Chorus: 50 Cent & Olivia]
[50 Cent]
I take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollypop
Go 'head girl, don't you stop
Keep goin 'til you hit the spot (whoa)
I'll take you to the candy shop
Boy one taste of what I got
I'll have you spending all you got
Keep going 'til you hit the spot (whoa)



"Many adults are quite ignorant about what’s out there. We can’t afford to pretend it doesn’t exist. We live in America, and people have a right to produce those images, so I’m not talking about censorship. But even if artists won’t be responsible, the community has to hold them accountable. My fear is that girls don’t even see their own victimization anymore. They say, "I’m a bitch, I’m a ho, I’m a tip drill." As porn moves more into the mainstream, it only normalizes the behavior and how we deal with sexual assault and violence." -Carolyn West, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, University of Washington, Tacoma

The following are questions to inspire thought about music videos and the images they project.  They are taken from a course outline based on the video "Desire, Sex, and Power in Music Videos" by Sut Jhally.  This video has been seen by over two million students.  He is considered "one of the world's leading experts on advertising and media studies".  Look for the link on the bottom of the page to his biography.

What effects do stories told again and again in music videos have on the ways we conceive of romance and sexuality in contemporary American culture?

In our society, we are told that beauty is only skin deep, that the color of a person’s skin doesn’t count, that "it’s what’s inside that counts." On the other hand, we treat fashion photography as high culture, spend large amounts of money and time on our appearance, and even use our exterior as a way of communicating ideology or membership in certain social groups. What exactly is the relationship between appearance and inner character?

Our popular culture gives us endless images of intimacy, romance, and sex. Compare these images to reality. How do popular images affect our own pursuit of these things?

If sexuality in the DreamWorld is a set of elaborately staged stories, what is it in the real world? Can sexuality and intimacy in the real world exist without role-playing?

How can we distinguish between harmful and benign portrayals of sexuality?

Girls, Women & Music Videos

How do you think MTV defines and portrays "femininity"?

What stories does music video tell about women’s sexuality?

Why are these stories told and not others?

What would woman-driven DreamWorlds look like?What kinds of woman-driven or other alternative DreamWorlds are articulated in popular culture already?

How do they differ from what you see on MTV?

[source: ]

Sut Jhally's Website. Includes links to a biography, lectures, articles, videos, and publications.

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