Sexism and racism rife in music videos, report states

Research indicates women are routinely portrayed as hyper-sexualised

A new report has concluded that sexism and racism are rife in music videos, with women routinely depicted in a hyper-sexualised way that creates a “conducive context” for violence.

Commissioned by equality campaign organisations EVAW Coalition, Imkaan and Object, the report found that men are shown as having power and dominance, with women “the passive recipients of their gaze”.

The report, Pornographic Performances, states that such videos create a “conducive context” for violence against girls and women.

Women – in particular black women – are portrayed as hyper-sexualized. The report said: “Black women are commonly portrayed as hypersexual, with a focus and fascinated gaze on their bottoms, invoking ideas of black women as wild and animalistic.”

The report singles out the videos for Robin Thicke‘s ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Summer’ by Calvin Harris and DJ Snake’s ‘Turn Down For What’ for criticism. It said that people who watched such videos in a controlled setting are more likely to have double standards over sex. It said: “They see men who have many sexual partners as admirable and women who do so as ‘sluts’.” It went on to say that video viewers were more likely to excuse “acquaintance rape”.

The report recommends the music industry should listen to the views of young women, and make a determined stance to eradicate sexism and racism from videos. It also wants a compulsory age rating for videos, and asks for schools to teach media literacy as part of sex education lessons.

Lia Latchford of Imkaan told The Guardian: “Our concern is how the music industry uses music videos as yet another vehicle to colonise and commodify black women’s bodies. We urge the music industry to consider what young women and the evidence are telling them.”

See below for an exclusive interview with Janelle Monae talking about sexism in the music industry.