Paige J Boise, Idaho

  1. A$AP Rocky

This video is heavily reliant on conceptions of hyper masculine and hypersexualized portrayals of Black men. The men in the video are prominently displayed in the frames of the video and are often confrontational when they confront the camera, which moves with them if they wave their hands at it. The video features men portraying masculinity through physical strength, wealth, chains, sexual desirability, and the ability to fulfill sexual conquests. The events in the video, as well as the lyrics of the song, make it clear that the men are straight. In this video, masculinity is defined by sexuality to a large degree; the men often draw attention to physical symbols of a fetishized Black masculinity by crotch grabbing.

  1. Macklemore

This video shows Macklemore being surrounded by women playing up the overtones of heterosexuality in the video, even though some of these situations are meant to be ironic. Macklemore is surrounded by symbols of wealth, such as nice cars and tries on the role of “pimp” masculinity by slapping at the camera and using women as accessories. Throughout the video, other characters seem to respect Macklemore and are shown behaving in ways that do not emphasize their masculinity. Black men in the video are often depicted as hypermasculine bodyguards. Even when Macklemore is depicted in potentially emasculating ways (Batman pjs), he overcomes this by taking on other masculine attributes such as swearing, using degrading gendered language, and being confrontational.

  1. One Direction

One Direction plays with an ostentatious “boyish masculinity” that allows them to “try on” stereotypical roles (Sailor, Inmate, Athlete, Biker, Mobster) of masculinity while simultaneously mocking them. The members of the band are often seen with markers of masculinity such as motorcycles and surfboards. By playing all of these roles, the members of the band can safeguard against being emasculated by the irony and the often clear failures of the members to accurately fill the roles they play (surfer with water wings).

  1. SHINee

This video relies heavily on markers of masculinity, such as muscular body types, camera emphasis on the band members’ crotches, nice cars, and a rocker vibe. The men are often portrayed in a sexualized light to the camera (band member in the wind tunnel, close ups of the mens’ faces). The men are present in the frames and seem to have some dominance over the camera, though it objectifies them. The men in this video adhere less to “Americanized” notions of masculinity; though the participation in the elaborate dance routines, the eye makeup, and the heavy hair styling are not meant to emasculate the men, rather they are to show alternative (perhaps orientalist) modes of masculinity.


One thought on “Paige J Boise, Idaho

  1. I really like how you point out the idea that masculinity is most frequently tied to establishing or gesturing towards sexuality. The videos like Fuckin’ Problems and Thrift Shop depict masculinity through heterosexual and dominant indicators, providing a critical basis for their masculine image. The power to attract women and have dominance over them in some way seems to be one of the most important aspects of masculinity in the music industry. But, as shown through the other two pop videos, the genre, age group, and boy-band style seems to place less emphasis on demonstrating masculinity through sexuality and instead, more so on attractiveness and romance.

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