Aviva Prager / Albany, CA

Listed in order of Most Masculine to Least Masculine

A$AP Rocky: “Fuckin’ Problems” 

I think that the A$AP Rocky is the most classically masculine in that it depicts very “macho” men rapping about things that concern men–in this instance women. Additionally, out of all the videos this is the video that is most obviously marketed to men both in the lyrics and videos story and images. The video opens with what I assume is A$AP Rocky and then quickly switches to a woman who is dressed in what looks like a tutu skirt. The fact that you can’t see her face suggests that her identity doesn’t matter and instead all that’s important is that she has big breasts and is dancing provocatively/sexually. The women throughout the video are heavily sexualized through what they wear, how they dance, and what body parts the camera focuses on. The women in the video and who are being rapped about have no personality or anything unique; instead, they are sexual objects and exist as symbols of the women that the men rap about having sex with.

One Direction: “Kiss You”

Following the very masculine A$AP Rocky video comes the much more pop-y and perhaps wholesome One Direction video. Also, it’s interesting that there are no women in the video even though they are singing about women. Each of the sets that the men of One Direction are on involve traditionally masculine activities––driving, rock band, skiing, surfing, and sailing. They are participating in masculine activities while singing about this girl that they want to kiss. While this portrayal of women is more respectful, there is still the notion that women are sexual objects that bolster a mans’ status  as referenced in the lyrics: “Oh I just wanna show you off to all of my friends / Makin’ them drool down their chiney chin chins”

The next two videos where harder to rank because I think they were much more androgynous.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Thrift Shop”

Ultimately, I decided that Macklemore was more masculine than SHINee mostly because there were fewer times when I questioned the masculinity of the video. The fur coat that Macklemore wears coupled with the tight/skinny jeans. Also, when the camera pans across the shoes they are all mens shoes and he does not say anything about wanting to wear “grandma’s clothing.” He says, “I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s style, /No for real – ask your grandpa – can I have his hand-me-downs?” Nothing (except perhaps the fur coat) he buys is overtly feminine– a keyboard, a kneeboard, jackets, and a plaid shirt. And yet, the little girl at the end of the video asks if that’s his grandma’s coat, so there is some gender-bending but not as the SHINee video.

SHINee: “Lucifer”

This video was hard to place as less masculine than Macklemore; which I think is largely because I tried to see the video through a Western lens. Even though there is a strong presence of nice cars in almost every frame of the video it does not undo the very traditionally feminine nature of this music video. The men are very obviously made up and are dressed in clothes that create a sense of androgyny throughout the video. The first time I watched the video I was sure that they were more masculinely dressed but after watching it 4 times, I am not convinced. While they are wearing pants and other traditionally male clothing such as vests, leather jackets and blazers, this video seems to be more feminine than Macklemore or One Direction both in the mannerisms of the performers and their overall style. Additionally, none of the men in this video have facial hair and in general have small features, two things that stereotypically would suggest that they are less masculine and more feminine. The luxury cars in the background seem to be all that anchors this video in the masculine realm.

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One thought on “Aviva Prager / Albany, CA

  1. As far as the Macklemore analysis goes, I would agree with all of your observations, but I also see his commentary on all these things as almost a mocking of the typical “masculinity” that we see today. “Trying to get girls from a brand? Then you hella won’t” could be seen as directed at the masculinity (or materialism) that we identified in SHINee’s video. “Walk into the club like, ‘what up! I got a big cock!'” could also be seen as directed at the masculinity that A$AP Rocky seems to present. I’m not sure where this puts Macklemore on the scale of masculinity, but I do think that the masculinity he presents is coming from a place opposite of A$AP Rocky and SHINee.

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