Katie Douglas— Vashon Island, WA

I found A$AP to be the most masculine of the music videos when comparing Macklemore, One Direction and SHINee. In the first line of the song (“I love bad bitches that’s my fuckin problem”), one is able to understand that the song will be in no way gentle or up-beat, but instead will be a song that reflects more masculine characteristics. The tough, forceful, masculine image portrayed throughout the video can be depicted through the body language of the people in the video. Especially in the women, the camera rarely strays from the moving female body.  These women, referred to as “bitches”, are objects. This can be seen from their clothes, dance moves, and the oftentimes absence of their faces. The presentation and treatment of women in this video is also completely opposite from the pure, feminine image we see in Taylor Swift, for instance. The men in the video are fully clothed and present a very masculine image through their body language as well as the lyrics in the song itself.

 

Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” has a much more up-beat tone compared to “Fuckin Problem”. Throughout the video, Macklemore was able to appear as fun-loving, yet maintain his masculinity by being surrounded by women in many of the scenes. However, despite wearing odd and cheap clothes because “Tryna get girls with my brand man you hella wont” he is confident in himself.

 

SHINee has many aspects that one would consider feminine. For instance, the hairstyles, eye make-up, and tight clothing all make the video less masculine than the others. However, they are hardly different from other pop boy-bands from the US. For instance, the Backstreet boys and N Sync all had matching outfits and coordinated dance moves. SHINee is no different. While SHINee may appear more flashy and therefore less masculine, the cars in the background throughout the video and the overall meaning of the lyrics makes it less feminine than one would think initially.

 

Finally, I would say that One Direction’s “Kiss You” is the least masculine out of the group selected. It is the most childish and playful compared to the rest. It is funny and up-beat and is geared towards a younger audience. This is perhaps why it is considered to be a more “girly” video because it was made to appeal to their audience and show them having a good time. However, the ways in which the band members interact with one another (notice the quick cheek peck at the end) are much more girly than “Fuckin Problem” where the people in the video barely (if at all) interact, for instance. It looked like they had fun shooting the video, and that lack of seriousness produced a less masculine image (although there were cars and a motorcycle in the video).

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One thought on “Katie Douglas— Vashon Island, WA

  1. Looking at the interactions between people as informing the masculinity vs femininity of the video is a really interesting idea and I want to explore it further. In U.S. society typically, femininity is more emotional, interactive, and people oriented whereas masculinity is characterized by physical strength, independence, and a lack of emotions. So, I think you picked up on something fascinating going on in the videos. In Fuckin’ Problems the men are mostly seen in individual shots, with the camera close up and looking at their face suggesting these are serious, powerful, individualistic men. On the other hand, the One Directions video shows the men interacting with one another, in group shots, and showing affect through their mock video, which you saw as more feminine. So, I think you bring up yet another way masculinity/femininity is both understood in our culture and portrayed in media — interaction vs independence. But, there are also some nuances to this distinction; for example Taylor Swift was alone in much of her movie, but she was also hyper feminine, and Mackelmore interacted with plenty of people, but maintained his masculinity. Its possible then that while interaction is important for the viewer’s understanding of masculinity/femininity, the way people interact and the context in films is equally important. What are some other cues that make a scene of men interacting masculine or feminine?

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