Although I have considered gender roles while consuming media in the past, I seemed to find the symbolism more interesting when these videos were compared to one another. As the videos move along the spectrum of “least” masculine to “most” masculine, I found more use of phallic glorification, less smiles, less male-to-male camaraderie, and substantially more booty shaking.
In my opinion, the least masculine of the male videos was One Direction’s, Kiss You. On one hand, the young “men” may want to be taken seriously as artists, at least by their main market of 13-year-old teeny-boppers:
On the other hand, the video clearly shows that these young men are still boys who clearly do not take themselves too seriously:
The main reason for assigning the “least masculine” title to this video is that the entire video portrays the loving relationship these boys seem to have with each other. It is not a problem for them to sing about kissing a girl, while having their arms around each other, grabbing their own nipples, and kissing one another on the cheek. Listening to the video without sound could possibly make the viewer wonder if the proposed kiss is meant for another member of the band. The video casts obvious homosexual undertones, but creates a fun-loving innocence (partly because of the fact that the most they want to do is kiss) that the tween girls adore.
SHINee presents a type of masculinity that is not necessarily prevalent in America, but they use masculine objects such as sports cars to balance out the fact that some of them may ere on the androgynous side of fashion. The men still perform in a group similar to One Direction, but they smile much less and definitely do not touch each other at all.
Macklemore continues the trend of associating nice cars with masculinity, even though he is talking about his ability to be attractive while wearing cheap, used, clothes. According to Macklemore, if a man spends a minimal amount of money on a goodwill shirt, or your grandfathers clothes, he will undoubtedly be able to get “up in her skirt”.
Kendrik Lamar’s Fuckin Problems wins the award for the most obvious show of asserting masculinity. Each man in this video keeps a tough face on to the point of looking pained at times. The only emotions shown by the men are “tough”, “aggressive”, and “angry”. Contrasting to the men’s masculinity, the women in the film are completely objectified not only through the lyrics but through the camera angles. The faces of the women are barely ever shown, creating an idea that their emotions either don’t match up to the men, or don’t matter at all.