Michelle F, Maple Falls, WA

I thought the most interesting axis of masculinity that the contrast between the videos brought forward was the way in which masculinity was or was not constructed as heterosexual. For this reason, I decided to organize the videos from the one that most highlighted heterosexuality as imperative to masculinity to the video than least emphasizes heterosexuality.

1. A$AP Rocky

In this video, men are represented as the ultra-heterosexual masters of women. The video switches between aggressive shots of the male artists rapping to the camera to faceless images of scantily clad women in sexualized poses. In this way, the video constructs the men as in control in contrast to women who are portrayed as sex objects. When the men appear in the same frame, they are drastically separated from one another while in the one shot depicting a man and a woman, the women is touching the man. This emphasizes masculinity as strictly heterosexual.

2. Macklemore

While nowhere near as blatant as the A$AP Rocky video, the Macklemore video also contains subtle heterosexual overtones. The video often shows Macklemore surrounded by women. However, unlike the A$AP Rocky video the women seem to be active participants in the video rather than being controlled by the men in each shot.

3. One Direction

Despite the fact that the group is singing about a girl, there is not a single woman throughout the entire video. While this does not immediately suggest that heterosexuality is not part of masculinity, there are subtle pieces of the video than can be read in ways that contradict heterosexual constructions of masculinity. For instance, the video ends with one member of the group kissing another member on the cheek after he sings “and let me kiss you.” Perhaps it’s a stretch, but the fact that the video also dresses One Direction as traditional sailors can be read as a reference to the way in which the World War II era military helped gay men to find one another. Regardless, the video certainly highlights a homosocial (and possibly queer) space.

4. SHINee

SHINEE seems the least affected by heterosexual norms in terms of masculinity. The video does not include any women but does contain traditionally masculine symbols like cars and industrial surroundings. The men themselves are dressed and styled very adrogenously with eyeliner and longer than traditional hair. These markers of femininity coexist with masculine symbols to create an ambiguously gendered space. Although this does not say anything about sexuality necessarily, it does run contrary to the stereotypically constructed heterosexuality where one gender-conforming person is with a gender-conforming person of the opposite gender.


One thought on “Michelle F, Maple Falls, WA

  1. I especially enjoyed your descriptions of heterosexuality in “Lucifer” and “Kiss You.” You clarified the difference between a more androgynous masculinity in “Lucifer” and the homosexual masculinity in “Kiss You.” I thought this was a very interesting nuance! However, I think you could push this idea even further… It seems to me that the traditional male symbols in “Lucifer” are absent in “Kiss You,” and this complicates the spectrum of heterosexuality you have created.

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