I found it interesting that, with the exception of M.I.A and Girls Generation, there was always an icon, dance move, or image to re-affirm masculinity. Because of our assumptions of what masculinity is, there’s a need fix what might otherwise be “different” about a certain image, video, or film. Take for example, the SHINee music video. The make up, some of the flow like dance moves, and the sort of delicate compilation of the whole video suggests what some cultures deem as feminine. However, the dark solid colors, hip thrusting, and the presence of the sports cars in the background represent more masculine attributes, reassuring the onlooker that this video is about males, and what makes up a desirable male.
Macklemore did the same thing. Although in the beginning some of the outfits might be perceived as feminine (I thought that the huge fur coat, and the pink shirt, and frilly shirts Macklemore wore throughout the video were good examples, along with some of the outfits Wanz wore-the pink suite, the fuzzy hat on the boat) there was some movement, or image there to reassure Macklemore’s masculinity. For example, in the first shot when Macklemore’s drinking the icy and on the scooter he has two women on his side, and positioned above them like he owns the place. Another observation is the image of the car in the second shot, and a man is driving it. Also, did I mention when Macklemore enters the room he clearly announces “what up I got a big cock”. When Macklemore is dressed in the footy pajamas, he looks like a little boy, but when he says, “let’s do some simple addition” a woman is holding the cash machine, and you can see her cleavage and curves, which I believe reassures the audience that Macklemore, despite is promiscuous outfits, is still a white, powerful male.
One direction had a bit of a twist. Sort of like the Girls Generation, One Direction represents the traditional time of boyhood (whereas Girls Generation emphasizes girl power, not quite reaching mature womanhood, nothing sexy or “dangerous”) which involves a lot of trying out different outfits/personalities, and, shall I say, “discovering” who he is as a boy and someday man. The clip was playful and there were some suggestive feminine moves like when Harry grabs Zayn’s chest on the motorcycle, and when Zayn kisses Harry on the cheek at the end. HOWEVER, least to say, there’s still reassuring signs of masculinity, for instance the motorcycle and car, the exposed muscled chests (surfer shot), and the more powerful arm and shoulder moves. There’s nothing delicate, or flow like about the dance, just playful, but built. This all reassures the onlookers that even though One Direction does amp up the boyish stage in life, they are still boys and will some day become strong powerful males–they just need time to grow into their masculinity, but it’s there.
As for Taylor Swift, she builds up an image of masculinity from a white, female point of view: someone who’s white, handsome, well off (judging by the suite of the guy and his clean appearance) has apparently perfect male lips (in contrast with her full red lips), and cares all about the lonely virgin female who’s coming to rescue her on his stallion. (I’m referring to the brief shot of the statue of a man on a horse right after the guy comes over to check her out). Again, to reassure that Taylor’s man is not some loner who’s too artsy with the camera, there’s a shot of him with his male buddies enjoying a good laugh. Further, the a lot of the camera shots show his strong facial features (like the jawbone, deep set eyes etc…) What a charmer.
It is fascinating how in the film industry, advertising, pictures etc… anything out of order, (specifically gender) must immediately be reassured and put back into it’s “proper place”. Somehow, if we see a man dressed in a pink bathing suite it’s out of the ordinary, but put a bunch of sexy looking beach girls and maybe a car behind him, it’s okay. Or if we look at a woman in baggy gangster outfit, chains, swagg hat and short hair society gets confused because we’ve been taught that those are masculine articles of clothing. However, put make-up and lipstick on her, and boom, the crowd settles down. I wonder if examples just stated, will someday be part of the “norm” or will we continue to enforce our present assumptions and images of femininity and masculinity.