Tabor M, Loomis, CA

SHINee, Macklemore, A$AP Rocky, and One Direction each display varying degrees of masculinity in their musical identities,  their visual appearances, and their lyrics to songs. The wide spectrum of masculinity makes it easy to distinguish and place the groups in order of most masculine to least masculine as well as identifying what makes it possible to place them in that particular order:

A$AP Rocky is the most masculine of the above groups mainly for their misogynist portrayals of women in both the music video and in the song’s lyrics. Based on the different shots of women’s various body parts in the video, A$AP Rocky most likely sees women as possessions to own and use, both of which can be read as misogynistic but also masculine qualities.

Macklemore is less obviously masculine but there is still plenty of non-subtle masculine elements to his song and video. To begin with, some of the song’s lyrics are obviously very masculine (e.g. “What up, I got a bid cock” etc). In addition, the song has a deep baritone chorus that gives it a more masculine feel which is re-enforced by multiple images of Macklemore rapping with women around him or dancing.  But Macklemore counterbalances some of the masculinity with aspects such as having a little girl sound bite, ridiculous thrift shop outfits that are not masculine (Including  onsie-PJ’s), and multiple shots of him “shopping” which is by no means a traditional masculine quality.

One Direction is not very masculine mainly because they are doomed to fall into the perennial “Boy Band” genre.  And for good reason, because they are very boyish, perhaps the epitome of a boy band actually. And since boyish qualities are not considered masculine, their innocence is instead used and represented by having fun. They have a “we’re just some kids/friends having fun!” sort of attitude that is re-enforced by their upbeat songs and lyrics, constant smiles and laughing in the videos, and  fun activities  that they always engage in. Also, they are less masculine because they are not afraid to touch each other in the song (at one point one even kisses another) all in a playful way, but traditionally not seen as masculine.

SHINee is the least masculine group because of their sleek and clean appearance, even more than One Direction. They have a very androgynous vibe because of their haircuts, attires, and voices, and because they hold themselves in an almost dainty manner. Even though the lead singer shows off his arms in a masculine way he has a very refined masculinity about him because of what he is wearing and how gracefully he holds himself. The end result is that at times SHINee reads as completely androgynous if not effeminate. Whereas One Direction is more boyish, SHINee is more androgynous. The most masculine quality about them is the cars in the background of their video, and the lower voiced, masculine-esc rap verse within the song.   


One thought on “Tabor M, Loomis, CA

  1. I personally had the most trouble deciding if One Direction or SHINee was the least masculine of the four groups, and I think it’s interesting that you put SHINee as the least masculine. For me, the difficulty lay in analyzing SHINee’s masculinity from a Western or Asian point of view. Judging from “Lucifer” and “I Got a Boy,” the ideal masculinity in popular Asian culture seems to be that of a well-mannered, slightly androgynous-looking yet still identifiably male person. And so I wonder: Since One Direction blatantly objectifies themselves as sexual objects while SHINee strives for a more heartbroken yet virile look, through the lens of a more global masculinity, would you reconsider the two band’s respective places in your hierarchy of masculinity?

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