Tuesday, 31 August 2010

textual analysis

Umbrella – Rihanna
The Umbrella music video is performance based; it belongs to the RnB genre. The music video begins with a close up of Rihanna’s leg and then pans her whole body. Here face is concealed by a hat making it harder for us to recognise who the artist is. Rihanna’s costume is revealing and shows off her body, which may from a feminist perspective be done to attract a male audience. This is a negative representation of the female gender by feminist, as Rihanna is demeaning herself. Another interpretation of Rihanna’s costume by a post-feminist would be that she is in control and not being forced to do anything but only celebrate her success. In the lyrics at the start we hear a very famous rapper Jay Z promoting his record label and Rihanna, his newly signed artist at the time this music video was produced. The appearance of Jay Z in this music video will help attract a larger audience to purchase and listen to the song as he is a well established artist.
The long shot of Jay Z shows with female backup dancers in the background, the camera shot shows Jay Z in the centre making him look the most important and powerful. This is a stereotypical representation of the male gender as they are made to look more superior when compared to females. Jay Z costume is a leather jacket, baggy jeans and trainers; this is clothing most commonly worn by rappers making Jay Z look like a stereotypical Hip Hop artist. There is also special effects being used in this long shot as there is sparkles of fire raining down on Jay Z and the backup dancers without having any effect on them. The special effects make the music video seem more expensive and professional, therefore making Rihanna look like a high calibre artist to promote her name and music.
Next we cut to a Mid shot of Rihanna performing alone, her costume is all black making her look more like a rock singer as opposed to RnB artist, this costume may have been chosen to attract a larger audience from another genre. There is smoke in the background which may connote that Rihanna is one of “hottest” talents around. A series of different shots in the same scene reveal a drummer in the background which is conventionally not seen in RnB music videos but Rock videos instead, this shows that Rihanna has changed her style possibly to attract a larger target audience. Rihanna is carrying out different poses in this scene of the music video; these poses show that she is also reliant on her looks as well as talent. Feminist would argue that her poses and her costume have been chosen specifically to attract male audiences, the male gaze.
There is then a cut to a different scene which makes use of special effects once again. In this scene Rihanna is spraying around water with her hand; the fact that water is being used ties in with the name of the song “Umbrella”, for this reason the actions that are happening in this scene are not unusual. The connotations of water are purity and freshness, which may be the way Rihanna is trying to represent herself. Rihanna is represented in this scene more positively than in others, as she is made to look more innocent and less provocative. In this scene Rihanna looks more like an RnB artist than in others where she looked rock artist, this may have been done to reassure her original fans that she has not changed her style and music completely. Next there is a short cut to a scene where Rihanna is showing off her ballet skills by balancing the whole weight of her body on the tip of her toes. This represents Rihanna as she is represented as talented dancer, it can also be said that Intertextual references are being used here as Micheal Jackson has performed this dance move in his music video “Billie jean”.
We then cut to a long shot of Rihanna dancing with a waitress like costume; here Rihanna is playing a stereotypical female role. Rihanna’s costume and make up (high heels and red lipstick) in this scene is revealing and represents her as promiscuous, which is a negative representation of the female gender. Also her costume and props are all black making her seem like a rock artist once again, showing the change she has made in her style. However, female artists wearing tight costumes adhere to the conventions of RnB music videos. Also Rihanna’s choreographed dancing is another conventional aspect of RnB music videos, so it can be argued that Rihanna is not subverting the conventions of the RnB music videos in this music video. There is a range of camera shots being used in this scene like others in order to engage the audience interest in the music video.
Next there is a cut to a series of close ups and mid-shots showing Rihanna completely naked and covered in gold paint. Intertextual reference is once again being used as this scene to some Madonna fans would remind them of Madonna’s “fever” video in which she does exactly the same thing. It is also interesting that Rihanna’s music video uses Intertextual references that relate to big mainstream stars of the past, such as Madonna and Micheal Jackson, this may have been done to show her intention of becoming a big success in the music industry. Also the fact that Rihanna is completly naked represents females negatively as sex objects. There is then a cut to a close up of Rihanna in the next scene for a period of time which engages and keeps them interested in the music video.
The last scene in the music video is a choreographed dance performed by Rihanna and male backup dancers. A choreographed dance is a convention of an RnB music video hence the reason why there are many choreographed dancing scenes in this music video. The use of male dancers may have been done to attract female audiences and represent Rihanna as talented as she is leading the dance. The Umbrella prop has been used once again in this scene creating an obvious relationship between lyrics and images.
Overall, this music video manages to adhere to most of the conventions of RnB music videos. However, in some scenes Rihanna does look like a rock artist because of her leather black costumes. The music video does show that Rihanna has changed her style and music in order to attract larger audiences. The music video also uses intertextual references to give pleasure to fans of other big name artists who can understand them. The camera shots in this music video can be interpreted in many ways depending on how audiences read them. Feminist would say that Rihanna is representing females negatively through her provocative clothing and sexual behaviour. Whereas post feminist would argue that this video represents Rihanna as a successful and independent artist trying to become a very successful artist.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


  • Art/ social-political movement that aimed to reinvent culture that had become outdated
  • Roughly occured between 1890s- 1960's.
  • A rejection against realism
  • divisions of modernism include avante-garde and surrealism
  • films/ novels / art were self-reflective of society
  • Modernism is self refelctive, it draws attention to itself and the material it uses- E.g. Jackson pollock


  • 1970s onwards
  • the breakdown of barriers beween genre and style
  • The breakdown of distinction between binary divides (E.g. human and machine)
  • Mixing up time, space and narrative
  • Emphasis of style over content
  • Blurring of fiction and reality / representation and the real
  • Becoming more use to a mediated version of reality, than reality itself (hyperreality)

Key terms

Intertextuality- one media text referring to another

Parody-mocking something in an original way


  • The Simpsons parody both high and low cultre to a wide range of audiences
  • part of the idea of postmodernism is that there is no divide between high arts and mass culture.

Pastiche-An artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist or period. This is a self-conscious imitation.

Bricolage- mixing up and using different genres and styles. e.g Shaun of the Dead: Zombie mixed with and romantc comedy.

Homage-imitation from a respectful standpoint

pastiche/ Homage

  • Generic conventions of a "golden age" Hollywood film of which "gaga" is the leading lady.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Kanye West – Power
The music video for the song power is a concept based music video. Concept based music videos base the whole music video on a theme or idea, the theme this music video is based on is a moving panting. This has been done by Kanye West as it is his idea of showing his power which is a very masculine way of thinking stereotypically seen in hip Hop music videos.
The music video begins with a close up of Kanye west, who is a famous Hip Hop artist, and in the background we can see pillars which are associated with ancient Rome. Around kanye west neck is a chain which is very big, showing his wealth and power. This is a stereotypical representation of males in Hip hop music videos. The camera shot makes it appear as though kanye west is as big as the pillars behind him; this has been to represent Kanye west as powerful and strong. In the first camera shot it can be said that this music video is reflecting the conventions of the genre. The camera tracks out revealing kanye wests costume, which we can see is robes that may be recognised by some as those worn by rich and powerful people in ancient Rome.
The camera tracks back further revealing more women around him, as though he is a king, the costume of the females is also associated with ancient Rome. The fact that they are around him and he is in the centre of the frame suggests that they are seen as inferior compared to Kanye west. This is a stereotypical representation of females in Hip Hop music videos especially as women are portrayed as sex objects for males. As the camera tracks back further we can see that there is even more women surrounding him, it can also be seen that some of them have wing suggesting they are angels, also we can see a halo around Kanye wests head. The halo may represent Kanye wests opinion of his massive contribution to Hip Hop music; this is seen a lot in Hip Hop music videos as the male rappers exaggerate their ability in order to show their self confidence and strength. We can also see that the females in this video are wearing very revealing clothes and being used to make Kanye west look more powerful.
As the camera tracks out further we can see two males fighting with swords, this was popular in Ancient Rome as it was a form of entertainment for the emperors. It also shows power as two people are risking their lives in order to entertain someone, this makes Kanye west seem important. This is a stereotypical representation of males, so it is reflecting conventional representations in the Hip Hop genre. The long shot shows a lot of people with Kanye west in the centre, this shot makes it look as though Kanye has a lot of followers and is popular. The music video ends with the word “POWER” being displayed, with Kanye west at the centre of the letter “O”.
Overall, we can see that this video represents genders very stereotypically. The male gender is made to look more superior to the female gender, Kanye West a male is made to look the most powerful of everyone in the video. The females used in the video are being used to self empower Kanye West and show that he has followers. This video is extremely short compared to the stereotypical Hip Hop music video, this was done to further reinforce the effect that music video is based on a moving painting. Although the costume and props used in this video are not associated with modern times and the Hip Hop genre, they do work well in helping Kanye west look more powerful which is a stereotypical representation of Hip Hop artists. The costume and props used make Kanye west look like an emperor, which was a position that in ancient times held a lot of power. I would say that this is a clever video as it manages to standout from other music videos whilst still managing to fit into the Hip Hop genre.

further research

Gender stereotypes in music: Current research findings

  • Men engaged in significantly more aggresive and dominant behaviour.

  • Men represented as independent, adventerous, unemotional and competent.

  • Stereotypical gendered occupations apparent (i.e. Males as fire fighters/mechanics, women as cheerladers/Waitress).

  • women engaged in significantly more explicit, sexual and passive behaviour.

  • women represented as objects of sexual advances or as sexual objects

  • Sex role stereotyping and negative attitudes towards females

  • Women more likely to be presented in provocative or revealing clothing.

  • Women portrayed as decorative objects that dance, pose and do not play instruments

  • research findings NOT restricted to the Hip Hop genre.

Feminism ( 1960/70's)

  • A movement in which women questioned their position within patriachal society and the "private sphere" of "home/children/domestic bliss".

  • Serves to uncover, challenge and eliminate oppresion and dominant gender imagery

  • women began to debate the narrow range of stereotypes present across all media;

  • Women as virgins, mothers or promiscous

  • Women as sex objects

  • women are inferior to men

  • Women as domestic/based in the home.

Sexual objectification and the Male Gaze (laura Mulvey 1975)

  • definition of voyeurism: Erotic pleasures gained from looking at a sexual object (who is unaware of being watched)

  • Presence of women solely for the purpose of display (rather than narrative function)

  • female on display is passive and objectified for a male gaze regardless of viewers gender

  • Voyeuristic treatment of female body in 'male' videos- use of dancers as adornments to the male ego

  • the inclusion of women fr display is a staple element in music video's - across all genres

  • Women connote to-be-looked-at-ness and are the object of the male gaze

Stereotypically 'female' occupations

  • britney adheres to traditional gender stereotypes by taing on the roles of:

  • secretary, Air hostess, waitress

  • Each occupation emphasises highly sexualised costume and behavoiurs

Post-feminism and the female gaze (post-feminism (1980's))

  • A re-appraisal of feminist values

  • does not strive for 'equality' as this assumes men are the best - they wish to surpass male achievements

  • Objected to theories which position them as objects of the 'male gaze'

  • identifies a 'female gaze' - women actively desiring men

  • Women began to assert their right to dress and be sexually attractive

Post-feminist readings

  • Rihanna is not on show for the benifit of male audiences but is enjoying herself experiencing different identities.

  • She is successful, independent and in control.

  • connotes messages of empowerment/confidence/independence to female audience.

andrew goodwin-music videos

  • there is a relationship between the lyrics and the visual( with visuals either illustrating, amplifying or contracting the lyrics).
  • There is a relationship between the music and the visuals (again with visuals either illustrating amplifying or contracting the lyrics).
  • Particular music genres may have their own music video style and iconography ( e.g. live stage performance in heavy rock).
  • There is a demand on the part of the record company for lots of close ups of the main artist/ vocalists.
  • The artist may devolp their own star iconography , in and out of theiir vidos, which, over time become part of their star image.
  • There is likely to be reference to voyeurism, paryicularly in the treatment of women, but also in terms of systems of lookingh (screens within screens, binoculars, cameras etc).
  • there are likely to be intertextual references, either to other musci videos or to films TV texts.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

missy elliot- shes a bitch analysis

Missy Elliot-she’s a bitch
This Missy Elliot song is a performance based video, which interestingly contains no males. The video begins with Missy Elliot’s name in large print in a dark grey colour. The size of the text connotes Missy Elliots massive fame at the time of the making of the video, this helps attract people to keep watching the video as this a big Hip Hop stars song. Then the title of the song appears, this can be read in two different ways. One being the feminist approach would say that “she’s a bitch” is demeaning to the female gender and therefore representing the female gender negatively. The other way in which the “she’s a bitch” text can be read is the Post feminist approach. Post-feminists would say that the text is being used to self empower Missy Elliot.
Next we cut to a long shot of Missy Elliot from a low angle walking towards the camera. This represents her as a strong female; her long black leather coat is very masculine like and adds to the impression of missy Elliot being a strong female. She can hardly be seen because of the dark lighting making the video seem dark and gothic like. This subverts the Hip Hop genre as most of the Hip hop videos do not try to go for a dark and gothic effect. This shows that Missy Elliot is trying to be different and unique in a music genre which is very conventional. There is a brief cut to a room with different blue lights flashing, in which Missy Elliot is in the centre. These effects show that this is an expensive music video and that Missy Elliot is a big artist in the Hip Hop genre which is predominantly made up of male artists. This Post feminist would argue shows the amounts that female have come forward in recent years. Missy Elliot’s clothing is unconventional for a female artist for many reasons, first of all because it is not revealing and demeaning towards the female gender which is stereotypically seen in the Hip hop genre. This shows how Missy Elliot is not relying in her looks but talent.
There is then a cut to another shot which shows missy Elliot more clearly but from a side angle. We can see that Missy Elliot is wearing a mask making her appear bold and concealing half her face. This further reinforces the fact that she is not relying on her looks and trying to represent females in a different way, there is also a hint of humour in her costume which may amuse some. We then cut to a high angle shot where Missy Elliot begins rapping, the fact that she is rapping is unusual as there are not many female rappers who attract mainstream audiences. The high angle shot represents Missy Elliot differently to how she was represented previously in the music video, as in this shot she looks more vulnerable. The movements she is making with her hands are similar to that of male rappers, these hand movements are very unfeminine and portray Missy Elliot as a “tomboy”. We then see Missy Elliot walking in a male like manner which can again be compared to how male rappers walk in Hip Hop music videos. This may be her way of showing that female artists do not have to be constricted in how they behave in music videos.
We next cut to a shot of her in a sports car travelling at high speeds, fast cars are normally associated with males so this prop may be used to show that Missy Elliot’s is a bit masculine like. Also the fact that she is driving at high speeds in car may give the impression that she is daring and adventurous as an artist. There is then a cut to Missy Elliot and background dancers who are all female, the dancers are wearing provocative clothing except for Missy Elliot who is not revealing her body. Missy Elliot is dancing in the same way as the others possibly to show that you not have to reveal your body when dancing in a Hip Hop video. This represents Missy Elliot in a positive way which is not very common for a female in Hip Hop music videos. Missy Elliot also uses make up in her video to make herself look less attractive, possibly to show she does not care as much about her looks as other female artist. She is not trying to attract male audiences with her looks but her talent, which most would say is a good message to pass to younger audiences.
The next scene shows Missy Elliot emerging from water with her back up dancers on large “M” platform. This was done with special effects and makes the music video look fancier; it also shows how expensive the music video is. The heavy costs of the music video signify how big Missy Elliot is in the Hip Hop and music industry, it can therefore be said that she is a role model to many females. In the water dancing scene, there is a birds eyeview shot of Missy Elliot and the back up dancers on the “M” sign. The large “M” may signify Missy Elliots fame and success as a female rapper, throughout the video and in this scene dark lighting is used this connotes darkness and sadness of Missy Elliot whilist making this song, this sadness is probably caused by her critics. Although Missy Elliot is not as slim and fit as the other dancers in this scene she still dances and keeps up with them, showing that you do not have to look a certain way to dance in a Hip Hop video. The video ends with a close up of Missy Elliot sticking her tongue out and trying to reinforce that this video is not her being serious but creative.
Overall, i would say that this video portrays Missy Elliot in a positive way through the messages she is trying to send to the mainstream audiences. It may also be pleasing to some fans of Hip Hop music that a female artist is trying to be different and add another dimension to the Hip Hop genre which is very conventional. It is also interesting to see that there are no males in this video, which may have been done to self empower Missy Elliot and the female gender. There is positive representations of the female gender in this music video except for in one scene which feminist would argue the female back up dancers are revealing too much of their body. The music video subverts and does not rely on stereotypes, for example Missy Elliots walking, clothing and props (e.g. fast car).

Friday, 6 August 2010

pussy cat dolls- buttons

Pussycat dolls-buttons
This is a performance based music video, which begins with a mid shot of the famous hip hop artist Snoop Dog. He is wearing clothing which is stereotypical associated with the hip hop genre, for example he is wearing a hoody and baseball cap. Artist which are from the Hip Hop genre are represented as tough and powerful people. Therefore it can be said that the male gender in this video are being represented as the more powerful and dominant. We the cut to a long shot of snoop Dog, which is shot from a low angle making Snoop Dog appear much bigger and look more powerful. Next there is a cut to a shot from which the camera is positioned near to Snoop Dogs Hip, in this shot it appears as though the female singer is only up to Snoop Dogs waist in height. This makes the female singer apart of the girl group seem inferior to the male.
The editing technique shot reverse shot is being used to position us from behind the female singer looking at snoop Dog. The camera is once again positioned from a low angle making Snoop Dog seem much bigger than the female singer, which may connote he is more dominant than her. Also the fact that she has followed his instruction in the lyrics, “Come holla at me”, shows his dominance over her. The female singer is wearing a hoody which may signify she has an interest in rappers; also her clothing is revealing showing that she is trying to also use her looks to attract audiences to the music video.
Next, there is a cut to a long shot from a low angle of the entire girl group performing. The girl shown at the beginning is at the front suggesting she is the lead singer. Here through the lyrics we see that the female characters are challenging the male stereotype through the lyrics,” you keep fronting” and “I aint seen nothing”. Along with the following members of the group the lead singer is represented as a strong woman. This is different to how she was represented at the start, so it mayt be suggested that she feels more powerful with her fellow group members. Post feminist would say that the girl group is the more dominant in this video and that they are exercising their sexuality without being forced by anyone.
In the next scene we see the group walking into a circular structure. Here we see the group performing and acting promiscuously, Feminist would say that they are doing this in order to attract male audiences by acting as sexual objects, they would also think that this is a negative representation of the female gender. The pussycat dolls then begin to dance on a pole structure, this prop may connote that they are promiscuous girl group along with their provocative clothing. This is because a pole is commonly associated with sexual behaviour, it also is being used to show off their talents as some of the girls show there extreme flexibility.
We then see the lead singer go off by herself to a area which has many gold chains dangling. This may show that the female is glamorous and classy. She is positioned in the frame to show her importance and that she is the centre of attention. The fact that she is playing with the chains may show that she enjoys having fun and amusing herself. Through the lyrics she is still challenging the male gender saying “I wonder if I am just too much for you”. Here she is saying that the male she is talking about is not up to her standards. This shows her strength and confidence, representing the female gender positively.
Next we cut to a close up of snoop Dog, wearing sunglasses, a chain and other jewellery props associated with the Hip Hop genre. Here he is now shown from a straight angle, which may suggest that the male and female genders are being represented as equally powerful. The music then changes slightly making it sound like music associated with belly dancing, which is a style of dancing mostly performed by woman for men. This also once again shows off the talents of the group as they are able to show there dancing skills. So it can be said that this dancing scene maybe interpreted in many ways. Feminist would say the girl group are degrading themselves, whereas post feminist would argue they are showing off their talents. We also see special effects showing smoke come of the girls this may connote that they are very “hot” and attractive. There is also a blaze of fire which may further reinforce that the girl group is “hot”. The music video ends with the girls walking away in a confident and powerful manner, making them seem like strong women.
Overall, the “buttons” music video is a video which can be interpreted in many ways. I would say that the females are being represented as powerful and strong woman, as throughout the video they are challenging the stereotype that males are more superior. Some may also say that the video does degrade the female gender because of the provocative clothing and sexual behaviour of the girl group. The male singer in the video it can be said is representged very stereotypically through his Hip Hop clothing and behaviour.