Sexualization in Music Videos

Sexualization in Music Videos

It seems that music videos lately accumulate the top views through the sexualization of women and their bodies. This action has been repeated consistently and not questioned in society, thus resulting in this sexualization culture to be accepted. Oversexualization in music videos is problematic because it can and has negatively impacted the self-esteem of many women.

Many current mainstream music videos contain lots of salacious lyrics and sexualization of women. Women are portrayed with “close-ups pouting lips, wiggling bottoms, shimmying cleavages and bare, toned stomachs feature heavily too”, thus emphasizing a certain unrealistic look for many women to feel pressured to achieve in order to feel attractive (Dove 2018). Music videos contain sexualization because this is what captures an audience and creates the most revenue for the artist. Unfortunately, due to the focus on wealth, music videos fail to recognize how its imagery can negatively affect any viewer.

Social control of sexual behaviors is seen commonly in examples of the legal actions against certain sexual actions; however, this concept can be applied on hypersexualized music videos. The pressure that many artists feel to give a sexualized music video is evident, as we can see that almost every mainstream music video that has gone viral includes an excessive amount of sexualization.

For instance, based on a study done by the American Psychological Society, “girls who are exposed to sexualized content are more likely to endorse gender stereotypes and place attractiveness as central to a woman’s value” (Coulson 2014). Additionally, boys who are constantly exposed to sexualized content, such as music videos, create unrealistic expectations of women and have a higher chance of sexually harassing women (Coulson 2014).

A common counter to the sexualized music videos is that the portrayal of sexualized women is intended to empower women and feel liberated in expressing their sexuality; however, “the reality is that often these women and their actions are managed and directed by men” (Lodhi 2016). Another problematic issue with sexualized women in music videos is the double standard for women and men in these videos. Many male artists that partake in this culture tend to dress in casual or formal wear, while the women in the videos are wearing little to no clothes. This commonly used concept reinforces the “male sexual fantasy and portray a masculine-ordered beauty imperative [and] are so only as part of a bigger patriarchal superstructure” (Burbidge 2015).

Heterosexism is the notion that heterosexuality is the “normal” sexual orientation and assuming anybody and everybody is heterosexual. Many music videos are curated for straight men.

Women are so much more than just sexual bodies to be used to make money. Hypersexualized music videos “go on the stereotypes that women are hypersexual and are only around for the propose of receiving attention from males” (Pettis 2013). Society fails to question these problematical sexualized content and continues to celebrate these forms of music videos. Due to such a high acceptance in society, hypersexualization of women in popular music videos will continue to grow.

Paternalism, the idea of those who have power maintain their power and diminish the power of their subordinate, can be seen in music videos. The music industry and society celebrates and places higher value on videos with the most views. Coincidentally, the most views are obtained through the hypersexualization of women in music videos. 



Burbidge, Nick. 2015. “Reinforcing Sexism? Women in Music Videos.” SheRa. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

Coulson, Justin. 2014. “Sexualised Music Videos Only Teach Women How to Sell Out.” The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

Lodhi, Arwa. 2016. “Expressive or Exploited? Female Sexualisation in Pop.” Eluxe Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

McNamara, Megan. 2018. “Sexuality, Inequality, and Activism.”

McNamara, Megan. 2018. “Sex and Education.”

Minaj, Nicki. 2014. “Nicki Minaj – Anaconda.” YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

Pettis, Charlandrea. 2013. “The Sexualization of Women in Music Videos {Charlandrea Pettis}.” WordPress. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

Anon. 2007. “Sexualization of Girls Is Linked to Common Mental Health Problems in Girls and Women–Eating Disorders, Low Self-Esteem, and Depression; An APA Task Force Reports.” Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (

Tyga. 2018. “Tyga – Taste (Official Video) Ft. Offset.” YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (

Anon. n.d. “Women in Music Videos: Press Pause on Female Stereotypes.” Dove US. Retrieved June 10, 2018 (


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