Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Dance, sexism and (postmodern) irony

Two examples here of dance vids (the sub-genre 'house' might be more accurate). On the surface, both are 'blokey' and crudely sexist, framed blatantly around the male gaze.
That seems problematic for the type of music though; intended to be experienced in a club setting as well as on home/personal hi-fi/music player, alienating half an audience would seem boneheaded commercial suicide.
The Danzel vid could be argued to fall between two stools: centred around conventionally galmorous young women BUT with a rather camp chap presenting it all (a judgement well reflected in the comments the vid has attrated on YouTube).
The Alex Gaudino feat. Shena is again a feast of eye candy ... BUT serves this up whilst lampooning the couch potato gamer gents, the very (stereo)type such material conventionally targets. These two are rendered as moronic Beavis and Butthead (returning to our screens after 14 years) facsimiles.
The issue of control is also more subtle, or polysemic, than at first glance. To what extent are our pair of buffoons really in control? Clearly the video employs some of the media language of pornography, but the players are notably skilled, aggressive and competitive; countertypical of the representation we might expect. The referee, far from an alpha male reinforcing any reading of this text as misogynistic or patriarchal, is again made to look foolish, and is a familiar comedy trope (seen often through the career of Bert Kwouk, not least with C4's late-night show Banzai - see the clip below). The whole precept of female players as lads mag 'babes' rather than sportspeople is a further satire of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's notorious suggestion that the women's game should learn from beach volleyball and play in tight hotpants to increase audience interest!
So, are these music videos slices of postmodern irony and satire - with the conventional gaze rendered ridiculous - or just blatant old school sexism with a postmodern fig leaf?
Its notable that there are a good number of 'dislikes' along with the 'likes' on the YouTube pages.

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