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

Friday, 21 October 2016

GENDER Tove Lo and Lady Wood

NB: the artist under discussion often swears in her lyrics and interviews, both of which address her sexual identity in a frank manner.
Lo might be a new low for some, her very in your face lyrics and gyrating in her videos leaving little room for interpretation, but she isn't doing anything new - nor is much of the censorious or dismissive critical reaction, and its grounding in gender politics, new.
Pop writing often ignores great female blues and jazz singers who addressed their sexuality lyrically, and each latest controversy somehow forgets Donna Summers, Madonna, even Alannis Morrisette (whose Jagged Little Pills brought some challenging topics to a huge mainstream audience).
Lo is right to be exasperated at the double standards over male performers, and the issue of agency is central here.
Is her sexualised image and performance a reflection of a patriarchal society and a misogynistic music industry (a traditional feminist stance), and Lo therefore an exploited victim, OR is she an assertive, self-assured woman in control of her image and art freely choosing to explore sexuality (a more typically post-feminist position)?
Perhaps there is some truth in BOTH positions? Lo is asserting female artists' freedom to discourse in a manner seen as male territory and unbecoming for women, thus challenging normative, hegemonic gender identity.
BUT ... she is doing this using visual tropes long linked to the male gaze, and which surely are appealing to a heterosexual male audience as much as generating any identification with or aspiration from (uses and gratifications theory) a female audience?
This is seemingly an endless debate. Going back a decade were the Pussycat Dolls empowering role models or a cynical male manager and record label boss' means of putting a positive spin on an exploitative, sexualised image?

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