Most Chinese pop music, in my eyes, is just some variation of the same theme- romance. The romantic and relatively ordinary kind of love draws you in and filled your heart with warmth. But there is no clear-cut reflection of the gender role. I’ve never thought about the relation between gender and music until now, racking my brain trying to collecting my thoughts about it.
The stereotypical type role that women assume in music is to dance and suggest sex interests towards men, showing their femininity to serve as prop to masculinity. Women, after all, are subjected to men in conventional senses. Sex appeal becomes routine, in other words, practically a requirement in almost every popular music video, especially in hip hop, rap and some rock music. I recently came across Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls”. The scene of women dancing for men takes up almost the entire time of the video. With ambiguous light on their thickly made-up faces, women in skimpy clothes perform seductive dance for the pleasure of the male audiences. Riding motorcycle, wearing leather and long hair, the men go around the strip club to have fun for the night. For them, women are just toys in lingerie and stockings to play with. As for lyrics, there is a dirty and raw feeling throughout the song. “I am such a good, good boy, I just need a new toy. I’ll tell ya what girl. Dance for me, I’ll keep you overemployed.” Women, in a word, are sexualized and obedient to men in the music. This type of music is tempting but lacking depth. Also, it may send some wrong information to the crowed, especially teenagers.
The other types of women, in contrast, are the highlight and the soul of the music. Women can express subtle and unique feelings in a way that men cannot. The tenderness, the delicacy, the sentimentality for instance. They bring the depth and emotion of music to an extent that can never be achieved solely by the muscular men. They deliver the music in a whole new different way, making it resonate with people, with their heart and soul. Moreover, as inspiration to the society, confident and determined female role serves as a catalyst for deepening the meaning of music itself as well as having a positive impact on society.
Lady Gaga’s music video is always intriguing. Many of her videos are in the form of microfilm and “Marry the Night” is one of my favorite. The constantly comparison between the poignant time when she is nobody and the glorious period she is experiencing now is a reflection of her determination and persistence. “I’m gonna make it.” “I’m gonna be a star.” “And you know why?” “Because I have nothing to lose.” These words move my heart and inspire me. Yes, there are nudity and scantily clad in the video. But for some reason, it just feels right. The naked body does not show a sign of sex. In fact, it perfectly depicts the vulnerability of her lowest moments. The video contains various emotions. Only people with rich and exquisite female emotional experience and wealth of life experience can express the heartbreaking, the despair, the bouncing back and the perseverance so thoroughly, making audiences feel connected. There is almost no masculinity presented in the music. I am, however, feeling a strong power coming from both the lyrics and video. It is a woman’s self-reliance and pride. It does not need men and is beyond the meaning of masculinity. The gender role women play in the music is inspiring and influential.
The music videos can influence various perceptions on the image of women. With the music industry progressing, we are expected to see more positive gender roles women play in the music.