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Check That Body!

The Effects of Sexually


Objectifying Music Videos on College Mens
Sexual Beliefs

Laura Roa
Professor Baran
Media Effects
The purpose of this study was to show the ways in which men
are affected by music videos where women are highly objectified. The
theory was tested on male undergraduate students. The results of the
study showed that the participant who frequently viewed music videos
in which women are objectified would be more likely to accept negative
attitudes towards women. These include those such as sexual
harassment and interpersonal violence. There has been much debate
about the influence of media on the way people think about certain
topics. The article states that music videos place a great deal of
emphasis on womens sexual appeal and reinforce the stereotype of
women as sex objects, existing primarily for the please of male
spectators, The stereotype which the article talks about is not
something that surged in the recent years, it is something that has
been developing for quite some time. This has created a conflict
between what is portrayed in the media and what reality is. Now days,
music videos revolve around the idea that women are sexual objects
for men and their purpose is to provide pleasure to them as they
please. To this day, more than ever, the idea of women is constructed
around the pornographic imagination described above. This term
basically describes the idea of women as sex symbols in society.
Celebrities, mainly female music artists were more willing to objectify
themselves in music videos when compared to male artists. Music
videos are also popular among teenagers, this could also shape they
way they think about gender and sexuality. By the age of 15, the
amount of time an adolescent listens to music exceeds the amount of

time they spend watching TV or spending time with any other


medium. It is important to take this statistic into consideration since
adolescents are more likely to absorb the information that they are
exposed to on TV. If they constantly view images, which objectify
women, they are more prone to grow up accepting those ideas. Things
such as sexual exploitation, objectification and degradation of women
are commonly seen in music videos. What comes to mind are music
videos such has Dirrty by Christina Aguilera, which I personally
remember seeing on MTV when I was ten years old, and feeling
shocked my mother quickly changed the channel. The use of
provocative clothing and revealing a lot of skin. There was another
study discussed the specific music genres in which the objectification
of women predominated. Findings showed that such genres included
popular genres like hip hop, pop and country music. This same study
revealed that 91.6% of those objectifying music videos included at
least one of the following indicators of sexual objectification of women.
The list of indicators includes, but is not limited to, close-up shots of
individual body parts, self touching of sexual body parts, ample skin
exposure, or sexualized dancing.
In order to understand the link between sexual objectification
and aggression related attitudes specifically in college men, the study
used the media priming effect. This states, When people hear, see, or
read media stimuli, ideas sharing similar meanings are activated for a
short time afterward and are used to process subsequent stimuli. The
study presents the idea that the priming effect indirectly activates
stereotypes. According to this principle, an adolescent will be more
likely to build up sexually objectifying thoughts towards women after
all of his exposure to music videos as he grows up. The idea of women
as sexual objects creates a false expectation of women in the eyes of
men. Researchers tested teenagers and undergraduate students and
came to the conclusion that those exposed to music videos featuring

sexual content would be more likely to be more stereotypical when it


came to attitudes about sex.
The variable being testes was college males for the following
three main reasons; the fact that the effects of sexual music videos
tend to have a higher response among the male audience, men are
more likely to initiate the types of sexual aggression that are being
investigated in this study. Lastly, the study examined a large
midwestern university because of the environment it creates with a
strong party culture, a fraternity system and high encouragement in
the athletic program. This environment creates aggression-supportive
attitudes.

The

findings

of

this

research

could

also

support

professionals looking to prevent sexual violence on college campuses.


There were a total of five hypotheses in this study,
H1. Men exposed to music videos high in sexual objectification
will report more adversarial sexual beliefs than men exposed to music
videos low in sexual objectification.
H2. Men exposed to music videos high in sexual objectification
will report more acceptance of interpersonal violence than men
exposed to music videos low in sexual objectification.
H3. Men exposed to music videos high in sexual objectification
will report more acceptances of rape myths than men exposed to
music videos low in sexual objectification.
H4. Men exposed to music videos high in sexual objectification
will report more disagreement with the idea that sexual harassment is
a legitimate concern of women than men exposed to music videos that
are low in sexual objectification.
H5. Mens agreement with adversarial sexual beliefs will mediate
the relationship between exposure to sexually objectifying music
videos and their attitudes about (a) interpersonal violence, (b) rape
myths, and (c) sexual harassment.

The study consisted of 85 undergraduate males from a large,


public Midwestern university. Age ranged from 18-28, 88.2% were
Caucasian,

3.5%

African

American,

3.5%

Asian

and

3.5%

Hispanic/Latino. Before the actual study was done, a pre-test was


necessary to select the sexually objectifying music video that would be
shown to those who would take part in the study. This pre-test
consisted in showing 7 different music videos to 19 participants who
would rank the video on three criteria: (1) sexual objectification, (2) the
physical attractiveness of the artist, and (3) their liking of the video.
Once this was done, the videos to be shown would be those with the
highest rating in terms of sexual objectification. Participants were
recruited form intro to communication courses; participants would be
assigned randomly. The

group reported to a research lab and were

assigned to a computer were they would be watching music videos.


Participants were then asked to fill out a paper questionnaire with
questions such as, How well does the lighting enhance the movement
of the artist during the video? Participants were then asked to fill out
an online survey, which ranged in topics such as, opinions about racial
and ethnic minorities, opinions about gender roles, and opinions about
sexual orientation. The three music videos that were rated the highest
on sexual objectification were Beyoncs Upgrade, Fergies Fergalicious
and Hilary Duffs Stranger.
Results show that exposure to sexually objectifying music videos
primed college males sexual beliefs, acceptance of interpersonal
violence and added some sort of disbelief in the concept of sexual
harassment.

Aubrey, J. S., Hopper, K. M., & Mbure, W. G. (2011). Check That Body!
The Effects of Sexually Objectifying Music Videos on College Men's
Sexual Beliefs. Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 55(3), 360379. doi:10.1080/08838151.2011.597469