Report: Sexism & Racism Endemic in Music Videos

Calvin Harris, DJ Snake, Basement Jaxx and Robin Thicke criticised by women’s groups citing evidence that music videos feed sexism and racism; call for age ratings

Robin Thicke music video screen grabAs songs with highly sexualised and racialized music videos including Calvin Harris’ ‘Summer’ and Basement Jaxx’ ‘Never Say Never’ fill the Summer charts, a new briefing on the sexist and racist content of many music videos is published today (8 August) by women’s organisations (1) who are challenging such portrayals of women.

The briefing paper, ‘Pornographic Performances’ (2), reviews available academic research on sexism and racism in music videos and finds the portrayal of women as sex objects, and especially black women as hyper-sexualised ‘endlessly sexually available’ objects, to be endemic in music videos.

It also sites evidence that those who view such videos have been found to have an associated tolerance of racist, sexist and even rape tolerant attitudes.

Pornographic Performances was commissioned by the EVAW Coalition, Imkaan and Object and is being sent to music industry leaders, media regulators and politicians with recommendations for change. Government and regulators are asked to consider urgently the ‘stick’ of introducing compulsory age ratings for music videos, while music industry leaders are asked to take the ‘carrot’ of reviewing the evidence as presented, listening to young women’s views on the content of many music videos, and changing what they choose to commission and portray accordingly.

Read more and download the full briefing here:

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