Sexism and racism endemic in music videos, report finds

End Violence Against Women CoalitionAuthors of a new report, which claims sexism and racism are endemic in music videos, are calling on the government to consider compulsory age ratings for video content.

The report, entitled Pornographic Performances, has gathered academic research on sexism and racism in music videos and the wider industry, and found that women are routinely portrayed in a hyper-sexualised fashion.

It also found that black women are often exotised and portrayed as ‘wild and animalistic’, adding: ‘The music industry seems to find it profitable to promote both female and male black artists in a highly sexualised way, whatever their genre of music – racialised tropes are deemed marketable.’

Pornographic Performances was commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Imkaan and Object, and has been sent to music industry leaders, media regulators and politicians.

The three groups are calling on the government to counter the negative portrayal of women and people of colour in videos by introducing compulsory age ratings for all music videos and introducing sex and relationships education in schools to deal with issues around consent and equality.

They are also calling on the music industry to ‘listen to the views of young women, including especially young black women, and commit to eradicating sexism and racism from their work’.

Report author Dr Maddy Coy said: ‘This paper sets out what is known about music videos – that sexist and racist stereotypes are endemic – and that this can be related to harm in the real world.’

Lia Latchford of Imkaan’s Young Women’s Team said: ‘For years, young women have been telling us that they are not happy with the representation of women in popular culture, including music videos.

‘We are happy to finally see a briefing which reflects their experiences and the harmful impact of racism and sexism in music videos.

‘We believe in women’s right to self expression and freedom of movement. Our concern is how the music industry uses music videos as yet another vehicle to colonise and commodify black women’s bodies.

‘We urge the music industry to consider what young women and the evidence are telling them.’

To read the full paper, visit: http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/data/files/Pornographic_Performances_FINAL_Aug_2014.pdf

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