Research Nugget #5

Does Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students?

APA Citation:

Kistler, M. E., & Lee, M. J. (2010). Does Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students?. Mass Communication & Society, 13(1), 67-86. doi:10.1080/15205430902865336

You can find the article here.

“In this article they did a study using college students and they had them watch 5 music videos with varying degree of sexual content. Both women and men were in the test groups. The final outcomes were that men who were in the high sexualized video category agreed with the objectification of women, gender stereotypes, and acceptance of rape. The main videos that were shown were hip-hop videos, and that is due to the alarming amounts of sexualizing women in them. With a large amount of today’s youth listening to hip-hop music, they are going to be very influenced by what the artists are saying in their songs. With the points of interest they were studying being the objectification of women, gender stereotypes, and acceptance of rape, the most outrageous findings were how the males viewed rape after watching the highly sexual videos. Music videos are changing teenager’s and young adult’s thoughts on how women should be treated.

“Experimental evidence specifically addressing effects of music video is scarce, although the studies that do exist focus specifically on sexual aggression, rape myth acceptance, and gender stereotypes. Barongan and Nagayama Hall (1995) conducted an experiment whereby male participants were exposed to either misogynous rap music or neutral rap music, and then exposed to a sexually violent, an assaultive, and a neutral film vignette. Thirty percent of the men in the misogynous rap condition chose to show the sexually violent vignette to a female confederate, as compared to only 7% in the neutral condition, suggesting that exposure to misogynous rap facilitates sexually aggressive cognition and behavior. It seems reasonable, then, to conjecture that sexually themed music videos might have similar effects regarding sexual aggression. Kalof (1999) examined this very phenomenon and found that female undergraduates exposed to a sexually stereotyped music video indicated greater acceptance of interpersonal violence (i.e., violence within relationships) than those exposed to a neutral music video. She also found that both male and female participants in the sexually stereotyped condition indicated more adversarial sexual beliefs (e.g., the belief that sexual relationships are manipulative), gender role stereotyping, acceptance of interpersonal violence, and acceptance of rape myths than those in the neutral condition. Only one music video was used in each of the two conditions in this study; therefore it is difficult to decipher what exactly was manipulated as well as the success of the manipulation. In addition, the two music videos used were of different genres and neither video was of the hip-hop genre. “

Like most of my other articles about music videos, they are testing basically the same three things: gender stereotypes, rape myths, and sexual aggression. It has been shown that men that watch very sexual music videos tend to have a greater opinion of those three topics. What they watch definitely influences their thinking a lot, while the men in the neutral category had lower opinions. After females watch the sexualized videos they had a tendency to have a greater tolerance of interpersonal violence, which explains a lot about today’s young female population. If the male or female participant had watched the video with more sexual content, they pretty much had greater acceptance of gender stenotypes, interpersonal violence, and rape myths. The fact that women have a tendency to objectify their own gender just because they see other people doing it is ridiculous.

“The findings in this study can be interpreted within a theoretical framework, particularly social cognitive theory and parasocial interaction. Long-term exposure to such videos by fans of hip-hop music could provide vicarious models to emulate and serve to reinforce traditional gender attitudes and distorted sexual norms. On the other hand, those who find the depictions distasteful or unattractive can also utilize the information for 82 KISTLER AND LEE how not to think or behave. The fact that the hip-hop fandom was shown to be a significant predictor of objectification of women seems to support this concern. It could also be that individuals who already have such a belief are more likely to seek out media that reinforces that belief. Either way, the reciprocal pattern of this phenomenon may promote distorted sexual norms and its consequences.”

You are more likely to watch and read media that agrees with your beliefs. If you believe in typical gender stereotypes you will watch videos containing those same gender roles. The hip-hop genre keeps gaining popularity due to the fact that people who agree with what they are saying about women, will continue to listen and watch their music videos. The more people who watch the more popularity they will gain, and because of their growing acceptance they will think it is okay to continue with what they are doing. It is a long chain of events that perpetuates the objectification of women.

3 thoughts on “Research Nugget #5”

  1. Very very interesting topic and post, for one it triggered a few things for me because there were a lot of points that you made that were true but at the same time there were a lot of points that I felt could be looked at deeper. When I listen to music, hip-hop or rap lyrics, I have the ability to take the good from the bad, being able to separate tolerance and intolerance, the real world from a more dream world and I think that its what many youth are missing, the ability to filter out some things. When I hear Drake say the “b” word, it is demeaning and degrading, but at the same time a lot of there lyrics go a lot deeper. I personally, never feel offended when I hear lyrics such as that because what it does for me is empowers me to do bigger and better things but when I also listen to music, I listen to the rhythm, beat, and tone. I think that it is a scary world that we live in where lyrics are starting to become acceptable but I also feel that it is wrong to say that it is only hip-hop doing so. What I also think is interesting is what individuals are taking as literal.

  2. I don’t find it very surprising that Hip-Hop/rap is aligned with Objectification, i mean its basically the premise of most of it, That or weed, All the weed. But yea, i generally like to think people have the capacity to separate what they consume with how they act, on the reverse of that however people who are already in line with those themes are probably more attracted to it. Rap really isn’t the only thin that does that. Rock was notoriously bad about it for the longest time (remember Drugs, sex and rock’n’roll) Shit even stuff as mellow and Phil Collins usually has underlying sexual themes. I find usually metal doesn’t really fit into the objectification area, mostly because its to busy being about violence, war, fantasy, murder, and the occult to bother with sex.

  3. Findings: “She also found that both male and female participants in the sexually stereotyped condition indicated more adversarial sexual beliefs (e.g., the belief that sexual relationships are manipulative), gender role stereotyping, acceptance of interpersonal violence, and acceptance of rape myths than those in the neutral condition. Only one music video was used in each of the two conditions in this study; therefore it is difficult to decipher what exactly was manipulated as well as the success of the manipulation.” Clearly there are problems in the study — only one music video was used — and also they viewed videos in different genres.

    I think the findings show that both men and women are more TOLERANT of interpersonal violence after watching these videos. To blame women for this tolerance seems unfair — since men need to share in that blame — and since the videos (just one!) changed both genders’ acceptance levels of violent behaviors. The point is that the videos change viewers’ beliefs and tolerance levels for male aggressive behavior — and this finding seems important to helping you piece together an answer for your research question.
    Look at more studies like this one!

Leave a Reply to Sarah Burley Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *