Naughty girls and red blooded women: Representations of female heterosexuality in music video

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/96598
Title:
Naughty girls and red blooded women: Representations of female heterosexuality in music video
Authors:
Railton, D. (Diane); Watson, P. (Paul)
Affiliation:
University of Teesside
Citation:
Railton, D. and Watson, P. (2005) 'Naughty girls and red blooded women: Representations of female heterosexuality in music video', Feminist Media Studies, 5 (1), pp.51-63.
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Journal:
Feminist Media Studies
Issue Date:
2005
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/96598
DOI:
10.1080/14680770500058207
Abstract:
There is a moment during the video for Christina Aguilera’s “Can’t Hold Us Down” in which she appears alongside rapper Lil’ Kim. The scene is notable for a number of reasons which foreground a range of issues concerning the representation of gender and race, and their relationship to sexual behaviour. Situated within a clearly codified black urban space, the women are depicted taunting a group of predominantly black men alongside, and on behalf of, a group of predominantly black women. Their behaviour is both assertive and overtly sexual, and the video links both of these to a narrative of collective female action. The lyrics of the song they perform deal explicitly with the gender politics of heterosexual behaviour. For instance, Aguilera comments on the “common double standard of society” whereby “the guy gets all the glory the more he can score/while the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore,” a sentiment immediately reinforced by Kim who questions the hypocrisy which sees men able to “give her some head or sex her raw/but if the girl do the same then she’s a whore” (Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim 2002). However, it is not simply that Aguilera and Kim articulate lyrics which can be read as overtly feminist that makes the scene interesting, nor even the obvious display of “sisterly” solidarity. Rather, the interest lies in the complex and contradictory ways in which raced identity is represented both lyrically and visually. For on the one hand the lyrics refer to a universal female experience (the consistent appeal to “all my girls around the world”), while on the other hand blackness and whiteness are clearly inscribed on and through the bodies of Aguilera and Kim. Indeed, it is the precise nature of that inscription, a process in which Aguilera simultaneously performs blackness and whiteness while Kim is seen to embody “essential blackness,” that not only problematises any straightforward “message” of the video, but more generally serves to highlight the very limited range of ways in which female heterosexuality continues to be represented in popular culture and the way these representations are inevitably raced.
Type:
Article
Language:
en
Keywords:
female; heterosexuality; representations; music video; Aguilera, Christina; gender; race; sexual behaviour
ISSN:
1468-0777; 1471-5902
Rights:
Subject to restrictions, author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). For full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/ [Accessed 14/04/2010]
Citation Count:
1 [Scopus, 14/04/2010]

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorRailton, D. (Diane)en
dc.contributor.authorWatson, P. (Paul)en
dc.date.accessioned2010-04-15T12:42:18Z-
dc.date.available2010-04-15T12:42:18Z-
dc.date.issued2005-
dc.identifier.citationFeminist Media Studies; 5 (1): 51-63en
dc.identifier.issn1468-0777-
dc.identifier.issn1471-5902-
dc.identifier.doi10.1080/14680770500058207-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10149/96598-
dc.description.abstractThere is a moment during the video for Christina Aguilera’s “Can’t Hold Us Down” in which she appears alongside rapper Lil’ Kim. The scene is notable for a number of reasons which foreground a range of issues concerning the representation of gender and race, and their relationship to sexual behaviour. Situated within a clearly codified black urban space, the women are depicted taunting a group of predominantly black men alongside, and on behalf of, a group of predominantly black women. Their behaviour is both assertive and overtly sexual, and the video links both of these to a narrative of collective female action. The lyrics of the song they perform deal explicitly with the gender politics of heterosexual behaviour. For instance, Aguilera comments on the “common double standard of society” whereby “the guy gets all the glory the more he can score/while the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore,” a sentiment immediately reinforced by Kim who questions the hypocrisy which sees men able to “give her some head or sex her raw/but if the girl do the same then she’s a whore” (Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim 2002). However, it is not simply that Aguilera and Kim articulate lyrics which can be read as overtly feminist that makes the scene interesting, nor even the obvious display of “sisterly” solidarity. Rather, the interest lies in the complex and contradictory ways in which raced identity is represented both lyrically and visually. For on the one hand the lyrics refer to a universal female experience (the consistent appeal to “all my girls around the world”), while on the other hand blackness and whiteness are clearly inscribed on and through the bodies of Aguilera and Kim. Indeed, it is the precise nature of that inscription, a process in which Aguilera simultaneously performs blackness and whiteness while Kim is seen to embody “essential blackness,” that not only problematises any straightforward “message” of the video, but more generally serves to highlight the very limited range of ways in which female heterosexuality continues to be represented in popular culture and the way these representations are inevitably raced.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherTaylor & Francisen
dc.rightsSubject to restrictions, author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). For full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/ [Accessed 14/04/2010]en
dc.subjectfemaleen
dc.subjectheterosexualityen
dc.subjectrepresentationsen
dc.subjectmusic videoen
dc.subjectAguilera, Christinaen
dc.subjectgenderen
dc.subjectraceen
dc.subjectsexual behaviouren
dc.titleNaughty girls and red blooded women: Representations of female heterosexuality in music videoen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Teessideen
dc.identifier.journalFeminist Media Studiesen
ref.citationcount1 [Scopus, 14/04/2010]en
or.citation.harvardRailton, D. and Watson, P. (2005) 'Naughty girls and red blooded women: Representations of female heterosexuality in music video', Feminist Media Studies, 5 (1), pp.51-63.-
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