Violent Masculinity and the Sexual Objectification of Women

Gina Pol

Growing up in a time where the action that takes place in movies, games, and music videos are seen on a daily basis, the implications behind these forms of entertainment are often overlooked. It was interesting to watch how both Dreamworlds 3 and Tough Guise 2 were able to shed light on what we often consider to be norms.

The documentary Dreamworlds 3 provided numerous examples of the highly sexualize and objectification role women typically play in music videos. Women were seen as a sexual fantasy; the way women were portrayed in these videos was what men desired. As I was watching the video, it was disturbing and upsetting to see that these women were being represented as objects in the music videos. They were not being shown as human with feelings and emotions, but simply as an object to be looked upon. In most of the music videos, they were usually background dancers who were seeking attention through the use of their body. The purpose of having women in the videos were not to express their musical abilities or dancing talents, but to reveal parts of their body. Even the camera angle in which the videos were being shot at was in the direction of the female’s body. Through the midst of these music videos, all you see are vivid images of bodies with no voices and no longer humans.

The music industry attempts to make it very clear what they want the audience to recognize about the male and female culture. That is, males are the one in control and women are the one that are being controlled. Even famous female artists are sometimes pressured into fitting those criteria. Women in these videos were spanked, slapped, had water and meat being thrown at them, held down, and many other forms of controlling behaviors put upon them by men. In these music videos, women were enjoying the position they were being put in, which is not true at all for other women. It was extremely shocking to see the way women were treated during the Puerto Rican Day Parade, especially since the year 2000 was not too long ago. In the footage, men felt they were entitled to touching women in any way they want. Even when females were angrily walking away, some males continued to touch them unwillingly. Popular culture places certain assumptions into the minds of the audience that make them view society similar to the way it is being depicted in the videos. These music videos lead to such false assumptions that men feel they have the right to sexually objectify women, but that is NOT the reality at all.

Similarly, Tough Guise 2 goes onto discuss how society teaches us about the male culture through violence in movies, games, and other forms of media. Through the countless crimes that have been committed by men, it was often explained as a result of mental illness or men’s violence as natural/biological rather than their inability to control their anger. The documentary references to a box that boys are often pressured to fit into as they get older. They cannot show emotion, they have to be strong, and have a tough guise to prevent themselves from being called derogatory terms such as “fags” or “pussies.” These names were given to men who portrayed any form of feminine quality. The ignorance that exists in the “gay men are feminine” ideology is sickening. Being gay is defined as someone who is sexually attracted to the same sex NOT someone who has feminine traits. Yet men who demonstrate feminine qualities are being called terms that are usually used against homosexual men.

It is especially upsetting to see those who commit violent acts do it in a way to reassert traditional manhood. The most disturbing crimes that were shown in the documentary were the two football players who raped a drunk woman and males who were beating up defenseless homeless people. It was unbearable to watch how men were bonding through joking about a woman who got raped. The ways that some men must present themselves in order to be considered manly does not justify any of the violence that has been committed. While men are struggling to find what true strength is, actual strength is their willingness not to conform to these masculine ideologies. 

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