36 J. Broad. & Elec. Media 209 (1992)
An Investigation of Sex-Role Stereotyping in Music Videos

handle is hein.journals/jbem36 and id is 219 raw text is: F__.
An Investigation of Sex-Role
Stereotyping in Music Videos
Steven A. Seidman
This study investigated sex-role stereotyping of occupational roles and the behaviors of
music-video characters in a random sample of 182 MTV music videos. It was found
that both male and female characters were shown in sex-typed occupations. Male
characters were more adventuresome, domineering, aggressive, violent, and victim-
ized than female characters, while females were more affectionate, dependent,
nurturing, and fearful than males. It was also found that a large percentage of female
characters wore revealing clothing and that they initiated and received sexual ad-
vances more often than males.
MTV (Music Television) has been described as a 24-hour flow of advertise-
ments - for clothes, soft drinks, songs, and the channel itself (Kaplan, 1987).
Music videos not only appear to reflect society and its norms, but may also help
socialize young people by communicating ideas about proper behavior and the
selection of career paths, as well as influencing males and females to develop
distinct personality characteristics (see Bennett & Ferrell, 1987). This study
investigates the sex-role stereotyping of occupations as well as the affective
behaviors and manifestations of male and female characters shown on MTV.
Begun in 1981, MTV quickly spread to over 1 7 million U.S. homes in two years
and to 28 million by early 1986 (Cocks 1983; Kaplan, 1987). However, MTV's
expansion began to slow and its Nielsen ratings declined dramatically, which
may have caused executives at Viacom (which had just purchased MTV) to alter
the channel's format to include less album-oriented rock music (Denisoff,
1988). Even MTV Chairman Tom Freston admitted that the audience was bored
... with clips that featured heavy-metal music, smoke-filled sets and pretty girls
in revealing lingerie - but not much imagination (Polskin, 1991, p. 7).
Freston and his associates turned, in part, to rap music to reinvigorate their
music-video channel, with lyrics reemerging as important in rock music (DeCur-
tis, 1990). This study takes a look at the content of MTV just before the change.
Steven A Seidman (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1982) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Corporate
Communication Department at Ithaca College. His research interests include sex-role stereotyping and
the use of music and visuals in the communications media. The author would like to thank Amy Brayford,
Lawrence Jones, Susan Mason, Susan Osinchak, John Payne, and Jocelyn Steinke for their assistance in
conducting and completing this project. This manuscript was accepted for publication January 1992.
0 1992 Broadcast Education Association

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