Skip to content

Dominant vs Oppositional Gaze

October 9, 2012

The First music video I selected is Shakira’s “Hips don’t lie” music video. This video is in the dominant gaze and I feel it’s targeted to attract both men and women. They are trying to target men through Shakira’s clothing and dance moves (showing her as “sexy and attractive”), and women because they want to carry that image: a good body, attractive, and tons of guys following them around like Shakira has in the video. The video features Shakira in a couple different outfits, all of which are tight fitting and some that are fairly revealing. In the entirety of this music video she is doing provocative dance moves, a lot of which includes her thrusting her hips and chest. She is the center of attention, wearing brightly colored outfits, while the men in the video are wearing darker colored ones, showing that she is what’s most important and what matters most. During parts of the video she is in an arena type setting with a huge crowd surrounding her while she dances. Even the lyrics play a part in supporting the dominant gaze, where the men are telling shakira that they didn’t notice her until she started dancing and that she should keep moving her hips, because when she does, nobody will ignore her. The combination of the all the aspects I discussed about the video plus the lyrics sends the message that women should be dressing in certain ways, and act in certain ways (In this case dancing provocatively) in order to impress the men in society (Bell Hooks).


The second video I chose is probably one that isn’t an obvious choice, and might be a little of a stretch, but I feel its far enough from the traditional male gaze for it to count as oppositional. The video I chose is “You belong with me” by Taylor Swift. The main target audience of this music video is young girls, but I think young men would like this video as well because most young men find Taylor Swift attractive. Now, this video is about a girl (Taylor) who is “Geeky”. In the video she has a crush on her neighbor, but he is going out with another girl, who does things and dresses in a way that is usually considered more traditionally attractive to men. In the video, every scene is a different comparison between Taylor and the other (Traditional) girl: It features Taylor wearing T-shirts vs short skirts, taking the bus vs having a hot car, and being a “band geek” vs a sexy cheerleader. Neither of those three attributes are supposed to attract a man, especially the star football player. The final scene is prom, where Talyor shows up in a beautiful long dress, which goes to the floor, and the other girl shows up in a skimpy red dress… and the man, ended up picking Taylor. This video sends the message that women don’t have to dress skimpy, and be the “cheerleader” type to be attractive in the eyes of a man, and that you’re your personality and just being yourself can be attractive. This is something that is the opposite of most mainstream media and music videos, which imply the opposite.


It was actually very easy for me to find a music video for the Dominant gaze; the hardest part was actually deciding which one to use, as there were so many to choose from! But the oppositional gaze video took a lot of thinking and searching, and I actually didn’t find that many. It shows that if something isn’t dominant, it gets pushed to the side. It seems no one, even mass media, wants to be oppositional, because they are now run as corporations, and they do not want to risk loosing profits if their view isn’t “popular”. 




From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: