MTV's Portrayal of Women Essay

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MTV's Portrayal of Women

I see the rattle and the hum of music television. Flash upon flash of sensory information lights the screen with sound bites, flashbulbs, sex and rock and roll. I am watching MTV in the semi-darkness of a friend's living room and it is easy for me to understand the attraction of this style of television. MTV is pure energy. It has vitality, powerful images, larger-than-life heroes, and the edginess that the best pop music always has. I find MTV strangely hypnotic. I could sit, entranced by the flickering images and incessant beats, for hours.

Yet, as I watched, I noticed that much of the imagery being thrown at me seemed more boring than vital, due to the sexuality it portrayed. One rapper after
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Music has been a way for those who felt disenfranchised and disillusioned to offend, break away from their parents and be very, very cool. From Elvis' hip-wiggle to the pot-smoking Beatles, from Kurt Cobain's hoarse screams to Rage Against the Machine's "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" -- youth have been able to claim something that is their own and not their parents'. The influence of music on young people is as strong as it ever was, and since MTV is offered as part of a basic cable package, its influence is hard to ignore in our televised culture. Around the world, 70 million households have access to MTV and the channel prides itself on being the most popular station amongst the 12 – 24 year old demographic (Hay sc.8). MTV's chairman of the board emphasized the extent of MTV's influence over adolescents, "At MTV we don't just shoot for the fourteen year olds-- we own them" (Duff sc.6). And if that doesn't sound a tad frightening, listen to this: "Hey moms, it's too late! Your kid's had his head in that Walkman for a long time now. You have no idea how deep we're in your house. We're sitting right there at your dinner table and you don't even know it." That was Ice-T, a renowned rap-artist, verbalizing what may be many parent's worst nightmare (Duff sc.6).

Clearly MTV's sticky fingers are stuck deeply into the pie of youth culture and while many parents and

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