Representation in Music Videos: A Basic Overview

What is representation?

Broadly, representation is the way of constructing ‘reality’. I say that in inverted commas as we know how far from true media’s reality is. Through representation and the reshaping of reality, the media can feed people more of what they want/like; and one thing we as humans like is consistency. This continuity comes from specific combinations of signs and symbols that we easily recognise – stereotypes. Like any other media text form, music videos very much conform to such convention.



Without a doubt, gender is one of the greatest dramatised representations within music videos. Females are subject to major hypersexualisation, especially through provocative choreography and costumes, with few exceptions. Similarly, men are represented with great masculinity, especially hegemonic.



The representation of age varies greatly in music videos, depending on the identity of the act. Youths are majorly shown stereotypical as being rebellious, ‘messing about’ and often drinking, yet can also be portrayed as innocent. Middle aged individuals are often seen in a (usually office) job in which they despise, with a family, or rich, living a luxurious life. The elderly stereotypically are dull, slow and uninteresting, with the exceptions of the rich who still live a life of parties.




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