Displaying and freely disposing of women’s and men’s sexy bodies has become an integral part of music videos and one of the main features of the music industry, which tries to convey it in a variety of ways, from naked girls wearing bikinis to half-naked men showing off their sexy, muscular bodies. It’s true that music videos are most often male-dominated, with naked women’s bodies side-by-side as if they’re just an ornament to the music video, pulsating with passion, sexuality and eye-catching appeal, but we’re going to give you 10 music videos in which women are objectifying men, and are becoming the real masters of the situation.
Elle King – Ex‘s & Oh’s
The music video starts with a little intrigue – a woman drops off her ex in the middle of the desert and just drives on. In the next episode, the singer is in the desert surrounded by the hottest half-naked guys who are trying to do anything to get her attention, even if it requires more effort. The images are not without sexual metaphors – the food is shown, symbolising the woman’s desire to “eat” the men and all those troublesome relationships. The lyrics describe ex-boyfriends as ghosts who always appear and want to come back to haunt her, as the guy who gets out of the car at the end of the video eventually does. Throughout the music video, the woman is portrayed as dominant and in control, but the sexuality of the woman is not emphasised, on the contrary, the guys become the main symbol of sexuality, showing off their beautiful bodies and fulfilling all the woman’s whims, fighting for the attention of the only woman. However, this music video has been noticed and appreciated by critics, who say that we are used to seeing the objectification of women in modern music videos, and this role reversal shows that the opposite can be true.
Kelly Rowland (ft. Big Sean) – Lay It On Me
In this music video, sexual attraction is conveyed through bodily prowess, movements, touch, and the open display of athletic male bodies. It depicts feminine charm, which is displayed by a number of attractive dancing men who convey the perception of the woman as a kind of “goddess” (scene where the men hold the performer on their back / the man holds up the woman’s body with his own hands), which becomes the main expression of the musical text, reflecting the words of the text. The clip also conveys a close feminine relationship with the male sex, but maintains an aesthetic boundary in which the depiction of a woman’s movements and touches in relation to men is only an example of the attention to be sought.
Marina and The Diamonds – How To Be A Heartbreaker
Just hearing the title “How To Be A Heartbreaker”, it would be hard to imagine the video without a lot of charming guys and of course the main girl. The video for the song shows a girl in several different spaces, none of which she is real as a person when she is with guys. This is symbolised by the different coloured hair accessory, and the lyrics convey the idea that the girl is afraid of being hurt, so she chooses to be a heartbreaker herself as a defence. The first location of the music video is a very revealing one – a guys’ shower, where a bunch of guys stand under a running shower stream, showing off their athletic bodies. All the guys in the video draw attention with their very intriguing and sexy bodies. Here, roles are reversed and the girl becomes the heartbreaker, while the guys find it hard to resist the feminine charms.
Jennifer Lopez ft. French Montana – I Luh Ya Papi
The music video, filmed in Miami, Florida, reveals men’s shapely bodies. The video aims to show that it is not only women and women’s bodies in the music industry that can be shown as sexy, open and provocative, but that women also have the power to objectify men. This video has received positive critical acclaim and recognition because the perception in the music industry is that women should mostly show an open, sexy body, which is perceived as a necessary tool, but by trying to look the other way and showing the opposite sex in this kind of music video, it is clear that women also have the ability to control, and the talk of sexism in the music industry can be refuted by such a music video.
Charli XCX – Boys
The music video for the song “Boys” hit the charts in just one day. The clip shows a lot of completely different boys doing different but ordinary things (e.g. cycling, reading a book, brushing their teeth). As women are very often shown in different contexts, this video is an attempt to show and portray men as characters that are mostly fulfilled by women. The men are chosen from different parts of the world, with different favourite music genres, different hairstyles, figures and outfits. An attempt to convey a different view of the body in general, which is already established as necessarily sexy and attractive – especially the body that women have to portray in music videos – but this video is not afraid to show different bodies and a different perception of it.
Katy Perry – Wide Awake
Although this music video doesn’t feature naked bodies and sexy dancing, it shows the relationship between a woman and a man in a slightly different way. The video itself takes us back to the singer’s childhood, which is full of moments of hardship and experience. The scene in which the woman meets the prince on horseback, and when he approaches, she strikes him in the face and he “flies away”, seems a bit unexpected for the viewer, but it is a way of showing the strength of a woman’s personality, in this case with the chosen motive. We probably could not imagine a reversal of gender roles here. But it’s not so easy to resist every woman’s dream of a prince.
Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband
It is a music video that has been met with critical backlash and double reactions. Some are outraged because they feel that the video overly depicts stereotypical gender differences and takes us back to the 1950s, where this was strongly felt, which is not the case in modern music videos. It doesn’t shy away from showing scenes of a woman doing housework, and on dates showing men trying to please her and show her attention and impress her in all sorts of ways, but she rejects all the guys and doesn’t like any of them because of all sorts of little things that are not done right. The dominant image of the woman is shown, she “chooses” the guys, she becomes the mistress of the date.
Fifth Harmony – Work from Home
The music video features five charming girls in an unusual construction environment, surrounded by muscular construction workers. The men are all shown bare-chested, emphasising the sexuality of the male body, which is at the same time conveyed through the masculine work. As the director of the music video himself says, this video conveys a different version and approach to gender roles, where men, unusually, become the objects and women maintain and coordinate the whole environment. The role of the girls in the video is to distract the guys from their work with seductive dances, body movements, facial expressions and touches, while at the same time creating a light flirtation between men and women.
Bebe Rexha – Baby, I’m Jealous
A song about fighting jealousy, the negative influence of social media and society’s expectations of the female body. The athletic male body is also used, which is very openly displayed next to a woman in the wild, obviously such a provocative representation of a man is treated as a sexualised object in the video, and the touching of the bodies demonstrates open seduction. Although a lot of attention is paid to the beauty of women, and the heroines of the clips are characterised by their perfect body lines and become a real attribute of beauty, the lyrics of the song try to convey the message that it is not necessary to be conformed to another’s body.
Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
The ending of the music video is exceptional and may seem a bit sinful. It turns out to be a girl sitting on a guy’s back in a dark, red room, doing push-ups. The athletic body emphasised by the guy at the end of the music clip, which is also indicated by the act of leaning back, is notable. The girl sitting on the guy’s body seems to take a higher position, in which the guy is assumed to be willing to submit to the girl.