The Cultural Construction of Gender and Representation of Identity in Soaps and Music Videos

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Master's May 1995

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Soaps but more importantly music videos can be said to interrogate the cultural construction of gender and representations of identity. The video suggests a set of images to the viewer and usually these are a blurring of gender and identity. Music videos predicate on the representation of female gender experience. The two interrelated sign systems- access signs and discovery signs- will be discussed. Music clips that will be focused on are Madonna's 'Burning Up', 'Express Yourself', and 'Justify My Love'. The singer, who has been labelled 'Our Lady of MTV', has an amazing video appeal due to her play with gender and identity. No other single artist has produced as many mixed images as she has.

Television soaps tend not to interrogate the construction of gender and the representation of identity. They do not seem to cross any boundaries. People watch soaps to relax and somehow relate, so if they were to experiment with the theatre of gender, it may be seen as a threat to viewers.

Soapies usually have the males in typically male dominated occupations such as doctors, car salesmen and chefs. Women in soaps are usually secretaries or housewives. There does not seem to be any attempt for a switch of roles. Females are feminine, males masculine. There has been one exception, which was Kylie Minogue's character, Charlene, on Neighbours. She was a mechanic and tomboy. This is one of the few occasions where a soap has interrogated the cultural construction of gender and representation of identity.

A music video is footage that accompanies a song. They can have a storyline related to the song, displays of images or simply focusing on the artist/s performing. Music video is forever crossing the lines of gender and identity. It is able to do this as it is...