An analysis of sexual themes in american rock and roll music

GREASE background and analysis by Scott Miller The year isa pivotal moment in American cultural history, when rock and roll was giving birth to the Sexual Revolution and everything in America culture was about to be turned upside down. Record companies were releasing more than a hundred singles every week and the country was about to explode.

An analysis of sexual themes in american rock and roll music

Whilst there has been a lot of recent media attention addressing this problem, there is a lack of up to date academic content analyses. With this research, I would like to determine how common sexual imagery in music videos is and to discover what forms of sexual imagery are portrayed most often.

Abstract Ever since the advent of the music video in the early s, there has been a continuous array of commentary and analysis regarding its content and form. Many critics argue that music videos and performances by pop artists are becoming increasingly explicit and inappropriate for young people.

This research hopes to add weight to this argument. The aim of the research was to discover how prevalent sexual imagery is within music videos and to distinguish what forms of sexual imagery are most common. A content analysis of 10 randomly selected music videos from the yearas predicted; demonstrates a high level of sexual imagery within music videos.

According to Arnettsexuality in pop music has become increasingly explicit, having lost almost all subtly. There are many who agree with this claim, for example, record producer Mike Stock made headlines recently criticising music videos for sexualising young children.

Due to the popularity of music videos amongst adolescents, it is not hard to comprehend the levels of concern regarding the impact of sexual imagery. Despite the amount of spare time young people spend listening to music and watching music videos, much more research has looked at adolescents and television Arnett, However, in the s there were a number of studies in response to the emergence of the music video.

Baxter et al used a sample of 62 MTV music videos. The research was unbiased and due to the lack of research in the field at the time, the main focus was to establish a method of quantifying specific areas of content.

Baxter et al proposed the need for a coding form for collecting the data and produced a coding manual defining the various content categories, which were divided into 23 categories.

The observations made in these studies raise serious concerns regarding the sexualisation of young people.


In more recent years research has largely focused on building this argument and analysing the potential affects and influence music videos have on viewers. Focusing specifically on the role exposure to sexually oriented media has on adolescents; Ward conducted a review of the empirical research addressing these claims.

According to Zhang et althe reason music videos have the potential to affect and influence sexual socialisation is due to their popularity and ease of accessibility. The research will now consider the methodology adopted reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of content analysis.

Methodology To discover how prevalent sexual imagery is in music videos and determine what forms of sexual imagery are portrayed most often I decided to conduct a quantitative content analysis.

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This decision was largely determined by the research questions, thus adopting a deductive theory. In doing a deductive analysis, the idea is to begin with a hypothesis before beginning the coding process and the purpose is to test whether the hypothesis is correct Bernard, The research hypothesis claims that there are high levels of sexual imagery within contemporary, popular music videos.

Additionally, the research aims to discover what forms of sexual imagery are most commonly represented in music videos. The hypotheses are based on my personal knowledge and theories relating to the field of sexual content in mass media.

The research took a positivist perspective and an empirical approach which were considered the best means for testing the hypothesis. An interpretivist approach would be better suited to analysing the affects of music videos on young people, perhaps using a method such as longitudinal observation study, allowing causal implications to be made ibid.

Although content analysis is often associated with the mass media, the method has much greater applicability than this.

It is a highly flexible method that can be applied in many contexts and to a wide variety of data ibid. Due to the lack of participants, content analysis has the advantage of being relatively straightforward. For example, there are no requirements to contact people, arrange meetings, interviews, send out questionnaires, etc.

This also means that there are very few ethical concerns due to the lack of participants and the fact that there were no problems gaining the data needed. Access is rarely a problem for content analysis as a lot of documents; media texts etc are available online for free or in libraries Burton, In the case of the research at hand, the music videos analysed were freely available to view online.

Another advantage of content analysis is that it is a very transparent method which can be easily replicated and produces consistent results Bryman, Despite the variety of advantages offered by content analysis, there are some limitations which are not as easily foreseeable and do not necessarily disrupt the research process.

For example, a disadvantage is that content analysis deals solely with information that can be measured and standardised. Burton argues that this focuses on what results are produced rather, neglecting the decisions and intended meanings associated with the findings. Another disadvantage of content analysis is the difficulty of devising a coding scheme that does not include some sort of interpretation on the part of the researcher or coder.

For example, during the research, the process of coding the categories was heavily reliant on my interpretation of the content. However, there is a solution to this; the content manual is aimed at resolving this issue by providing coders with clear definitions of what constitutes a content category.

Another disadvantage of content analysis is the inability to determine the reasons behind the research findings.

The Sexual Rhythm of Rock Music (1 of 2)

For example, the reason why sexual imagery is so prevalent in popular music videos. To begin the research process and with the aim of determining what forms of sexual imagery are present in music videos, I produced a coding schedule see Appendix I.British rock culture has yielded many sub-genres of rock n’ roll including Progressive Rock, Glam Rock, Alternative, and Heavy Metal.

As the movement has expanded throughout the decades, lyrics have become more complex and have become increasingly rooted in the conveyance of sociopolitical and sexual themes (Miles 1). the different cultural barriers inherent in marketing music to American audiences.

vi rock & roll and reggae music has persisted throughout the literature and the media. contribute to the debate on sexual themes in rap and reggae music by providing quantitative and qualitative analyses of song lyrics. Biography.

In the s and s, The Rolling Stones proven to be the most influential rock and roll band on American counterculture. Unlike The Beatles, whose music began as simple love pop love songs,the Rolling Stones music was influenced by African American blues music and the cultural views that accompanied it.

Keywords:USA, Rock and Roll,Rebelliousness,Commercialization 1. Introduction The term "Rock and Roll" now has at least two different meanings, both in common usage.

An analysis of sexual themes in american rock and roll music

The American Heritage Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary both define Rock and Roll as synonymous with Rock music. It is hardly surprising that “rock n’ roll” and “jazz” were both euphemisms for sexual intercourse, or, more accurately in their historical context, fornication: the rhythm is suggestive of the pelvic thrust.

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Lecture Outline | Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll: Music in the Counterculture