‘Dear Future Husband’: young people’s critical exploration of gender and sexuality in pop music videos
This study aimed to explore how young people can critically engage with music videos to explore dominant constructions of gender and sexuality. As the primary consumers of popular music and music videos, adolescents are also a group who exist in a unique sociocultural space, where both misogyny and feminism are present in their highly media-driven lives. This study used focus group workshops with young people in high school to generate qualitative data based on the participants’ discussion and interpretations of gender and sexuality in two music videos. Seven groups of young people aged 14 – 16 analysed two popular music videos and reflected particularly upon discourses of expected femininity and female sexuality. Discussion elucidated insightful analysis around gendered subjectivity, and presented three complex and opposing themes, which are explored in detail. A cohesive thread emerged in the data in which young people demonstrated their capacity to identify hegemonic gender constructs, while also relying on these constructs to read and police the women shown in the music videos.