Implications are discussed within the frameworks of vicarious learning through the media and parasocial interaction with media figures. Music is an integral part of youth culture. Since the advent of the music video in , music and music videos have gone hand-in-hand, and the effects of music videos on youth have been the subject of research and controversy.
The common reason for the concern has been aptly summed by Arnett , who explained, A typical music video Often the men dance, too, but the women always have fewer clothes on. The women are mostly just props. They appear for a fraction of a second, long enough to shake their butts a couple of times, then the camera moves on. In fact, the concern about mainstream hip-hop music and music videos sexualized depictions of women in particular is so ubiquitous that the U.
Congress held a special hearing in September addressing the issue Abrams, The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that teenagers rank enter- tainment media as a key source of information about sexuality and sexual health. Such media exposure clearly feeds questions among researchers regarding the possibility of subsequent unhealthy attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors among young people.
However, few studies have investigated the effects of sexual imagery specifically contained in hip-hop music videos. Young people have a large amount of choice and control in the media they choose to consume, and in doing so have a choice in the socialization they receive from such media Arnett, Two aspects of social cognitive theory relevant to the current study are the concepts of vicarious learning and abstract modeling Bandura, According to Bandura, humans have the capability to learn through symbolic environments, such as through media portrayals.
Through this vicarious learning, people then act based on their images of reality, and the more their reality depends on the symbolic environment, the more likely they are to act in ways reflective of that environment. Further, abstract modeling grows from this vicarious learning, whereby individuals extract the generic features of media portrayals, integrate those portrayals into composite rules of behavior, and then use these rules to produce new beha- viors Bandura, On the other hand, it could be that these individuals already harbor certain attitudes or dispositions, and therefore seek out media that reinforces these attitudes or dispositions.
One aspect of uses and gratifications is the involvement that one has with particular media Rubin, People who are fans of hip-hop and seek out this genre may already carry certain attitudes toward the objectification of women, sexual permissiveness, and gender. It is difficult to discern, however, which comes first—vicarious learning, which informs abstract modeling, or the seeking out of certain media to reinforce already-present attitudes and beliefs.
Either way, whether it is vicarious learning or existing attitudes that comes first, exposure to certain media content such as hip-hop music videos often carries negative implications for the cognitive or emotional health of young people. Specifi- cally, as the media environment became more sexual ranging from nonexplicit fashion magazines, through semiexplicit television, up to explicit XXX Internet pornography , the less explicit forms of sexual media ceased to signif- icantly contribute to their model.
Finally, Zillmann and Bryant , in their classic experiment on pornography exposure among college students, demon- strated that frequent exposure to pornography resulted in a loss of compassion for women as rape victims among both male and female participants.
Effects similar to those just described are not limited to television pro- grams and pornography. One of these six media was music, which reportedly contained high doses of sexual content. Investigations specifically concerning music media have demonstrated its relationship with unhealthy outcomes. Although this study was concerned with agg- ression outcomes rather than sexual outcomes, it nonetheless speaks to the potentially powerful influence of the music medium, even among young adults, and the need for experimental research investigating effects of music media.
Barongan and Nagayama Hall conducted an experiment whereby male participants were exposed to either misogynous rap music or neutral rap music, and then exposed to a sexually violent, an assaultive, and a neutral film vignette. It seems reasonable, then, to conjecture that sexually themed music videos might have similar effects regarding sexual aggression.
Kalof examined this very pheno- menon and found that female undergraduates exposed to a sexually stereo- typed music video indicated greater acceptance of interpersonal violence i. She also found that both male and female participants in the sexually stereotyped condition indicated more adversarial sexual beliefs e.
In addi- tion, the two music videos used were of different genres and neither video was of the hip-hop genre. Hip-hop music videos were more closely examined by Ward et al. In this study, those in the experimental group watched four sexually stereotyped music videos and the control group watched videos that did not contain such stereotypes. Although some of the music videos were of the hip-hop genre, not all of them were hip-hop. The participants who watched the sexually stereotyped videos demonstrated significantly more support for stereotypical beliefs about gender and sexual roles than those in the control group.
Furthermore, participants who reported stronger identification with the characters in the videos were more likely to endorse sexual stereotypes and the importance of being athletic, attractive, rich, or cool. Because most of the existing studies were conducted with adolescents, the question also remains whether the trends discussed continue through late adolescence and young adulthood, particularly regarding the investigation of sexual objectification and beliefs about sexual intercourse.
In addition, among college-aged populations in particular, beliefs about sexual coercion and rape are salient and worthwhile topics of inquiry. If the trends just iden- tified hold true with more rigorous stimuli selection and exposure, then we will move closer to identifying and understanding any potential effects of hip-hop music videos on sex and gender outcomes. In addition, a gender interaction effect is expected, with stronger effects for male than female participants for all hypotheses.
Therefore, two additional research questions are posed. There were two experimental conditions: Two participants were dropped from the analyses because they had to leave the study early and therefore much of their data were missing. They were recruited from mass-lecture, introductory courses in human development, group communi- cation, and geology. The human development and group communication participants received extra class credit for their participation, the geology students did not, and therefore the bulk of the participants were students from the first two classes.
Because these were mass lecture courses designed to fulfill general university requirements, the participants represent an array of intended majors, rather than a particular set of students focused on a certain academic major. Sixty-four participants 17 male, 47 female were assigned to the highly sexual condition, 66 23 male, 43 female to the low sexual condition, and 63 19 male, 44 female to the control condition.
To be clear, we wish readers to note that just because these channels were used to record the music videos does not mean that we assume that the affiliate channels of MTV are the only avenues through which hip-hop music videos are available, or even the primary venue through which college undergraduates might consume such music videos. For example, music videos of choice can be selected and viewed for free through numerous Internet sites such as YouTube, MySpace Video, Facebook, and Yahoo Music, to name a few.
Of the original hip-hop music videos, a trained graduate student selected a set of 40 videos: Such women were typically performing for the entertainment of men in the video, or they fawned over the male artists as the male artists addressed the camera Arnett, Female hip-hop artists often exhibited similar sexually charged behaviors and postures, yet typically without male models or dancers fawning over them. Next, 15 undergraduate students in an introductory public speaking course ranked each video utilizing the same measures previously described.
The undergraduate raters were evenly distributed by gender and were from diverse majors. Based on the under- graduate ratings, the 5 most sexual and the 5 least sexual videos were selected as the stimulus for the experiment. Therefore, we were reasonably confident that we had in fact manipulated the sexual imagery of the videos and not the likeability or entertainment value of the videos. Therefore, it would be difficult, at best, within the hip-hop genre to solely manipulate sexual imagery in a music video without simultaneously manipulating the objectification of women.
Materials Thirteen undergraduates pretested the questionnaire. All items used 7-point Likert-type scoring, from 1 strongly dis- agree to7 strongly agree. Higher scores indicated greater acceptance of or affinity for the construct of interest. Full item scales are available in Table 1.
Attitudes toward women scale. Of the original 15 items, 6 items emerged as loading significantly and were used as the baseline scale for the experiment with an alpha of. Fandom for the hip-hop genre of music was assessed to explore possible covariation.