Category Archives: Music

“A diva is a female version of a hustler (Knowles, 2008).”

Diva

Above is the link to one of Beyoncé’s newer singles Diva. This particular video is interesting because the introduction that defines diva and the rest of the video & the song’s lyrics seem to conflict. The introduction defines “diva” as “a successful and glamorous female performer or personality” and “a female singer who has achieved popularity”. The song, however, defines a “diva” as “a female version of a hustler”. One definition adheres to gender role expectations of women and the other compares and suggests that women are just as capable of men. The video and song conflict with the traditional gender stereotypes of a woman that have been studied (Gamble, 2003).

Even throughout the video, Beyoncé flits back and forth between a nearly shapeless figure and a futuristic woman–the shapeless woman fitting in with the hustler image in an effort to downplay sex and gender, whereas the futuristic woman is still clearly a woman (if only a woman who downplays beauty and enhances a harsh masculine attitude). It’s really confusing, in terms of gender. Is she a force to be reckoned with cause she’ll light your car on fire if you cross her path? Or is she a glamorous, popular singer? Maybe she’s both, but it sure is a bit confusing.

Knowles, B. (Writer). (2008). Diva. Music video. New York, NY: Sony Music Entertainment.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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“Three ingredients are necessary to nurture a romantic relationship: commitment…, passion…, and intimacy…(Gamble, 2003)(p.166).”

Love Story

Taylor Swift is America’s sweetheart. She lulls us into her world of love, heartbreak, and happiness with every note she sings. It started with Tim McGraw, and now we’re hooked on her one of her most recent hits, Love Story. The song is about two young lovers in a Romeo & Juliet type of situation that takes place in their small town. The parents don’t want the relationship to happen, but despite everything, their love prevails, just like a fairy tale. In the official music video, Swift portrays the song just like a fairy tale as well. She’s dressed in a beautiful, old fashioned gown standing in a castle-type setting, waiting for her perfect Romeo. It’s all about emotional intimacy and commitment.

If only real life was like that, but of course, all her songs are based on true stories. Of course, it seems like this type of story could never really be possible, or could it? In the text, the authors reference three ingredients that need to be present in a relationship in order for it to be a success, at least, according to researcher Robert Sternberg (Gamble, 2003). They say that you need commitment, passion, and intimacy (Gamble, 2003). According to the text, commitment would be the “expectation of a relationship permanence… even if trouble occurs (p.166)”, passion would be “intensely positive feelings of attraction that increase you desire to be with the other person (p.166)”, and intimacy which is “sustained feelings of closeness and connection (p.166)”. In this song, Swift portrays a relationship that seems to have all of the three ingredients to make it last, so maybe it’s not so much of a fairy tale, after all.

Fanjoy, T. (Director), & Swift, T. (Writer). (2008). Love Story. Music Video. Nashville, TN: Big Machine Records.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

“It is, primarily, the male’s view regarding sex roles and sex-role stereotypes that the music industry communicates most often (Gamble, 2003)(p.369).”

Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull absolutely has to be the most bad-ass song ever. I first heard it on my dad’s Harley Davidson CD and I completely think it fits the stereotype of bikers. I think that this song artistically shows the type of dark place that a man can get in when things spiral out of their control. In addition to the general stereotype that men are more likely to demand control in situations and relationships, I think that it’s also a common perception that men tend to “go crazy” and get upset when they aren’t in control. For example, my boyfriend got so upset the other night when he realized that I was kicking his butt in Scrabble–I had to stop taking score so he would stop pouting and complaining.

Locomotive Breath essentially portrays the way a masculine man may feel if he failed at something–it’s an aggressive and emotional song. The actual music of the song does a good job of enhancing that emotion. From the mass media perspective, this song enhances the fact that men should be in control and dominant and that it’s a really bad situation if they loose that control (Gamble, 2003). This idea is put forth by a male band for a male audience, males being the predominant people who decide that type of music that is released into the mainstream (Gamble, 2003). In my situation, it appeared in a form that is marketed towards men (though there are plenty of female bikers out there!).

Anderson, I. (1971). Locomotive Breath. Aqualung: Record. UK: Chrysalis.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

“It [nonverbal communication] is equally as important, if not more important, than verbal communication (Gamble, 2003)”.

Please take a moment to listen to the song at the following link. Turn up and enjoy 🙂

Did you get my message?

Text messaging has become a phenomenon in its own right. In today’s society, you’re automatically expected to know how to text message–it’s just weird if you don’t, right?

The thing about “texting” is that you can’t read all of the nonverbal forms of communication that you’d normally be able to observe when you’re speaking to someone in person. So, without the nonverbal communication that makes up “65 percent of the social meaning of our conversation (Gamble, 2003)”, what are we left with? Mixed signals and a handicap added to the forms of communication between people. For example, I can’t tell you how many times my friend Linsey and I have gotten into serious arguments over the misinterpretation of a text message–she thinks I’m being sarcastic and I think I’m being flexible.

Jason Mraz’s song Did You Get My Message? is a wonderful acknowledgment of these types of miscommunications between people as a result of intercommunicating via electronic forms of communication. Though the song refers to mostly calling and leaving actual messages, I think it’s important to highlight the fact that text messaging is the newest form of communication limitations via technology. Let’s refer to a couple stanzas of the song that refer to text messaging:

1) Do you ever wonder what happens to the words that we send
2) Do they bend, do they break from the flight that they take
3) And come back together again with a whole new meaning
4) In a brand new sense, completely unrelated to the one I sent

5) Uh oh, where did it go, must have bypassed your phone
6) And flown right outta the window
7) ooh well, how can I tell?
8) Shoulda called the operator maybe she know the info
9) But whether or not if my message you got was too much or a lot to reply
10) Why not try this for a fact
11) Should you ever come back I’d relax and be relieved
12) of all my panic attacks

Here, Mraz is talking about the misinterpretation between people when it comes to text messaging. The first section (lines 1-4) refers to the different ways someone can interpret text messages, lines 5-7 refer to the same thing. It’s also an interesting side note that Mraz refers to the operator as a woman–operator being a traditionally “female” job position. This could be a result of the unconscious gender stereotypes that we carry with us as well as a good example of the ways music can subtly influence our gender stereotypes (Gamble, 2003).

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Mraz, J. (2005). Did you get my message?. Mr. A-Z: CD. Burbank, CA: Atlantic.