The music video poses several questions in which the ordering of the senses becomes central: What does it mean to show a singing body, a close-up of a singer and her body parts (her open mouth, her hands, her lips, etc.)? Does the music video emphasize sight over hearing by becoming cinematic and theatrical? The tension between the somatic side of singing and the beautification of the singing, instrumental, working body through dancing brings a gendered vision to the fore that links the female body strictly with codes of beauty. A reading of Madonna’s video “Take a Bow” allows for such an analysis in its tendency to dramatize the division of sound and image as in film: the image of the beautiful woman entails the use of voice through dubbing.
Athena’s Armor, Medusa’s Scream: The Audiovisual Imaging of the Feminine in Music Videos
gertrud koch teaches film studies at the Free University in Berlin and at Brown University’s Pembroke Center and Department of Modern Culture and Culture and Media. Her research focuses on aesthetic theory, film and media theory, critical theory, and feminism. Her publications include books on Siegfried Kracauer, the television series Breaking Bad, the filmic construction of Jewish history, and several edited volumes. She is a member of various research projects at the Free University, including BildEvidenz and Cinepoetics.
Gertrud Koch; Athena’s Armor, Medusa’s Scream: The Audiovisual Imaging of the Feminine in Music Videos. differences 1 May 2016; 27 (1): 176–188. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-3522793
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