As I was scrolling through a multitude of videos, photos, and other media content online in order to find stereotypical misrepresentations, I stumbled across a music video I know well. Since I was obsessed with the song in middle school, I have seen the video a variety of times. However, I’ve never really thought much about it and have never analyzed the ideologies it presents. This time around while watching the video for Gym Class Hero’s “Cupid’s Chokehold”, I recognized a blatant stereotyping of both gender and race.
The main character in the video’s story is a young, African American male who is looking for “Mrs. Right”. While the video attempts to break down racial stereotypes by showing the African American male with both black and white women, gender and racial barriers are still incredibly apparent. The first woman that comes into his life is a “hot” African American woman who is characterized as little more than a sexual object. She is dressed in scandalous clothing–short shorts, a belly-revealing top, and heeled boots. This woman represents the perfect stereotype of what every guy wants in a girl. She is beautiful, sexy, and as he states, “she even cooks me pancakes and gives me alka seltzer when my tummy aches, if that ain’t love then I don’t know what love is”. This lyric suggests that it is a woman’s job in a relationship is to cook, take care of the man, and look pretty. The stereotype is furthered by the scene in which the girlfriend brings home the groceries (a woman’s responsibility) and finds her boyfriend and his friends gambling (a typical male hobby).
The second woman he dates not only represents a sexual being, but also represents an individual of the Caucasian culture. This woman wears a revealing dress, kisses him seductively, and clearly has a lot of money. It is apparent that she has little depth and is only appealing because of her physical attractiveness and wealth. When he goes to a party at her apartment, the room is filled with many “boring white men and women”. They all seem to be fairly rich, uptight, career-oriented, and absolutely no fun. This party is a complete bore to the boyfriend until his ethnic, lower class male friends come in to “spice up the party” by rapping. At first, the reaction from the white party-goers is both surprise and disgust. This represents a clear barrier between the old and young and black and white demographics.
One scene in the video shows the male’s parents as he tells them about the women he has met. The mother in the music video is on the phone with her son in no other place than–the kitchen! She is wearing an apron, is clean-cut, and is making lemonade. She is clearly a stay-at-home mother who cleans and cooks for her family. The father on the other hand, looks like the breadwinner. He is relaxing in his big chair, wearing a golf shirt, and smoking a pipe. After thinking about these images, I recognized that the creaters of this video were working with a clear definition of gender roles. While the creative team could have chosen to represent the mother and father in many other ways, each role was chosen with purpose.
At the end of the video, the girl he ends up with is the same stereotypical girl that we see “getting the guy” at the end of romantic movies. She is the good-girl type who is shy, humble, and intelligent.
While this is just one of the many music videos that have apparent or hidden ideologies, Cupid’s Chokehold is a perfect example of blatant stereotypical messaging. As a society, we all have the ability to be autonomous thinkers, but with these messages coming at us in many different forms through many different platforms it is valid to ask the question: how much affect are these messages really having on us? How many of our beliefs are truly our own?
To see the video, click here!!^^