Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

New online resource to help challenge sexism and racism in music videos

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2013 has been the year of the controversial music video. Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines has caused endless debate, spawning brilliant response videos and even being banned in some student’s unions. Lily Allen’s comeback hit Hard Out Here is directly about the double standards faced by women; the video takes a pop at music videos like Blurred Lines and currently has over 12 million views on youtube. And let’s not forget the accusations of racism levelled at Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry recently for their broadcast performances at music awards, both watched thousands of times on youtube. Miley was accused of using black dancers as props during her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, whilst Katy Perry’s American Music Awards’ performance was denounced for its cultural appropriation as she dressed as a geisha.

So, the EVAW Coalition, Imkaan and Object have created a platform – Rewind&Reframe – for young women to blog and take action about sexism and racism in music videos.

This is part of a larger campaign that aims to educate and enable young women to voice their opinions to the music industry, government, regulators about content they feel is inappropriate, either sexually or racially. The aim is to change attitudes within the industry.

A quote taken from the website reads:

“Rewind & Reframe is a safe space to speak out about sexism and racism in music videos. It is a community where no one denies that sexism and racism are real things, or that we are being over-sensitive or imagining it when we share how we feel about the harmful messages the music industry is sending out in music videos.

All blogs posted onto Rewind & Refocus are moderated, to ensure that the content is in compliance with their aims. The organisation assure us that the integrity of every blog will be maintained. You can submit a blog for review by the Rewind&Reframe team to: contact@rewindreframe.org

As well as blogging, the team advocate voicing your opinions directly by complaining to a variety of  different people.

Artists and record companies

Hop onto twitter and send them a message directly informing them of your opinions. If they aren’t on twitter, if they have an official website, and a contact page there, then try and get a response through that channel.

Websites/apps (e.g. YouTube/iTunes)

It is just as useful to complain to the website which is hosting the video. Nearly all social media sites have specific policies against hate speech, and that includes racism and sexism. Even if policies don’t cover these areas, complaints could potentially see that changed.

Your MP

If the above fails, then letting your MP know should be the next step. They are there, officially, to represent your views and to make laws that protect citizens of the UK. You can find out who your MP is by clicking on this link – http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

Who makes sure music videos obey the rules?

Finally, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Agency, or OFCOM.  These organisations exist to ensure that content broadcasted is suitable for general audience, or age certificated based on the content.

Rewind&Reframe have set up a petition to David Cameron, requesting compulsory age-ratings for music videos. If you agree with this need, then sign their petition here: http://www.change.org/rewindreframe

What do you think? Is there an overwhelming need for a change in the attitudes of the industry? Let us know in the comments below! This would also serve as a fascinating opinion piece for your Gold Arts Award!

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About the author

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

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