Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video (Maddy Birnbaum)

I watched the film “Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video.” It is a media literacy film that addresses the issues of our culture today as a result of what is advertised and shown on television, specifically music videos. It describes the controversy around the nature of the sexual imagery and reliance on female sexuality for sales. This is a controversy because music videos tell society what is considered normal and teaches us how to be men and women. Women are tied to being sexual figures using their bodies to draw attention, and masculinity is tied to power, intimidation and force.


There is a narrator throughout the film. The narrator tells the history behind music videos and their influence going from 1981 to the present. It was made by taking music videos ranging from pop to rap to rock all depicting the same roles for males and females. They used the technique of showing footage from a music video and then footage from real life back and forth. This showed how music videos have an effect on real life situations and how similar they are. It shows an example in central park where men who felt entitled sexually assaulted women.

The writer of the film, Sut Jhally, is a professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as well as the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation. The Media Education Foundation (MEF) distributed the film in 2007. MEF is a non-profit organization. This particular video is part of a serious called “Dreamworlds.” This is Dreamworlds 3. Sut Jhally became nationally known after the original Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Music Video spurred threats of a lawsuit from MTV. Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe all covered this case of MTV vs. Dreamworlds and placed a spotlight on free speech rights as well as the video. The budget or funding was not mentioned. However, the proceeds go to the UMASS Department of Communication.

The video has also been distributed on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for viewing. Films for Action posted the video on January 16th, 2011. The film has a website: mediaed.org

In my opinion the film had a very realistic impact and was a wakeup call. We do not realize how much the media affects our actions and thoughts. The central park example really had an impact on me. I think that showing live footage of men assaulting women in such a similar manner as in the music videos had a huge impact. Men who act this way could look at that and realize why they act the way that they do. Women could also not use their bodies as a way to draw attention and get what they want. However, advertising is more concerned with sales than with how society acts so this will probably be an ongoing problem.


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