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India Arie's "Video" sends a strong message to be yourself in an age of conformity.

Updated on January 4, 2014

India Arie's "Video" goes against three gender/sex messages.

  1. How the media portrays power through gender. One way the media portrays feminine power is through beauty. Beauty is found in thinness and sexual attraction. In her song, she states, "I'm not the average girl from your video, and I ain't built like a supermodel." Women are encouraged at an early age to please others and look attractive. The media encourages women to remake their bodies by buying products that will make them more beautiful. India states, "Keep your crystal and your pistol, I'd rather have a pretty piece of crystal. Don't need your silicon, I prefer my own." One way the media portrays masculine power is having money. She states, "Keep your fancy drink, and your expensive minks, I don't need that to have a good time. Keep your expensive cars and your caviar, All's I need is my guitar." If a person has money,then he will have friends because he will buy himself friends.
  2. In order to be accepted by one's peers, one must conform. When people conform, it creates friendships. Conformity is found in fashion when people feel pressured to fit in to be accepted. The song states, "My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes. No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India.Arie."
  3. Gender is learned through parents. Julia Wood states in Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture, "Mothers use talk to give information, advice, encouragement, and support to children." In the song, India sings, "Am I less of a lady if I don't where panty hose, My momma said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knows."

By singing against these three gender/sex messages, she is conveying the message to be yourself and love yourself just the way you are. If people don't accept you, so what, there will be people who will. She is going to live her life by her rules, not by the media's rules. She states this when she says, "But I learned to love myself unconditionally, because I am a queen." Her worth is not defined by the media when she states, "When I look into the mirror and the only one there is me, every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be."

Two gender stereotypes are depicted in this song.

  1. Woman as sex object, since women are defined in terms of sexuality in music videos. Sexual attraction gives these women worth in music videos.
  2. Woman as Iron Maiden. In this song, she sends the message that she is unfeminine when she sings about not always shaving her legs, combing her hair and painting her toes. She is also independent because she lives by her own rules and doesn't need the approval of others (since females usually find comfort in interrelatedness).

This song sends the message to be yourself! Only that which you let control you, controls you. You will be happier just being yourself and not trying to fit in, so own who you are!

Is it hard to just be yourself?

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