From “Kanye West Thinks Dead is the New Sexy” by Nina Funnell on MamaMia:
“While many commentators argue that video clips over-sexualise women, the real problem is they actually deny the sexuality of women all together. Instead of analysing the clothes and dance moves within these clips, we should look at how desire functions.
“As so often in popular culture, women are expected to appear desirable, but to be completely lacking in all desire of their own. The best example of this is Britney Spears in her Hit me baby days and Jessica Simpson circa 2002. Both Spears and Simpson stated they were virgins and intended to remain so until marriage. Meanwhile, they would grind back and forth wearing tiny outfits all designed to titillate. In other words their sexuality was to be consumed and enjoyed by everyone except themselves.
“The ‘sexually rapacious virgin’ is just one paradox of our sexualised pop culture. But a while back I began to wonder where our sexualised pop culture is really heading. At some point all the bouncy hair, big boobs and tiny skirts just gets old. These days humping a pole is not so much risqué as passé.
“So once sex (or rather, the limited and stereotypical representations of pop-culture sex) gets tired, what becomes the new frontier in risqué representation?…
“The clip is not only interested in fetishizing female bodies—it revels in fetishizing female pain, female passivity, female suffering and female silence. The ultimate female is the quiet, passive female—a mannequin—who accepts violence, abuse and suffering while remaining hot and sexy.
“As another commenter writes, ‘There’s nothing [overly] shocking or “taboo” about this video. Men’s sexual desire to dominate passive, docile, “lifeless” women has been a common theme in the arts throughout history. Indeed, many men disingenuously hide behind “art” to defend this proclivity. But how often do you see black men hanging from trees or Jews being gassed in ovens “artistically” to make a comment on racism or genocide, for example? It’s not likely to happen because that would be deeply offensive, even in the name of art. Women on the other hand are apparently fair game, even in a world where sexual and other male violence against women and girls is epidemic.’”
Related: Like a Virgin.