Category: Postgraduate Research

PhD Research Proposal Part 2

Having spent the past few days getting stuck into my research proposal, I can now say that I feel a lot better about the whole thing! I was starting to panic and got myself into the mindset that it wouldn’t be detailed/good enough (something I think we all worry about) but then I realised it doesn’t have to be perfect- it is just a proposal. I am not supposed to know everything and especially not right now at this early stage. So, basically this is just a little update to say that I am getting on okay, it isn’t as hard as I first thought and hopefully I will be finished by the end of today and ready to email it to my supervisor in the morning.

Female Interpretations of Sexual Content in the Music Videos of Popular Female Artists

Undergraduate Dissertation Introduction

Here is my undergraduate dissertation ‘Introduction’. It is a bit dodgy in areas but I hope that this will provide an example and help those who are undertaking research in a similar area.


The debate surrounding the effects of sexual media has recently been reinvigorated with children and women’s charities, journalists and the current British and Australian governments, having all made attempts to address and tackle the sexual behaviours and attitudes expressed by female artists in their music videos and live performances. This renewed interest has mainly emerged due to the sexually provocative nature of current female artists such as Rihanna, whose notoriously raunchy performances frequently attract the attention of media critics, and Lady Gaga who has a reputation for wearing outrageous ensembles, often leaving very little to the imagination.

With a large majority of music being centred around relationships, romance and love, sex has always been a popular accompaniment to musical performance, lyrics and most recently, music videos. Early 20th century jazz and blues was recognised as exhibiting a certain level of sexual intensity with the gyrating crotch of Elvis, Little Richard and other rock and roll stars during the 1950s and 60s causing great controversy at the time (Arnett, 2002). Elvis was actually quoted in the 1970s as saying “Man, I was tame compared to what they do now. Are you kidding? I didn’t do anything but just jiggle” This quote emphasizes the percieved increase in the sexual nature of music from Elvis’ heyday in the 1950s through to the early 1970s.

During the 1980s and 1990s, sexual content had begun to increasingly permeate popular music (Roberts & Christenson, 1998) and can be seen and heard in the music lyrics and videos of female artists who enjoyed stardom at the time, most notabley Madonna, who in 1992 released the album Erotica along with a coffee table book entitled Sex which featured explicit photographs of the singer. Much tamer but still offering music fans scenes of a sexual nature, Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera have contributed to the array of provocative music videos with Christina’s Dirty video and Britney’s I’m a Slave for you consequently causing their own controversies. More recently during the 2000s and up to the present day, videos from artists such as the Pussycat Dolls, Shakira, Ciara, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Rihanna have all continued the trend (Jhally, 2007).

The majority of research focusing on sexual content of music videos can be divided into three categories: content analyses, effects research and audience interpretations. This dissertation falls into the third and least developed field of research by exploring female audience interpretations of sexual content in female music videos.

As a major source of information for young people and adolescents, the mass media is believed to play a crucial role in their sexual socialisation (Harris & Scott, 2002). The presence of sexual content in music video is so pervasive within popular music that it has now reached the point where it is highly predictable for sexual imagery to accompany the music videos of popular female artists, even when the lyrics do not match the imagery (Roberts & Christenson, 1998). For example, a recent music video by British pop artist Pixie Lott shows the singer in a variety of sexual poses despite the song having nothing to do with sex. This raises serious concerns regarding the effects sexual content may have on viewers, especially young people, who are a significant concern due to the amount of time they spend listening to music and watching music videos (Arnett, 2002).

Supporting the argument that sex is becoming an increasingly pervasive part of mass culture, this dissertation aims to fill a void within existing research whereby it fails to adequately address the interpretations, perceptions and attitudes of young women in relation to the sexual content of music videos.

The main aim of the research is to utilise the focus group technique in order to discover what young women think about music videos and their sexual content. Participants were selected through snowball sampling and are young women aged 18-25. Questions focus on the areas of body image, sexual objectification, self-objectification and sexualisation of young people. The aim is to discover how the participants interpret what they see, how it makes them feel about their body image, their relationships with men, sexual objectification and whether or not they think sexual music videos by female artists impact young girls in a detrimental way.

PhD Research Proposal Part 1

Hello everyone, I am currently working on my research proposal for the MPhil/PhD programme I am set to enrol on in January. I have already secured my place having submitted a proposal earlier in the year for an MRes course but having changed my mind about that route I now need to update my proposal and make it much more detailed.

I have searched the internet for an example structure and recommendations of what to include but the information varies so I feel like I am best just winging it. I tend to worry whether I am on the right track and over-think things a lot which I am trying to change so I have now commited to a structure and will be working on it for the next week.

The structure I am going to follow is…

Research Topic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Working Title                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Abstract                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Intro

Literature Review-
Chapter 1 Summary
Chapter 2 Summary
Chapter 3 Summary
Chapter 4 Summary
Chapter 5 Summary

Research Design, Methodology & Ethics
Expected Results

I will post an update in a few days but in the meantime if you have any suggestions or advice please leave me a comment.

Feminist Must-Reads Part 1

I found this link whilst searching for some good feminist texts. My aim is to read 3 books by January as part of my effort to gain a deeper opinion and better understanding of where we are now as women. I have already decided to read Betty Friedan’s 1963 classic The Feminine Mystique after a friend bought it for me and Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs having started reading it on holiday earlier this year. I still need to decide on one other text so please comment if you have any suggestions.

Update 07/01/13: The third book I chose to read was Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter.

Feminist Must-Reads

Welcome to my Research Blog!


Welcome to my Research Blog! My name is Jenny and in late 2012 I started a PhD programme at Liverpool John Moores University. I withdrew from the course in 2014 after struggling with imposter syndrome, the pressures of funding my study and balancing it with home and work life.

It’s been a while since I focused on anything academic but I am eager to get back into the swing of things and plan to publish a few new blog posts.

On my blog you will find posts relating to my research interests and my experience of undergraduate and postgraduate study. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me via the comments tool.

All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.