Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony, and Female Desire in Music Videos

I am sick and tired of seeing music video’s that feature the male artist while women reside in the background as their sexual extras or objects. This degrades women because it presents them as voiceless beings with no desires of their own. Women then seem to be made for men’s entertainment and aesthetic pleasure. Selena Gomez’s music video for “Hands To Myself” and Fifth Harmony's for “Work from Home,” however, turn the tables.

And I love it.

Gomez’s video features a gorgeous man and the camera isn’t shy to emphasize his perfectly chiseled chest, back, and face. Gomez thinks about him as she lays in a bed until her obsession gets out of control and she breaks into his house. The male figure finally becomes an emblem for desire, and the female’s sexual fantasies the focus of the video.

Fifth Harmony's video, “Work from Home,” follows Gomez’s paradigm and presents men with picture perfect bodies working in construction uniforms that reveal their shining muscles. The girls control the scene as they woo the men and dance around them.

However, while these videos stand for female empowerment, their message is far from perfect and leaves room for debate. This evident in how the videos seem to enforce heteronormativity-- they romanticize male to female relationships and fail to provide an alternate mode of sexual desire. Gomez’s and Fifth Harmony’s videos, then, grabbed my attention, but also disappointed me.