When these songs first came out, I did not pay much attention to them. I understood what they were saying, but I did not agree with them. In re-analyzing them, the gender differences are very prevalent. In each video, the role of the man is played by a woman who wants to demonstrate the characteristics of a man to a man in order to make them “learn.” However, they illustrate women, portrayed by men, as victims of the egotistic logic of men, which is wrong.
While each artist set out to debunk the gender roles, they actually reinforce them in their videos. The hypothetical question asked in both songs is: “If I were a boy and did ‘x,’ what would you do?” In a way, they are still asking for permission to perform these masculine actions. By asking for permission to do it, they are assigning these actions to men and giving them consent to do them.
In Beyoncé’s video, the male is given a job that requires strength and aggression, which are supposedly male traits. The woman in the video does not do much, but the man goes out with his friends all of the time and rarely invites her with him. When he does, he ignores her although she gives him all of her attention. After she gets mad at him for dancing flirtatiously with a co-worker and excluding her, he still does not understand what he does wrong. Rather than talk it out, he gets defensive and call him jealous. Beyoncé’s video gives characteristics of conceit, deceit and insensitivity to men instead of seeing men as individuals.
In Ciara’s song, her lyrics reinforce these gender roles. She says that men put security codes on everything and set out to be deceitful in relationships. In the chorus, she taunts men by asking in a male teasing voice, “What, you mad? Can’t handle that.” In the video, the male’s mannerisms with the female (Reggie Bush) illustrate how men are seen as aggressive and interrogative. The female (Bush) maintains her composure as Ciara paces and taunts her. While dancing, Ciara constantly pops her pelvis in a manner that reminds the audience that he is macho and supposed to be manly. While Beyoncé’s character speaks through their actions, Ciara’s video is better understood through her lyrics. Although both videos reinforce gender roles, Ciara’s video also challenges them by instructing females, in the second verse, to “go ‘head and be” the same way men are to them.
What I took from the videos is that men are a certain way and the only way to make them learn is to act the same way in return, but I do not agree. As each woman wants to be individualized, the women need to also show some differentiation. They characterize men as deceitful, insensitive macho men, but they continue to date them. If men were really this horrible to women while in a relationship with them, why do they continue to date, have sex and marry them?