Making Lemonade : examining female empowerment through visual music media
Gass, Rebecca Joelle
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This research study explores popular culture through visual music media, specifically Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album titled Lemonade. Through a social constructionist lens, a phenomenological approach, and by incorporating psychoanalytic film theory, critical theory, feminist theory, and Black feminist theory, this study aims to uncover what aspects of visual music media empower youth girls aged 15-19 years. Through film-elicited interviews and digital focus groups, this study engaged with 11 youth girls from across Canada about what makes and does not make them feel empowered while viewing music videos. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to produce results which included three sensitizing concepts named cloak of competence, cloak of incompetence and generational language along with five emerging themes, listed as voice, unity, persistence, compassion and relatability Thematic results outlined visual, auditory, and metaphorical phenomena that empower and disempower youth girls. Empowering aspects to visual music media included visual depictions of voice, unity, auditory depictions of compassion and persistence, and a sense of relatability between the artist, situation, emotion, or setting.
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