Dreamworlds 3 (Abridged)
Dreamworlds 3 is also available in an unabridged version
Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video
, the latest in Sut Jhally's critically acclaimed Dreamworlds
series, takes a clarifying look at the warped world of music video. Ranging across hundreds of images and stories from scores of music videos, Jhally uncovers a dangerous industry preoccupation with reactionary ideals of femininity and masculinity, and shows how these ideals have glamorized a deeply sexist worldview in the face of the women's movement and the fight for women's rights. In the end, Dreamworlds 3
challenges young people to think seriously about how forms of entertainment that might seen innocuous and inconsequential can be implicated in serious real-world problems like gender violence, misogyny, homophobia, and racism.
Sections: Introduction | Techniques of Storytelling | Constructing Femininity | The Pornographic Imagination | Ways of Looking | Female Artists: Trapped in the Pornographic Gaze | Masculinity & Control
Viewer discretion advised: This version has been edited for nudity, profanity, and length, but it still contains violence and sexual imagery.
Written, Narrated, and Edited by Sut Jhally
Additional Editing by Andrew Killoy
Post-Production Supervisors Jeremy Earp and Andrew Killoy
Production Assistant Jason Young
Production Assistance John Seely
Sound Engineering Peter Acker and Armadillo Audio Group
Music by Joe Bartone
Graphics by Sweet and Fizzy and Andrew Killoy
Sut Jhally | Writer, Editor & Narrator
Sut Jhally is Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation. He is one of the world's leading scholars looking at the role played by advertising and popular culture in the processes of social control and identity construction. The author of numerous books and articles on media (including The Codes of Advertising
and Enlightened Racism
) he is also an award-winning teacher (a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts, where the student newspaper has also voted him "Best professor"). In addition, he has been awarded the Distinguished Outreach Award, and was selected to deliver a Distinguished Faculty Lecture in 2007.
He is best known as the producer and director of a number of films and videos (including Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Music Video
; Tough Guise: Media, Violence and the Crisis of Masculinity
; and Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire
) that deal with issues ranging from gender, sexuality and race to commercialism, violence and politics. Born in Kenya, raised in England, educated in graduate studies in Canada, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
National Women's Studies Association 2008 Film/Video Series
Praise for the Film
"After watching Dreamworlds 3
, students may continue to look at music videos, but they will never see them the same way again."
- Michael Kimmel | Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook
"The role of media images in our everyday lives has never been more powerfully demonstrated."
- Robin Rieske | President, Action Coalition for Media Education - Vermont
"An invaluable teaching tool. Does a superb job of presenting difficult truths about our hypersexualized, hypermasculinized culture. Never has it been more important for us to confront those truths."
- Robert Jensen | Professor of Journalism, University of Texas
"There exists widespread cultural sensitivity to fairness and tolerance, any many significantly-noted eruptions of bigotry or misogyny seem to be met with the disclaimer that the issue might somehow open a cultural debate." Arguably, though, the debate never really occurs, and few serious outlets have investigated the cultural and pop-cultural causes and relationships of these issues and overall social consciousness. Of these few serious studies that offer useful, logical information while providing a forum for debate is Sut Jhally's Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video
. A follow-up to Dreamworlds and Dreamworlds 2 (1991 and 1995, respectively), Dreamworlds 3
continues the investigation of the social constructs of music videos and how they draw from, reinforce, and shape cultural ideas and ideals about masculinity, femininity, and individualism... Dreamworlds 3
is an important and useful work. For its study of the interplay between the larger culture and music videos, it is highly recommended for collections that focus on pop-culture; for its investigation on the objectification of people, it is essential for women's or gender studies; for the deconstruction of narrative and film techniques, it is important in film and media studies; and for anyone at all invested in the debate regarding the media's influence on culture, it is highly recommended overall."
- Educational Media Reviews Online
is a powerful and sobering piece of filmmaking, taking a mundane and familiar subject and presenting in it to shocking effect. The calm background music and the soothing voice of the narrator only add to the tension of the film. All young people, raised today on a steady diet of media and music, should be made to watch and discuss the movie, and scholars of popular culture, of gender, and of violence must pay attention to it. Happily, there are excellent support materials available, including a complete transcript
, a study guide
, and a more comprehensive curriculum for Teaching Writing, Teaching Media
which references the film. The film should also be watched in conjunction with Mean World Syndrome
, another Media Education Foundation work, since music videos are an important contributor to the mean-world experience. Finally, Dreamworlds 3
is a great production, and I look forward to -- and also in a way dread -- Dreamworlds 4.
- Jack David Eller | Anthropology Review Database
"...An intelligent meditation on the severely limited and limiting images of women (and men) in the reigning music videos."
- C.E. Emmer | Emporia State University
"...Invites far-reaching reflection upon the mutually reinforcing relationship between the content of music videos and the popular culture they reflect and define... Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries."
"A scathing examination of pop video's use and abuse of women."
- Los Angeles Times
"Young adults are exposed to a barrage of media,
including music videos, and they should be encouraged to
critically evaluate the messages implicit within the medium.
If this is one of your goals in the classroom, Dreamworlds 3
can serve you admirably. When we showed it to our
Psychology of Women class, the film resonated particularly
with black women, some of who expressed a general
frustration and ambivalence toward hip hop portrayals of
women. Several young women, as well as men, stated that
the film has helped them to better articulate their own
reactions to music videos. The film does not demand that
the audience adopt Jhally's conclusions, but instead asks
that viewers begin to develop their own critical eyes."
- Harmony B. Sullivan and Maureen C. McHugh | Sex Roles: A Journal of Research