By: Chris Scanlon
In 1952 “Singing in the Rain” portrayed a vision of Gene Kelly doing just that, singing and dancing in the rain. Nearly 60 years ago rain was something that you did not want to be caught in, it was not pleasant, and in a sense represented sadness which we usually think of when we think of rain. In 2003 Beyonce Knowles released the song and music video for “Crazy In Love”, in which she also dances in the rain, even though it’s from a fire hydrant the shots of her dancing propose it’s rain, either way she’s wet.
Now watch the difference between Gene Kelly in 1952, mainly at the part from 2:13-4:00, it’s a musical and dance interlude and compare that to the Beyonce “Crazy In Love” video at the part from 2:42-3:33 which is also a part focused mainly on the dancing.
Let’s look at the similarities between these two parts: the similarity is that both of these artists are dancing while in the rain and both of them seem to enjoy it, also the water is used as a prop to help prove the metaphor these parts are portraying and that’s where the differences start. In Gene Kelly’s bit, rain is used to show that he’s so happy that it doesn’t matter it’s raining out like normal people do (shown through the people running from the rain earlier in the video). In Beyonce’s part rain is used to portray sex and portray her as a sexual object.
Some may think that it’s the difference between the way men and women are portrayed in these videos, which is true, but take a look at 1:35 in “Singing in the Rain” and a woman passes by Gene singing and dancing in the rain but she’s not dressed in skin tight clothing dancing and touching herself. The first thing that needs to be looked at is the difference in time periods, in the 1950’s there wasn’t much to portray “sex”, especially not rain (once again shown through people running away from it, not very sexy). But now our culture is finding a million different ways to portray people, mainly women, as sex objects. When something as simple as water is automatically used to define something such as sex we can understand where our generation’s thoughts are exactly, and that’s on sex.
Overall I think that it is just worth noticing that in a matter of 50-60 years we can portray something that doesn’t relate to sex and make it about that, if you make a woman dance sexy in/on/around it it’s automatically sexy and it’s what our mass media does to sell products. Finally, take a look at these two commercial for water one featuring Naomi Campbell, the other featuring Beyonce.
Notice that now it’s not just in music videos, but a woman being around water now has a strong sexual meaning that it didn’t (obviously) when Gene Kelly was around dancing in the rain otherwise he would have been accompanied by an entourage of scantily dressed women who loved dancing in the rain just as much as he did.