Feminism Friday: You and I and Beautiful

John Legend’s video of You and I (Nobody in the World) is freaking gorgeous. If you watched it and didn’t get at least a little teary, I’m pretty sure you are lying. It features a whole variety of women of every shape and color and age, which is AMAZING. I could watch the video so many times in a row and still notice something new or find a new woman to swoon over.

Women who box! Women who are butch! Women who are pregnant! Women who were assigned male at birth! Women who survived breast cancer! Women who have Down Syndrome! Women with braces! Women with birthmarks!

I COULD GO ON ALL DAY.

And the very best part of this is the entire time, he’s singing about how amazing she is, so the message is totally 100% that women of every possible presentation are amazing and wonderful.

But. There is one tiny line at the very beginning that just makes me twitch.

“You fix your make up just so. Guess you don’t know you’re beautiful.”

Which sort of takes the idea that she’s perfect and beautiful and turns it so that she’s only beautiful when she isn’t wearing makeup – or maybe that she’s only beautiful if she caters to what he finds attractive.

Interestingly to this conversation, I don’t wear make up. I don’t wear it because I don’t like it. I’m super self conscious when I am wearing it and it’s stressful because I’m freaked out about touching my face or getting it on my clothes or whatever. So I don’t wear make up.

But that has jack shit to do with what other people think about how I look with or without it.

I do not know ONE SINGLE WOMAN who wears make up so that people will find her beautiful. I know plenty of women who wear make up because it makes them feel more confident, or because they like color, or even because they like how they look with it on.

Pros: Amazing amazing AMAZING video.

Cons: My make up has nothing to do with what you find attractive, dude.

Feminism Grade: A-

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Feminism Friday: My Anaconda Don’t

Nicki Minaj shocked a lot of people with her Anaconda video. It has women writhing and very barely dressed, and the whole entire video predominantly features her ass. It features lot of other women’s asses, too, but Nicki’s gets star billing.

I find it..interesting.

Because sure, you have writhing, mostly naked women, which I would normally be against due to objectification, but in Anaconda, it comes across less as objectification of those women and more a power play. Less like, “I shake this to turn you on,” and more like, “YOU ARE HELPLESS AGAINST THE POWER OF MY ASS.”

Most of the video, Nicki looks contemptuous, not seductive – she’s got an awesome body, she knows it, and she owns you with it, and she knows that, too.

My personal favorite part is when she starts to seductively eat a banana – then instead, breaks it in two, hacks it with a knife, and then tosses it away with a disgusted look. Also worth mentioning is when the dude she’s grinding on in the end tries to lay a hand on her ass, she swats it away and walks off without looking back as he stares after her helplessly.

On the down side, Nicki falls back into body shaming OTHER women with about five or six repetitions in a row of “Fuck those skinny bitches”, and this is not how we do feminism, people. We do not build ourselves up by knocking other women down. Boo.

Pros: Nicki owns the world with her ass and doesn’t give a shit if it turns you on or not.

Cons: Fuck those skinny bitches.

Feminism grade: B

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Feminism Friday: Girls and Country Songs

This one hasn’t had nearly enough air time, so I’m sharing because not only is it awesome and feminist, it’s also feminism and COUNTRY MUSIC, which is kind of a big deal.

Maddie and Tae wrote “Girl in a Country Song” in reaction to several country songs by male singers over the past few years – all of which feature girls in daisy dukes and bikini tops shaking their asses for the male singers.

And, to be honest, the video starts with girls in daisy dukes and bikini tops walking down a dirt road, and three dudes whistling at them from the tailgate of a truck.

But then either Maddie or Tae hits a switch that says Role Reversal, and the first time I watched the video I laughed so hard I cried.

My personal favorite bit of the video is a brief 5 second look at the girls in daisy dukes and bikini tops trying to adjust what they’re wearing into any semblance of something comfortable – they aren’t quite trying to dislodge a wedgie, but it’s close.

Pros: Hilarious. And again, FEMINISM IN COUNTRY MUSIC.

Cons: Some people would say that the con is that it’s country music, but shut up, I love country music.

Feminism Grade: A+

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Feminism Friday: The Difference Between Luh and Love

J. Lo came out with the video for “I Luh Ya Papi” several months ago and it had to be a part of Feminism Friday (which, by the way, isn’t a thing anywhere but at the spiral, in case you were wondering) just on general principle.

It starts with Jennifer and her..friends? Crew? Entourage? Something? Sitting down with the dude who is trying to pitch how they will film her new video, which is, amazingly enough, “I Luh Ya Papi.” He suggests various ridiculous things to an attempting to be polite Jennifer, like a zoo or a water park, and makes some dumb comment about how people will think she’s saying “I Luh Ya PUPPY.”

He’s an idiot, and she has class. Moving on.

Her crew cackled at each dumb suggestion and finally say that if she was a guy, they’d be shooting this thing at a mansion or a yacht and would be objectifying the hell out of a bunch of half-naked women.

Cue J. Lo’s fabulous fantasy sequence, where she and her crew sing and dance while surrounded by men in tiny swimsuits. The camera lingers on a man soaping himself up while washing a car and the ladies delight in tugging down various speedos a bit.

Pros: Turns the typical female objectification on its head. It’s also a fun song, and J Lo is an awesome dancer.

Cons: I can hear the cries of “Not all men!” from here. Would have also liked to see more writhing from the men.

Feminism Grade: A

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Feminism Friday: All About That Booty

By this time, I’m fairly sure that everybody and their dog has heard Meghan Trainor’s song All About That Bass. And you should have, because it is ridiculously catchy and fun and I listened to it about five times in the row just a few minutes ago because I love it.

It’s sung by a girl who is not a skinny teeny thing, and actually that’s the first thing she says: “I guess it’s pretty clear I ain’t no size 2,” which is AWESOME, because music and people everywhere need to see more of that.

BUT.

As ridiculously catchy and fun as it is, it is also problematic from a feminist perspective.

See, the very next thing Meghan Trainor says about not being size 2 is that she can “shake it like [she's] supposed to do.”

Wait. We’re SUPPOSED to shake it? Why? I can’t walk like that – I feel stupid and then I fall over.

I, personally, love the chorus, about how her momma always told her not to worry about her size, because body positivity, yay!

And then we lose it with the next line: “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

So it’s ok to be fat so long as the boys still like your body!

*facepalm*

And it’s weird, because one thing she repeats several times is “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”

But only if the boys like your booty?

Pros: Wildly singable, catchy phrases. Plus size singer.

Cons: Conflicting info on if you are attractive or not, depending on your butt. Still gives male opinion of your looks priority over how you feel about yourself. I also have concerns over the portrayal of people of color in the video.

Feminism grade: C

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