Can we talk about the new Drake video?
I had only seen the thousands of memes (which are hilarious BTW!) about his Grandad dancing online but only recently was I shown the actual video, which to be fair, was complete and utter horse shit, his dancing being the least of its problems.
I don’t usually watch music video’s, and if I do its only because I’ve been told there’s something in them to watch (Hoziers ‘Take me to Church’ was one). So it’s been a while since I have actually witnessed this, and upon watching the piece of crap, I came to the realization that, yes, this is why I stopped watching and listening to mainstream music. Women are used as backdrops, as decorative wallpaper for the male gaze, as objects of affection. This is not a new concept, most pop/rap/mainstream music is guilty of doing this.
This is why I stopped watching music video channels, because it’s fucking everywhere. It appears the ‘Sex Sells’ concept is taking over every aspect of society. Women are portrayed in hyper sexual ways on everything from Women’s magazines…yes women’s magazines (teaching women that this is what is wanted of us!) to perfume advertisements and feckin’ crisps. Its prevalent and unstoppable.
So I really shouldn’t have been surprised by this Drake video. There he was, dancing like a dad at a family wedding, and suddenly we are thrown a shot of four silhouetted women in various positions on a staircase. They appear to have nothing to do with the song itself, story wise, but that’s also not a new concept, they don’t have to be a part of the story, they just have to look good right?
However, compared to other music videos who have turned women into wallpaper, Drake goes one step further, by silhouetting them, so now their features, their individuality is also taken away, its their form, their shape that matters. They are nothing but blacked out pieces of shapely artwork, made to emphasize …what exactly? They have no purpose, no voices, no faces, just bodies. Bodies in various sexually suggestive poses, meant purely for the pleasure of the male gaze.
I researched a bit to see if anybody else was writing about the women in this video and the way they are portrayed, and came across an article entitled Why Drake’s new Video for ‘Hotline Bling’ Is Body Positive. In it it states:
“The opening of the video — a sex line call center — could have easily felt like an exploitation of female sexuality, but the diverse representations of women alongside the fun environment and bright colors are not just body positive, but a positive statement for sex workers.”
I hate to be that person, but I disagree…for so many reasons. One: yes the women represent all types of women, but for some reason,even though they are call girls, they are all wearing identical clothing. Why would they be made wear a uniform for over the phone work? Well, to me its just another way of taking their individuality, their identities, they are nothing but sex workers. Two: yes they are all differently shaped women, but notice how diverse body shapes really means Big butts and big boobs? Not women of completely full figures, these women may have different body shapes and represent a diversity in body image, but they are not totally going against beauty standards. Big butts are sex related, it is not freedom from the conformity of beauty standards, its adhering to the change in beauty standards.
This same article then says:
“But the true stars (as with most music videos, let’s be honest) are the female dancers stealing the show from Drake.”
Again I must sigh with disbelief. Yes most female dancers do steal the show, because they are wholly sexualized and compared to Drakes dancing, they are quite appealing. That’s not body positive, its body slavery. Its suggesting that women’s bodies are the focal point because they are sexy and aesthetically pleasing (to the male viewers), as opposed to the male stars who just stand there dancing like they’ve just been introduced to the whole concept of moving to music.
And can we please stop suggesting that every male singer who doesn’t fully conform to the misogynistic portrayals of women is somebody who actually really appreciates women! There is a difference between appreciating the female form (Which is what Drake is doing) and actually respecting women and not sexualizing them in every way possible. If Drake really respected women then why is he singing about leaving a girl and not wanting her to move on?
“going places where you don’t belong…You used to always stay at home, used to be a good girl…“.
Wait….did he just say that? Did he actually say that?!
Yep, not only is Drake flat out saying that she belongs at home….He also went that step further and called her… a bad girl! Because the Good/bad girl dynamic is the oldest example of misogyny stemming from ancient Greece where women were either dutiful, quiet, sober wives or street prostitutes…no in between. That’s the difference between a good girl and a bad girl. A good girl lives up to patriarchal expectations, fulfilling the innocent and fragile role, while also giving in to what her male counterpart wants sexually, because she can only be sexual if he wants her to be. The bad girl does the opposite, she rebels against this and does whatever the fuck she wants. We’ve heard it before in other songs, most notably the absolute trashiest, most sexist and repulsive song ever: Blurred lines. While singing about a girl pretending to not want sex, (because if they openly want it, then they are bad), Thicke states:
“But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty“
Yeah, because a girl who pretends to not want sex, but actually really wants it is a good girl and deserves to have her ass tore in two, her hair pulled and get blasted, not because she wants it, but because he does, and that makes her a good girl. But its OK because like the #notallmen whine, he’s “A nice guy…“.
Drakes song isn’t female positive, it’s patriarchal bullshit. It’s pigeon holing women into the sexy, but only if a man wants you to be sexy box. Yeah he’s appreciating women with big butts, but again, that’s not respect, it’s using women for their bodies. So, for now I’m steering clear of mainstream music, because that shit is getting old, and so am I, my blood pressure is at risk when I watch videos like that. I can’t just sit there and be all ‘No its fine, whatever, that’s just life‘, I give out, I get annoyed and angry at the fact that people are actually defending this crap. Stop it.
For the love of all things, just be honest about it, instead of hiding behind the ‘female appreciation‘ bullshit. On that note, here’s basically how I’m feeling about mainstream music…..