A still from Lily Allen’s new video ‘Hard out Here’.
By Susuana Antubam
Originally posted on Susuana’s Adventures in ULU Land
So, earlier on facebook I posted a status saying:
“People need to take a big (intersectional) feminist think before they post that Lily Allen video.”
Lily Allen’s video to her new song ‘Hard Out Here’, ”mocks every stupid sexist pop video you’ve seen in the last five years” says the New Statesmen (not-so-intersectional) feminists. So as the saying goes “My Feminism Will Be Intersectional Or It Will Be Bullshit:” Well this video is bullshit. What it looks like to me is a video for “it’s hard out here for us white women, fuck black women”. Now I know that may sound harsh. But you know what else is harsh? Having to see white women constantly use the bodies of women of colour to achieve their goals.
So the video starts of with Lily on an operating table and we’re being made to assume that she’s undergoing plastic surgery. So she sings about how the music industry is sexist towards women. But then she goes on about she doesn’t need to shake her arse because she has a brain. Hmmm. Then she talks about how there are double standards when it comes to looking at female sexuality, saying: “If I told you about my sex life, you’d call me a slut” SO! Feminist Lily Allen says not to slut-shame her and women who like to have sex lots (fair and feminist point) BUT Feminist Lily Allen also says if you shake your arse, you’re only doing it because you lack intellect. Wow Ok. So on to the next scene where she’s shooting a music video with backing dancers who are mostly black women. Wait – so Lily Allen was getting all ready on operating table so that she fits in when she goes to get her twerk on with black women – Black women in a lot less clothing than Lily ”shaking their arses”.
All the cut-aways are of parts of their bodies not Lily’s. Lily at a few points tries to twerk it like a hip-hop honey at one point, like those brainless women who shake their arses (but guyz its ok, its satire LOL)
Lily Allen is a popstar singing about how its “hard out here for a bitch” – in a hip-hop video? Why couldn’t she stick to her own genre and talk about inherent sexism in pop culture. Why? Probably because of the same virus that’s being going around for a long time, where white women just can’t help use bodies of women of colour as props. Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Miley Cyrus, the list goes on.
For non-WOC who are wondering when it is ok to use black women’s bodies as props for a music video, here are some multiple choice options:
1) When you’re showing that the honeys love you and your new drive
2) When you’re showing that you’re down with the hood and the twerking hype
3) When you’re showing that you’re down with the hood and the twerking hype (but ironically)
4) Not fucking ever
While I’m sure that there are many opinions hovering around about the way black women are portrayed and treated in hip-hop, I’m sure we don’t need it being shown by Lily Allen because last time I checked, black women (even those who shake their asses for whatever reason) had brains and *gasps* mouths and are perfectly able to speak for ourselves.
Now Lily Allen may not be the first, and unfortunately she probably won’t be the last woman to do this. But, she most probably wont be the last if white feminists keep creating a protective bubble around her and people like her. I’m pretty sure the non-feminist things were avoidable and we shouldn’t be making excuses for them. Being an intersectional feminist means being critical, it means not shitting on another liberation group to get your own way, it means recognising where different oppressions intersect and showing solidarity. Yes Lily Allen mocked some sexist videos, she also objectified black women, slut shamed and body shamed. Also using “balls” and “tits” to define people’s genders is sooo last wave.
If that’s your idea of great feminism, I suggest you check yourself, before you wreck yourself.