Were you on planet Earth last Saturday? The grand unveiling of the John Lewis advert. Woodland, animals, sentimental and a Keane cover being sung by Lily Allen.
Fast forward 48 hours and it seems that Ms Allen has re-launched her career after having her two children. Her new song “Hard out Here” is what I think is supposed to be a piss take of the pop culture in which women dwell, the music industry in particular. I say supposed to be, because I’m unsure. It’s a bit rude, there’s some half-arsed feminist notions flung in between the half-naked women dancing and the use of the word bitch being flung about. Here’s the video.
The video opens with Lily Allen having liposuction done, her agent is next to her (male) obviously indicating that he’s pushed her into it, and he’s on the phone to say that Letterman “turned her down” and “how did she allow herself to get like this (overweight)?” Lily Allen responds by saying it’s because she had two children.
The correct answer is of course, “get like what?” A perfectly healthy size 10-12? The fact that she makes excuses for the way she is so early on filled me with hope. I thought, “Good for you! This is going to be a complete political parody”. Then it all went a bit, ahem, tits up. I don’t know if I’m being dense or if it’s so high brow culture I just don’t comprehend.
Then we get a rendition of Lily Allen singing;
“I’m don’t shake my arse on TV because I’m not brain dead … and you won’t find me in the kitchen, I’ll be in the studio”.
So, irony or not, she’s managed to shit all over the women who have been paid to strip off and dance in her video … oh and she’s managed to upset the women who are at home in the kitchen, perhaps because they choose to be or perhaps not, or perhaps because they’re chefs. Lots of feminists don’t agree with the provocatively naked women in magazines and music videos, but we don’t call them brain dead. We don’t blame the women, we blame the people buying into it.
You see, the camera flips to a TV on the wall showing, what I’ll call “women of colour” because I’m unsure of their ethnicity, dancing in a music video wearing not a lot. It seems a bit stereotyped … a bit … yes [white] women have it bad in the world of equality … but don’t feel so bad, women of colour have it worse, they’re STILL in videos wearing very little and shaking their bums. It’s at this point I’d like to add that their bums were bigger than a size 12; so as far as irony goes…
Then she launches into some sort of (I don’t know the musical term) computer generated noise. Calling women bitches. It’s hard for a bitch. It’s hard out here for a bitch. Out here. As if she’s alone in the world of being a woman. Calling us bitches … trying to reclaim the word? No. Trying to associate the word bitch the same way men do? Hasn’t it been a long standing school of thought that if women call themselves and each other bitches then it makes ok for men to do the same?
It’s ironic. It’s a piss take. I get it. That said, those women still had to take their clothes off and have champagne poured over their arses.
“If you can’t detect sarcasm, you misunderstood”. Yes, just like when men say “it was a joke”… “I was kidding”. Yes, that makes it all fine. Just because you say “no offence” before a sentence, doesn’t give you carte blanche to be a moron.
I felt that the women were dehumanised, and Lily Allen repeatedly using the word bitch will have a reverse effect.