She’s got tits and she’s not afraid to use them. Whilst the rest of the world may suggest that in order to ‘harden up’, people need to ‘grow a pair’, Allen’s sassy, sarcastic new single suggests that perhaps if the world ‘grew a pair of tits’, they would know what being tough is really all about.
Many women are afraid to identify with feminism in fear of independence making them look like a ‘crazy’ girl. After all, we can vote, we can drive, what more do we want? Apparently it’s embarrassing to admit that we still struggle. Never fear, Lily Allen is here to call BULLSH!T on every single one of us.
Making her long-awaited return following the birth of her two children, Allen makes no apologies for her size, sexuality, gender or career choices. Within the first few lines, Lily Allen informs us “I don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cos I’ve got a brain.” For the first time in what feels like a long time, a female singer is suggesting that women needn’t to be eye candy in order to be taken seriously.
Allen opens the clip lying on a surgery bed, covered by a sheet as old, male surgeons extract fat from her physique. They explain how ‘terrifying’ it is when women let themselves get out of shape. These men, including a suit who we assume is her publicist, suggest that other women don’t use babies as an ‘excuse’ for not being a size 0.
In fact, for the first 45 seconds of the film clip, Allen doesn’t reveal any aspect of her body but her face. I feel the tingles of a lady crush already. Immediately, you find yourself entranced by the lyrics, a phenomenon not commonly experienced in film clips today. Usually, song lyrics convey no message, simply because the image of a girl’s arse grinding on a throne sends a much stronger one. Lately, the words from most pop stars mouths are secondary to whatever object they are simulating sex with.
Throughout this clip, the women are sexualised. However, not to confuse this sexuality with anything but dark, ironic sarcasm, old men in suits are seen first enacting to the women what is sexual, teaching them how to empower their bodies. The kindly old man even teaches them how to eat a banana seductively because smart women know that increasing their potassium intake and their sex appeal don’t have to be separate endeavours. That’s what I call multi-tasking.
As Allen appears on the studio set in a tight black outfit, she begins to address and conquer almost every single issue that is wrong with the music industry today. Lily Allen dances provocatively in a line of scantily clad women, she twerks, uses coloured women as ‘homie’ accessories, she licks inanimate objects, she pours champagne all over a girl’s arse and then watches the woman pour it over her own chest. Allen also makes sure she crams in an array of not-so-subtle product placements of cameras, cars and of course, beats. If this film clip were a baseball game, she would be smacking every ball out of the park, if you catch my drift.
Not one to miss out on an opportunity, Allen addresses Robin Thicke. She asks women, “don’t you want to find someone who will objectify you/have you thought about your butt/who’s going to tear it in two?”. Allen then has balloons spell out “Lily Allen has a baggy pussy” whilst she imitates a hoedown under the words.
The fact that this video clip is so revolutionary just further points out how deeply disappointing the music industry has become. People expect everyday women to create sassy feminist responses on YouTube, but what nobody expects is for a woman within the industry to fight back. Lily Allen proves that being a feminist doesn’t mean that you send nasty tweets to other female celebrities criticising their raunchy performances.
Making a statement is about the issue, not about the people perpetuating it. Allen masters the perfect balancing act of sarcasm, irony and banter to present the ultimate response to the current landscape of MTV and the music industry as a whole. It’s hard out there today to make a statement by the women, for the women and be taken seriously – and there is certainly no denying that Allen is for the women.
Article by CYNDALL MCINERNEY, who aspires to one day find a way to balance a career as a copywriter and maintain healthy potassium levels without the assistance of an elderly man in a suit.