FEMINIST FRIDAY: Female Gazing Charli XCX’s ‘Boys’ Music Video & Poet Slams Toxic Masculinity

Welcome to this week’s edition of Feminist Friday, the column where we get to interrupt our regular programming to share a handful of our fave videos of the moment, especially those that have a feminist and intersectional message. This week we’re focusing on toxic masculinity, and environmental activism in South Africa fostering sisterhood. But first up, British pop star Charli XCX‘s new music video ‘Boys’ is giving all the female gaze feels!

Notably absent from the video is Charli herself, an avid feminist who took the opportunity to flip the script on the stereotypical gender roles seen in a lot of music videos. Instead of seeing women in provocative, sexual, sensual and coy scenarios as we’re SO used to seeing, Charli put a whole bunch of dudes in those situations instead to make a serious point, albeit in a light-hearted way.

“The whole idea behind the video was to avert the male gaze. I made a conscious decision to not be in the video and to have all the guys doing the sexy things that girls are normally doing — which I think they enjoyed,” she told Junkee.com.

Among the recognizable faces are Riz Ahmed, Diplo, Joe Jonas, Mark Ronson, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Charlie Puth, Chromeo, Jack Antonoff, and Will.I.Am. Seeing them dance half naked with champagne, have pillow fights, cuddle puppies, gaze longingly at the camera and even imitate that famous ‘American Beauty’ scene with Mena Suvari surrounded by falling rose petals on the ceiling is a refreshing change.

Charli wanted to make a point about women often being objectified in videos (as well as other forms of media) and the way to do this was flipping the script so viewers can see how ridiculous, and even demeaning, it is when you see men in the same position. To be a woman in the music biz and not play into gender conventions and pressures is a revolutionary act in itself, and we hope her message carries far and wide.

We’ve previously shared videos from Athleta’s awesome ‘Power of She’ campaign, and we love how they are continuing to release short films to promote the message of sisterhood around the world. For 2017, they have found some pretty badass women to highlight and inspire their customers.

“Our mission is to really ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. Every time we talk about the next season’s Power of She campaign, we’re looking for amazing, inspiring stories about women and girls who are making an impact on the community through a foundation of health, wellness, and fitness,” said Sheila Shekar, Athleta’s Senior Director of Brand Marketing.

The video below is all about South African environmental activist Hanli Prinsloo, a professional free diver and ocean conservationist who founded The I AM WATER Ocean Conservationist Trust in 2010, according to Brit+Co. Hansli is not only teaching local girls about the ocean, but also instilling confidence in them along the way. Her organization’s mission is to: “ignite a movement of blue minds across the planet, to facilitate physical and emotional connections to the aquatic environment, to build understanding of the interdependence of healthy humans and healthy oceans, and to influence behaviors to protect our global seas.”

Other stories featured throughout the 2017 campaign will include 98-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga teacher; Club 21, a support system and yoga group for children with Down syndrome and their parents; Every Mother Counts, a running team that raises awareness and funds to provide maternal care to women worldwide; and Kate Parker, a photographer whose Strong Is the New Pretty campaign encourages young girls to ignore traditional female stereotypes and embrace their power.

Our last video comes from slam poet Simar Singh, who recently performed a piece called “How To Be A Man” for an UnErase Poetry event in Mumbai, India. Simar is the founder of the poetry group, and is known for using his platform and art to bust stereotypes and challenge especially gender conventions prominent in his home country.

In this video, he specifically talks about toxic masculinity, the social expectations and pressures put on men, and also touches on mental illness and depression.

With lines like “They told me that I will soon be the man of the house, when I was just 6 years old”, and “He’d make a decent writer, but an engineer sounded more wise”, he explains how the “man up!” phrase becomes a way of keeping men bound to the patriarchy, often to their own detriment.

He is unafraid to talk about feminism and how even in typical conservative societies like in India where in many parts women are not equal and men are considered more important, it is to the benefit of men to break out of these mindsets and be allowed to define masculinity on their own terms. Watch him sound off below:



One Comment

  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: Singer Kacy Hill's Sexual Fluidity Makes Her Feel "Like A Woman" - GirlTalkHQ

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