FEMINIST FRIDAY: Sticking It To “The Man” With These Powerful New Viral Videos

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday – that part of our week where we take a break from our regular programming to fangirl over our 3 fave videos of the moment, centered around a feminist theme. This week it’s all about taking down the patriarchy!

Let’s get right into it, kicking things off with a video that has gone viral and then some! Actress and former New York Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon narrates and hosts this epic video which is a promo for Girls Girls Girls Mag. It has already attracted more than 2.2 million views on Vimeo and countless shares, since its release, watching the ‘Sex and the City’ star recite powerful words written by poet Camille Rainville.

We can completely understand why this video has struck such a chord with so many people, especially women. Running through a long (but certainly not exhaustive) list of unofficial “rules” that women are taught to adhere to from a young age, we begin to realize just how tight the grip of patriarchy still is on society, even in our empowered age where feminism is everywhere.

“Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short; your shirt is too low. Don’t show so much skin, cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative, you’re asking for it…Don’t be too fat, don’t be too thin. Eat up, slim down. Stop eating so much. Order a salad, don’t eat carbs. God, you look like a skeleton!” she recites.

It’s worth watching this video in full, then watching it again, and then sharing it with every person in your life, not just women. Because the way this video puts it into perspective, we certainly hope men can get just a glimpse of what women have to deal with on a daily basis. And on that note, we’d love to see a similar video being made about the toxic messages about masculinity that men are bombarded with. Conversation starters like these are going to go a long way in our ongoing collective cultural goal for gender equality.

The second video this week shows just how damaging and dangerous patriarchal control of society can be when it is allowed to dictate everything from public policy to everyday rules. In Saudi Arabia, where women activists have faced jail and the threat of worse when fighting for the right to vote, drive and travel about without a male guardian, a female artist landed in deep water with authorities after making (wait for it…) a music video that highlights the city of Mecca. Rapper named Asayel Slay created a rap song called “Girl of Mecca.” In the lyrics, she praises women from the city as “powerful and beautiful,” and rapping “our respect to other girls but the Mecca girl is sugar candy.” The track was accompanied with a video of Slay dancing around a cafe with men and women from the city, according to Complex.com.

Despite the fact that there is no nudity, no violence, no cursing, no drug use or anything that would be normally considered “untoward” even in the most conservative of cultures, the governor of Mecca ordered her to be arrested because he claimed it offends the customs and traditions of the people of Mecca. The video has also been removed from Youtube.

Slay’s arrest is in line with the way other female activists and artists have been treated in Saudi Arabia for daring to challenge the patriarchal status quo and dare to forge new pathways of freedom for other women.

But thanks to social media and the internet, Slay’s work and her message cannot be hidden, as it has been shared on Twitter. You can watch the video below. For us it is a reminder that there are women in other parts of the world who face much greater obstacles, and who need feminist voices speaking out in support of what they do.

The final video this week comes from an artist who knows a thing or two about sticking it to “the man”, with her latest music video containing overt as well as subtle messages about taking on the patriarchy. Taylor Swift’s ‘The Man’ sees her (SPOILER ALERT!!) dressed up in prosthetics to play the role of a male “hero”-type that we are all familiar with. If you’ve seen her Netflix documentary ‘Miss Americana’ you will know some of her deeply personal story of blossoming into an artist who has taken ownership of her identity, music and public persona in a way that sadly hasn’t always pleased everyone.

In this brilliant music video which she directed, we see “the man” in a range of scenarios where he is praised, waited-upon and fawned over in a way that is very familiar, but also highly controversial when women have dared to act the same way. We see him on a yacht surrounded by a group of bikini-clad women strewn about like objects. But juxtapose that with the way Taylor has been criticized for her boyfriends and relationships.

We see him on a tennis court throwing balls, smashing rackets and rudely gesturing at the umpire, John McEnroe style. Now juxtapose that with the way international media tone-policed Serena Williams for her emotional outbursts that carried undertones of racism in some instances. There was also a couple of hidden messages about Taylor’s very public feud with former label boss Scooter Braun who refused to allow the singer to retain ownership of her previous albums. All in all this is a music video that may offer a light-hearted and often humorous look at the ridiculous patriarchal double standards in society, but it also shows how these standards can negatively impact women of all types, no matter how rich or famous you are. We are definitely Team Taylor in this fight!

The final video this week…

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