Jennifer Lopez Tracks The Evolution Of Women’s Rights In America In ‘Ain’t Your Mama’

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We love the emphasis on female empowerment seen in music lately. While it has always been existent throughout various periods of music, at no time has it been more important than now, especially in light of America looking to possibly elect its first female president!

One artist who is well used to pushing the boundaries and creating artistic commentary on social issues through the lens of her music is Jennifer Lopez. She has tackled child trafficking as well as sexism toward women in the music industry in her previous music videos. You can always count on JLo to know what’s up in society and give her opinions via her music.

In light of one of the most divisive, historic and crazy elections in US history, Jlo chose to use her new song ‘Ain’t Your Mama’ as a platform to talk about the history of women’s rights in America in a light-hearted way.

Jenny-from-the-block (are we still allowed to call her that?) enters the video as a disheveled news reporter just having finished a rough conversation with her partner on the phone about responsibilities. The scene is a play on fed-up news anchor Howard Beale from the movie ‘Network’, switching the iconic line from “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” to, more simply, “I ain’t your mama.”

She then sits down at her news desk and begins to “read the news” (sing her track) but not before we hear a sampling of current Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s famous “Women’s Rights” speech from the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women.

If you click on the link to watch the above video on Youtube, there is a comment claiming “Jlo brought me here from I ain’t your mama”. With so much negativity surrounding this US political election, it is nice to see this landmark speech being shown in a different context, as it leads into the history of women’s progress in America through various decades.

We see Jennifer Lopez dressed up as a 50’s housewife serving her husband dinner, in the vein of June Cleaver, yet she is distracted by the female empowerment message being broadcast on her TV by the newsreader Jlo.

Channeling ‘Mad Men’s Joan Holloway with the signature red beehive sitting at a typewriter, the progression of women in the workplace, yet not in positions of authority alongside men, is seen next. Sabienna Bowman, writing for Bustle about the video says although the themes of empowerment are presented through a romantic relationship in some of the settings, the message is clear and nonetheless important.

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“There’s a lot of strong imagery packed into five minutes, and it reads as a call to arms for women to continue to speak out because the feminist movement is far from over. By using history as a touchstone, Lopez shines a light on the continuing importance of feminism, and the need for women to refuse to be silenced in any situation,” she writes.

Among other scenarios, we see Jlo working at a soda factory styled in a way paying homage to the symbolism of Rosie the Riveter, the real life woman who signaled the influx of women in the workforce. When the men across America were off fighting the war, the factories and other places of work were left empty and women were called upon to step into their roles.

The move to engage women in the workforce was done out of necessity, that women’s rights, per se. Nevertheless, it became a turning point for the history of women in the country and today Rosie is still a feminist icon which women across numerous generations can identify with.

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Before we see Jlo in the obligatory choreographed dance sequence on a city street with a group of back-up dancers (c’mon, this IS Jenny from the Block, after all!) we get to see one last iteration of the American woman in the work place. Jlo sports a very 1980’s hair-style and outfit in an office where she gets very visibly shutout by a male colleague in a boardroom meeting. The next scene we see is Jlo “solving” a rubix cube (a popular 80’s icon) and trashing the office space as if to say “screw you all!”

The message of “ain’t your mama” could be taken a number of ways, but we like that art and music often leave creative commentary open to interpretation by audiences. The historic feminist references are pretty clear, however, yet they are juxtaposed with the idea of women having progressed so far throughout the last 50 years, yet still having a long way to go.

Female empowerment in mainstream media and entertainment has certainly made its way to the top of pop culture bubble, but we hope it is more than just a passing phase. If celebrities like Jennifer Lopez can find a way to draw her fans’ attention to important political and social issues through a non-threatening medium like music, perhaps it will eventually have a lasting effect on the way we think about gender issues, the same way Beyonce has done with race, Madonna with sexuality, Bob Dylan did with political issues, Paul Simon did with apartheid, and U2 did with war.

Take a look at ‘Ain’t Your Mama’ below:


 

 

 

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  1. Pingback: These Boundary-Pushing Campaigns Are Evidence Of The Body Positive Fashion Revolution - GirlTalkHQ

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