The Persistence of Pseudo-Feminism

A few weeks ago I had ended up on Youtube, once again, and I was suggested to watch a little clip of G-Eazy and Halsey performing their song Him & I. Until then I had not yet become acquainted with neither Halsey nor her new song with G-Eazy, but since I at that time had been listening to No Limit on repeat for two months, I was ready for a new song with G-Eazy’s warm, raspy voice.

So I press play and hope that I have found a new addition for my Spotify playlist. And yes, Halsey’s deep tones play along well with G-Eazy’s rap, and their vocals sound pretty confident at this live performance on Jimmy Kimmel, which is more than what can be said about many other singers who really struggle with their live vocals.

However, I quickly lose focus from the song as G-Eazy and Halsey finally find each other on the stage and stand side by side in such different outfits, that you would think the stage they are standing on is divided into two climate zones. On the one side is G-Eazy in long, black pants and a large, beige trench coat, looking stylish and dressed for the right season- winter. Next to him Halsey is standing in a tight little dress made out of what appears to be skin colored latex. My first thought is whether the poor thing is cold, or if it’s G-Eazy who is going to break a sweat due to his outfit choice.

Not only does Halsey’s outfit scream the good old mantra “Sex sells! Sex sells!”, but it also just looks ridiculous. Am I the only one who thinks this? There must be one of them who is suffering in their lack of/abundance of clothes. This occupies many of my thoughts throughout the rest of their performance, and that’s a shame because the song is actually a pretty sweet declaration of love where they sing about their mutual feelings for each other, but it almost looks as if G-Eazy is raising himself above Halsey by them portraying rich business man and sugar babe.

But, nothing shocking there, so I do a quick search on Halsey to see if her music also interests me when G-Eazy isn’t joining her. After listening to some of her songs I find out that her music isn’t exactly my taste, but I am nearly confused when I stumble upon her music video for the song Eyes Closed and I have to take an extra look to spot the woman I just saw with corn rows and a dress that her body almost can’t fit into. Because instead now I see a girl in an oversized checkered shirt and Adidas sneakers. The video is only eight months old I notice, but the Sk8er Boi look clearly didn’t work out and it was decided that Halsey should lose the look- literally.

Now this change has been seen many times before and is not at all innovative. One thing is when new and supposedly uncertain artists let themselves be told that they have to take it off to sell, but it is not something that I expect from such a talented and established artist as Rihanna. For many girls and women, Rihanna is the ultimate Girlboss and you would think that she chose creative growth over the selling stripper style. And yet it was her stripper attitude we all received, in both music videos, for her and Drake’s megahit Work. I remember back then being left with the same questions as after the watching the Him & I video.

In the first Work music video you could say that Rihanna’s revealing mesh dress fits well into the surroundings of the Jamaican nightclub and is probably the right choice if you want to dance the night away in 30 degrees. But then why in the world does Drake show up in a winter warm track suit? This time I am certain that it’s Drake who is going to feel uncomfortable and I almost start sweating just by looking at him. But on the other hand I find that it allows me to focus more on Drake’s voice since I am not distracted by some six pack he wants to show off. So on that point I would say 1-0 to Drake.

Of course it’s easy to argue that the female body must always be bare in the hip hop and rap environment, and that nothing else can be expected. But this is certainly not only the case for hip hop. We just need to take a look at Justin Timberlake’s music video for his new single Supplies. Clearly he’s become so #woke that he can save the world, he’s just not woke enough to let Eiza Gonzalez put on some proper clothes. She should preferably save the world in an exposed stomach and exposed arms, while Justin swings around in a shirt and leather jacket.

Now should I feel indignant towards Justin Timberlake who is behaving like a pimp, or should I point my finger towards Eiza Gonzalez who didn’t decline the offer when she realized that she held no other tole in the video than to run around half naked? I am disappointed with both of them, and I’m just happy that the song is as bad as it is, so I can cast it far away. 

An example of unnecessary nudity outside of the music world can be found in the first episode from the second season of the Netflix series Easy. In the episode titled Package Thief, there are two scenes where Aubrey Plaza’s character, Lindsay, is on her way to bed with her boyfriend. Both times she goes to bed in a large sweater and naked legs, while the boyfriend is already lying in bed, his presumably naked body hidden away under the bed sheets. In the second scene we even get to see when Lindsay takes off her pants and lifts up her shirt so that her underwear are aimed towards the camera. It’s not because we see the couple have sex and the episode isn’t even about intimacy or sex, so I am missing a reason that deems it necessary to put Aubrey Plaza’s legs and butt on display. But I guess it’s just because, “Sex sells!”

There are so many people in Hollywood jumping aboard the feminism train, but I can see that the train still has a long way to go. When will we start seeing a difference in the media and pop culture, and when will women begin to say no to unnecessary nudity? Until then, they could make the wait more enjoyable by throwing in as much nudity from the men’s side.

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4 thoughts on “The Persistence of Pseudo-Feminism

  1. The thing with the whole sex sells schtick in media is somewhat dumb. To me it makes the product (at first glance) seem as though it has nothing to offer when the sexualization is over the top. As far as female artist go they may have chosen to wear some revealing outfits. Something I find personally odd is how society sees this as s problem but do the same on a guy and it’s essentially crickets.

    The media won’t change because it’s a fact that sex, nudity, action, etc gets people’s attention. Films like magic mike, 50 shades of grey, plenty of rap music videos, & Michael Bay’s transformers are a Testament to this.

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    1. Yeah, exactly. Unfortunately people keep supporting movies and music videos where the women are undressed while the men are covered up… I don’t understand why more people aren’t tired of it? Personally I would enjoy a music video much more if I didn’t have to be distracted by the unfair nudity 😂

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      1. Eh, people don’t mind some nudity. If they’re like me then for the most part they might not even notice unless it’s kinda shoved all in your face. When it comes to music videos most are shot well but are trash, especially in hip hop. A lot of the times there’s no reason to watch it so throw in a baddie or a ripped guy to convince people to watch it, which is kinda sad.

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  2. I agree, music videos seem kinda useless now. I mean, it’s not like 10 years ago when MTV would just play music videos all day. There’s not that drive to wait for a music video to come out… But have you seen the video for Kendrick Lamar’s Humble? I think that’s the kind of video that is worth making and watching!

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