Lily Allen’s video for her song “Hard Out Here” has caused a social media frenzy to fill copy. Sexist, racist, banana oral fixation and champagne on the mammaries of gyrating dancers.
Lily does try to mention “if you’ve missed the sarcasm you’ve misunderstood” and while briefly talking about it on twitter the question asked was how do you parody something objectionable without depicting it?
Lily Allen – “Hard Out There”
I sympathise with Holly McNish’s points, her post is well worth a read, and makes the case:
So some of you say that she has further perpetuated the problem by again sexualising girls and having them all twerking in slow motion with champagne pouring down their lithe bodies.
But How else can you show what you are revolting against, without SHOWING IT? When we see movies about War, Murder or Crime, we don’t kick off that they showed the perpetrations. We understand that we are being told a story clearly to identify the evils.
When we watch films about Murder and Kidnapping, we know that we are being shown the horror of an act. We don’t expect Liam Neeson to just sit there for two hours and describe how bad it is… We need to SEE it. For Impact. [Source]
Take the last “Rambo” film. It depicted horrific human rights abuses in Burma, and showed what a human body goes through via land mines, bullets, shells and heavy weaponry. It kept showing that to such an extent that the violence was the reason to watch, not just to add realism to make a message on Burma resonate with the audience. The gore became a star in it’s own right, and morbid compulsive viewing.
We hold the Lily Allen video to a higher standard than other pop videos because it sets out to satirise sexist anti-feminist gender stereotypes. Instead it uses them to ensure it will receive airtime on music video channels. It cashes in the same way the other videos do. The song is brilliant but Lily’s “if you miss the sarcasm you’ve misunderstood” message is lost in the poor concept of a music video that plays into the things the song takes to task.
Agent Provocateur “Control Yourself”
The reason for mentioning the Agent Provocateur video “Control Yourself”, which stars Melissa George, is because the concept is to satirise the fashion world, while still making lingerie sexy to be bought. The art direction, and being bold about challenging human body and anti-gay attitudes, is well told in the video.
It is the narrative of the cinematography dealing with the subject matter that it resonates with the audience. There is no misunderstanding Lily Allen’s song for the listener, but it is the pop video director and story teller who misunderstands Lily’s song.
Which is why the video for “Hard Out There” is pants while “Control Yourself” is lingerie.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog