Women continue to dominate music and there’s no slowing them down, especially in today’s climate where they are fighting back against their oppressors.
Thanks to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, women are now more empowered to speak up in any way they can. Many of them turn to music or creating music videos to address issues like discrimination and double standards. Some even go as far as flipping the script and playing conventionally masculine roles in videos to show that men get away with sh*t because, well, they’re men. They’re basically mocking patriarchal standards and toxic masculinity, as well as redefining how women are portrayed in music videos.
It’s important to note that this isn’t an entirely new concept. We’ve already seen music videos before the #MeToo movement went into full swing. But since it’s Women’s Month right now, it’s only right that we talk about these music videos and maybe even add these songs to our playlists.
“The Man” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s newest music video features her in boy drag, playing an arrogant man who manspreads in the subway, rides a yacht with women in bikinis and gets applause for doing the bare minimum. It features callbacks to pop culture like “Wolf of Wall Street,” aka a film filled to the brim with toxic male characters, and that time Serena Williams received three game penalties for simply expressing her frustrations during the 2018 US Open. Swift also took shots at Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records for not allowing her to own her music.
“STFU!” by Rina Sawayama
The “STFU!” MV tackles race fetishism and toxic masculinity, issues that Rina Sawayama can relate to as a Japanese woman living in the UK. In the video, Sawayama goes from being a soft-spoken woman on a bad date to an aggressive woman that represents her anger and frustration towards the situation. The song itself is about wanting to tell disrespectful people to STFU.
“Boys” by Lizzo
In “Boys,” Lizzo sings about not being picky with the men she wants to be with. The music video also includes a diverse mix of men while Lizzo and her backup dancers ridicule male aggression by gritting their teeth and balling their fists. Study Breaks called it a “total takedown and subsequent redefinition of masculinity.”
“If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé
The iconic gender role swap in “If I Were a Boy” is a great analysis of how stereotyping affects relationships. The video shows Beyoncé playing a conventionally masculine role where she’s more focused on work and being dismissive of her spouse when she’s accused of being unfaithful. Meanwhile, the husband stays at home to clean and take care of the kids, as well as deal with his spouse’s emotional labor. We know that these traits aren’t exclusive to certain genders, but “If I Were a Boy” focused on how society imposed these roles onto men and women.