I recently watched the music video to Jennifer Lopez’s new song “I Luh Ya, Papi”. The song is super catchy, and the video wasn’t any different. Jennifer starts out with a group of gal pals, chatting it up with her agent. He’s suggesting different ideas for her new music video, and one of her posse mentions how women are always objectified in the music industry.
What happens next is nothing short of perfection: social commentary by J. Lo. Let me just give you a play-by-play.
Cue Jennifer Lopez fully clothed, sexy as hell, and surrounded by naked men on a bed. Men just lying around, naked, for no reason. It happens all the time to women in music videos, but no-one ever thinks anything of it. Why are all those girls naked? What just happened? Why is that man clothed? Thank you, J. Lo, for turning the tables and instead, being the one to wake up next to hot men. Moving on….
Cue her being a badass, with copious amounts of bling, dancing it up like she traditionally does. Flashing back and forth between her putting on even more bling, which she undoubtedly bought herself, while more hot men shower behind her! Why can’t I just be you, J. Lo?
It gets even better! A pool scene – men feeding women grapes. They’re naked, the women dressed classy and appropriately, still hot though. BOOM! Traditional carwash scene – there are sponges being wrung out over MEN. There are suds and water and cars, and muscular man bodies everywhere with close up shots of butts and abs. And it doesn’t stop here.
Of course, as in tradition hip hop culture, there has to be some butt shaking – twerking, if you must. CUE THE MAN BUTTS ALL IN J. LO’S FACE. It honestly can’t get any better.
This video is so theatrical, it’s almost a joke – but it’s not, because J. Lo is a genius and is sending a strong message with it. It may seem strange or funny for men to be objectified and sprawled out on yachts for no reason, but when it happens to women, it’s a whole different vibe. It’s not funny; it’s just the norm. Men are flaunting what they have, and Jennifer Lopez is saying she’s on the same level, and she can play the game, too.
Jennifer Lopez is a sexy, confident music legend. This is her tenth album, and she’s not going anywhere but up. In this music video, she achieves an incredible balance of being herself, and taking a stand against something she doesn’t enjoy about her industry.
Lily Allen also made a pretty controversial music video recently. “Hard Out Here” is a song and video that addresses many gender issues, and it raised a lot of eyebrows in the music industry. Many of the eyebrow raises came from confusion and shock, but it still made waves.
In the Lily Allen video, she is dancing around with other women. Some criticizers have said she objectifies women in her video, and she doesn’t really empower anyone. She’s definitely making a statement, but it’s a little blurry as to what that statement is. Lily’s message of women living in a tough, unforgiving world gets lost in her video. Lily Allen doesn’t achieve quite what Jennifer Lopez did, because she loses some of that balance between objectification, staying true to herself, and making a statement.
The statement Jennifer Lopez makes is playful and fun, which is easier for society to swallow, and will likely leave more of an impact. Lily Allen focuses on a message that might be too radical and drastic for society to understand and really connect with. It’s important, and I don’t disagree with her, but it’s a lot to handle.
In J. Lo’s video, she is not an object – she’s a force. And she has all the power and stability that comes with it. She’s the one who owns the yacht, the mansion, the pool, and all the cars. She’s a powerful, independent woman. She’s confident and beautiful, and she’s ready to take a stand for things she doesn’t agree with. I applaud her, and I would like to see more of that, both in pop culture, and in my own life.
These issues are important to bring to light in whatever way possible, and they shouldn’t be ignored. I’m not saying women objectifying men and other women is the right way to bring up these issues, but it’s a start. We’re on the right track, and these videos are bringing up important conversations and ideas.
It’s critical for pop culture icons to play a role in these conversations, because it can bring it into the minds of people who wouldn’t normally be interested in these topics. It’s a different way to look at things, and people need that push sometimes. I applaud these artists for taking a step away from the ordinary, and I want to see more stepping out of the comfort zone.