I really wanted to love Lily Allen’s new song and video, “Hard Out Here.”
The British artist, who took time off to start a family, has recently burst back into the music scene with a punchy, sarcastic pop song that slams the widespread objectification and harsh criticism of women’s bodies in so much of modern media. Far sharper than Beyonce’s generic brand of girls rule!, “Hard Out Here” addresses specific feminist issues with acuity and wit.
She discusses the double standard surrounding women’s sexuality (“If I told you about my sex life, you’d call me a slut/when boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss”), the unrealistic beauty standard for women (“You should probably lose some weight/’cause we can’t see your bones/you should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own”), and even makes a jab or two at Robin Thicke’s rape-y hit song with the sarcastic lyrics like, “Have you thought about your butt? Who’s gonna tear it in two?”
It’s about time for an empowering, feminist response to “Blurred Lines” in the mainstream music industry. As much as I wish Allen’s song was the answer we’ve been waiting for, it’s truly not.
The video begins with Allen lying on a surgical table, about to undergo liposuction at her manager’s insistence. She tells us that she “don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cause I’ve got a brain”. Oof. Slut-shaming in the first verse is never a good sign. It gets worse.
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