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Lily Allen’s ‘Hard Out Here’ – Feminist Triumph or Complying with Patriarchy?

So it’s Wednesday morning and I’m trying very hard to seem as though I’m working even though I'm procrastinating. Scrolling through the Guardian homepage I come across an article denouncing the allegation that Lily Allen’s latest music video is "a let-down to feminism." Slightly confused, as I thought Lily had retired, I read on. I do agree with O'Hagan's argument that Lily should not be held up as the sole female artist who speaks up for feminism. In fact she isn't, Lady Gaga has often been suggested as a feminist role model as well as Madonna, and of course Blondie. However, Lily's song explicitly talks about social inequality and feminism. So you don't have to be Einstein to presume the video would mirror the lyrics. Curiosity pricked, I click on the link completely forgetting about the task I was supposed to be doing.

 My left wing feminist prayers have been answered! Hallelujah! Yes, all I can hear is messages of gender equality, freedom and breaking the glass ceiling. (BTW if you were in the Samuel Alexander learning cluster at this time the girl with her eyes closed was me. Sorry.)  And then I opened my eyes and actually looked at the moving images in front of me.

 As I watched I could see why the video is such let-down to the feminist cause. Yes, it’s comic as it ridicules music executives and makes fun of the industry’s values. It poignantly questions society’s  beauty ideal as Lily jumps off of the surgery table and struts off loving her curves as she goes. All this is great, but the backup dancers pull some rather raunchy moves, twerking and such, whilst in tiny clothing. It’s still sexualizing women and subordinating us but this time it’s on the line of race. So much for solidarity.

The video, in my opinion, completely misses the point about the problem of social gender inequality. It’s a constant and universal issue we are all facing regardless of class, age or race.

But what do you think?Is a thumbs up to feminism and women? A musical screw you patriarchy? Is Lily sticking it to the Man?Or has the video completely missed the point of the lyrics and feminism? Permanently fixing our image as passive sex objects?

Vote in our poll!

Disclaimer:Front image: rights go to http://zumic.zumicentertainme.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/lily-allen-hard-out-here-bitch-video.jpg

Video: Found at youtube.com: All rights go to Lily Allen, Parlophone, Regal recordings, Christopher Sweene, Amalia Rosen-Rawlings and Good Egg.

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