Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s outrageous performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards caused such a stir that it crashed Twitter for the night, and people are still talking about it months later.
In fact, British pop-star Lily Allen just released a response to the debacle with her song, “Hard Out Here.” She makes a direct dig at Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” song with her chorus lyrics, “Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you? Have you thought about your butt? Who’s gonna tear it in two?”
Allen’s song lyrics are mocking and her music video is filled with overdramatized “twerking” and satirical sexuality. At first, I was taken aback by the video. But I realized this kind of over sexed behavior is what the majority of music videos have come to. I applaud Allen for coming out and addressing the stereotypes placed on women.
Women tend to look at each other for inspiration because we assume that we all go through the same struggles. But the women who are chosen to represent women in our media are not really like myself or any of the women I know.
Allen does an exceptional job of addressing the pressure women face to look thin. Women in the music industry are usually thin with small waists because that is what is perceived as sexy. Even the “thick” girls have a small waist with huge busts and butts. I find this absurd because those body images are unrealistic, and mostly only possible with plastic surgery.
But girls still look up to these music artists and try to over exercise or do extreme dieting in an attempt to achieve a result that is not naturally possible.
“You’re not a size six, and you’re not good looking. Well, you better be rich, or be real good at cooking. You should probably lose some weight ‘cause we can’t see your bones,” Allen sings while provocatively scrubbing a hubcap in her video.
Allen’s message seems to be a hit. “Hard Out Here” debuted at number nine on the official U.K. chart this week. And the Washington Post gave Allen props for “righteously targeting the patriarchal double standards of the 21st-century celebrity culture.”
What I personally found most upsetting was that Cyrus received most of the attention and criticism for the ridiculous VMA performance. Yet, Thicke, a 36-year-old married man with kids, was “twerked on” by a 20-year-old in front of millions and was barely criticized. In fact, his summer hit single “Blurred Lines,” in which he basically sings about male dominance over women, was Billboard’s No. 1 hit for 16 weeks.
Why was Cyrus criticized and Thicke overlooked? I think it was because Cyrus is a woman. And that’s Allen’s point. She wanted to show how managers in the music industry control female artists to look and act in a provocative way that men are exempt from.
“The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture,” Allen wrote in a post she linked on Twitter.
“Hard Out Here” also addresses the over sexualization of women in the music industry.
“Don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cause I’ve got a brain,” Allen sings in her video.
I liked that sentiment because being sexual should not be what catches the attention of people. When I look at the comment section of music videos on YouTube, the responses are more about how the person looks, rather than how they really sound, or how good the lyrics are. It’s as if they aren’t actually listening to the music at all.
When I actually listened to “Blurred Lines,” I could not believe the song became a hit. Yes it’s catchy, but it is morally wrong. I was pleased with Allen’s approach to the issue because the unrealistic standards placed on girls and women in society truly make it hard out here.