Pop Culture

5 Feminist Reasons to Love Disney’s Frozen

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WARNING: PLOT SPOILERS (and squeeing) TO FOLLOW.

So exams are over, and you know what that means: winter break, and catching up on all the movies now in theaters that I haven’t been able to see yet. First on the list this holiday (and if you know me at all this won’t surprise you): Disney’s new animated feature, Frozen. Stumbling out of the darkened movie theater into the bright lights of the snow-covered parking lot, I looked at my movie companions (also known as siblings) and said without a trace of irony, “That is probably one of my four favorite movies of all time.” What I didn’t mention was that the other three were probably also made by Disney, but the thought was implied.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This blog likes to complain about things. Especially things that are ultimately good and don’t need to be complained about. The author of this blog also has no sense of humor and likes to see good things die in the name of fun-sucking feminism. Let me tell you one thing: this is not true. I am capable of taking things lightly. I have never cried more in a movie theater than I did during my first viewing of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. 

Seriously. Do you remember the end scene where Spirit leaves his Native American friend and runs with his wild mustang lover? PUDDLE OF EMOTIONS.

Sometimes, self-declared feminists can love mushy, princess-centric things. (I do.) And sometimes, princess-centric musicals can give me genuine reasons to love them. (Disney did.)

Here, for those who haven’t seen Frozen (and why haven’t you??), are the five top reasons why I love it to death, and I’m not ashamed. But be warned: PLOT SPOILERS. I wrote it at the top of the post, and I’m writing it again here. You can’t say that I didn’t give you fair notice. If you keep reading, it’s your own fault.

1. That Final Act of True Love

This might be my own personal bias, because my older sister has been one of the people I’m closest to ever since I was little. (You rock, sis. Just saying.) But when heroine Anna could only be rescued from her curse by an act of true love, I punched my fist in the air in triumph when the person to deliver said act of true love was not A) the original, scumbag love interest, B), the secondary, heart-of-gold real love interest, but C) Anna’s older sister Elsa.

Yes! Because relationships between women are one of the most important things that need to be developed in movies and aren’t. Women don’t constantly have to be in competition with each other [over a man]; they can work together, care about one another, and genuinely want the other to succeed and be happy.

Plus, I for one am kind of tired of the sibling rivalry that tends to show up in children’s movies. The evil stepsisters have been played out. Let’s get some girl power in here, please.

I won’t pretend that this scene was the first time I cried watching the movie. But it was one of them.

2. Consent Can Be Freaking Adorable

This is a small note, but it’s still something that made me really happy (more fist-pumping may or may not have happened here). Yes, there was a love story in Frozen. Yes, the movie did end (or nearly end) with the kiss we all saw coming from ninety minutes away. But do you know how it happened?

Kristoff (handsome woodsman slash love interest) asked Anna’s permission before giving her that kiss. And he did not kiss her until she agreed. And though it was kind of fumbl-y and hesitant, that’s what made it sweet.

Yes, folks, Disney “princes” are now asking for consent before kissing their princesses. And the results? Freaking adorable.

Can we think of a few other instances where a scene of Disney consent might have been nice? Like, I don’t know, Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty? Because in both cases the princesses were unconscious? 

If this is a step in a new direction, I’m digging it.

3. The Lack of Exterior Villains

Yes, all right, Prince Hans shows up later with his villainous swagger and “Oh look at me and my greed, I’m going to take over the kingdom” bad self, but that’s not until probably the final twenty or so minutes of the movie. For the most part, the conflict in Frozen is internal: how will Elsa manage to embrace her true self and her special abilities in a world that doesn’t understand her? How will Anna manage to overcome the interpersonal difficulties between her and her sister and gain the relationship she’s always wanted? Will Elsa manage to control and repress her emotions, or is there a way that female emotionality can be constructive, rather than frightening?

Elsa’s dilemma verses the people of Arundel is a moving (dare I say feminist?) conflict of a powerful woman confronted with a society that does not accept or understand the source of her power. It’s not woman-seeking-man-confronted-by-skinny-man-wearing-purple. It’s a nice change, and way more relatable for kids.

4. The Bechdel Test Has Been Smashed To Pieces

For those who aren’t familiar with the Bechdel Test for movies, here’s the basic gist. A movie passes this test if:

  1. There are two (or more) women  who both have names,
  2. They have a conversation together, and
  3. This conversation is about something other than a man.

This sounds like a pretty basic criteria for a movie, doesn’t it? However, you’d be stunned how many films do not pass this test. For example (*deep breath*): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, the original Star Wars trilogy, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, AladdinThe Lion KingMonsters, Inc., and Up, just to name a few and skew towards the animated. (Note: if you write in correcting me on any movies on this list, I will be happy to amend this section. I’m pretty familiar with the feeling of getting things like this wrong.)

Frozen, though, kicks the test to the curb. Two women, the sisters Elsa and Anna (who, by the way, are ruling a kingdom without a man by their sides), spend most of the movie talking about how to save the kingdom, how to rekindle their relationship, how Elsa’s powers are dangerous and out of control, how they should behave and how much they care about one another. The love story almost seems like an afterthought, which, for Disney, is a pretty refreshing change.

Another similar test that I’d like to see instated, though I don’t know that it does, would replace the third bullet point of the Bechdel test with “Do these two women talk about something that is not based on their appearance?” Adding this caveat, you can see how many more movies drop out… Let’s make a brief list of Disney films in which the main conflict between two female characters is who is the most beautiful, as though physical attractiveness were the only quality they possessed and which was capable of winning them a man:

Tangled. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. The Little Mermaid. Anything involving Tinkerbell. Am I missing some? I’m probably missing some. These are off the top of my head.

But in Frozen, the conflict is not who is the most beautiful or who deserves to fall in love more. It’s about two sisters taking care of one another and wanting what’s best for the other, even if this often means making hard and painful choices. And  isn’t that what life’s about, in the end? Taking care of others and ourselves, and how these two things do and don’t match up?

5. Pretty Much Everything Else.

This movie is adorable. I laughed. I cried. I want to marry Idina Menzel. Well, actually, I’d like to marry Idina Menzel’s voice, barring a few laws of physics. Seriously, though, have you heard “Let It Go” yet? If Disney can give “Defying Gravity” a run for its money, it’s doing something right.

And besides, Kristoff the ice woodsman loves animals, and provides voice-overs for the thoughts of his reindeer. If any dog owner can tell me that they haven’t tried narrating their dog’s actions, then this person is a horrible liar. Just saying. We’ve all done it.

Is it true that there are huge female body image issues in this film? Absolutely. Disney animator Lino DeSalvo’s comments have been (justifiably) getting press time over the body-diversity-negativity surrounding Disney’s treatment of female characters:

Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these ranges of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive too – you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”

No. Clearly, that sucks. That’s ridiculous.

I could also talk about racial diversity in this film, though I’m not sure how much traction that argument will get because it’s theoretically set in an island in Norway. But it definitely bears mentioning.

But let’s be real here. If I wrote off every movie that had problems with it, I would never be able to go to the theater again. I could never love anything. And I love this movie. A lot.

For the first time in forever, I fell in love with a movie.

Go see it. You won’t be sorry.

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The Scariest Thing You Can Be Is Free To Choose

So it’s been a little while since I’ve been able to put together a post. Not for lack of material to write about or problems that need to be torn down, more a lack of time and energy to get out of bed in the morning. College life is catching up with me, and all too often I just want to curl up in bed and watch Netflix for three hours and escape from the papers and exams that need to get done in the (very) near future.

But then I saw this video this afternoon between exams and classes, and I knew that I couldn’t write a better Halloween-themed post than this if I tried. I’ll let it speak for itself, since these four ladies are more than capable of getting their message across. This piece of slam poetry comes from the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals from this year in Washington, D.C. And, more immediately, from Upworthy.

Whether you decide to go out on Halloween night as a sexy kitten or as Susan B. Anthony, just make sure it’s your choice. Because that’s the scariest thing you can be to some people: capable of making your own decisions and owning your own body for what it is.

And those are the people worth scaring.

Happy Halloween, to those of you who celebrate. As for me, I’ll probably spend it in my apartment, eating half-price Snickers bars and watching Hocus Pocus while quietly waiting for the hoopla to be over.

Be well, and hopefully I’ll be back soon with longer posts when people stop expecting me to write them term papers.

Excuses, Excuses – Maria Kang and Body Positivity

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What’s my excuse? Didn’t know I needed one.

Over the last few days, the above image has circulated around the Internet with the fervor usually reserved for cats on robot vacuums or whatever Miley Cyrus is up to now. Featuring a thin and toned mother of three posing in a sports bra and matching panties around her three children, aged 8 months to 3 years, this picture of Maria Kang has apparently succeeded in pitting half the virtual world against the other.

On one side, we have the supporters: “Good for you! This inspires me to lose the baby weight and get in the best shape of my life! Don’t let the haters get you down!”

And then the other side. Mine.

Now, let’s be clear. I support Ms. Kang’s right to take care of herself in whatever way she sees fit. (No pun intended.) If her lifestyle involves regular workout sessions, “clean” eating, and rigorous self-discipline, and that makes her healthy and feel good both physically and mentally, then more power to her. No body positive movement that I support will shame people for any reason, whether they are slim, full-figured, athletic, prefer a marathon of Breaking Bad to a workout, or any combination of the four.

Moreover, I do not and will not support body shaming of this woman. My body positive movement will not stand for the shame and criticism of this woman’s body shape for any reason. And neither should yours. No calling her out for being “a bad mother” or “self-obsessed” or any of those things. Positivity is part of the movement for a reason.

That said, though.

The message conveyed through this picture is not one of supporting a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet and regular exercise. The message here is work hard enough, and you can look like this.

If Ms. Kang provided a picture of her three kids sitting down with her to a balanced meal full of healthy whole grains and vegetables, or the three of them partaking in mommy-and-me aerobics or whatever her workout routine actually is, I would be completely behind this message. You absolutely can take good care of your body regardless of your family size (though for some it might be more difficult because of economic circumstances, work schedules, physical disability, etc). Advocating health for everybody is totally in line with body positivity. Hey, if we want to love our bodies, shouldn’t we take care of them?

Kang’s apology, though, doesn’t address the real problem that I think should be mentioned about this image: it equates health with body size and sexual attractiveness, which is simply not true.

You can be thin and fit, just as you can be fat and fit. The Health at Every Size (HAES) movement has been trying to spread this message, but apparently it has not caught on as well as it should. Looking good in a sports bra (and hey, who’s to say that her way of looking good is the only way?) does not mean that you can run a marathon, or that you are getting an adequate amount of nutrients, or that all your muscles and organs are in tip-top working order. They can do that just as well at a higher weight, or a different body shape.

If Maria Kang is healthy and happy in her current body, more power to her. But I don’t need an “excuse” not to look like she does. Why? Because even though I look different, even though my abs will never do whatever thing hers are doing and my thighs have some more give to them, I am perfectly capable of being healthy in this body. Just as you’re perfectly capable of being healthy in yours.

Now, I’m all for free speech and first amendment rights. I’m not saying that Kang should take the image down, or that she should stop anything she’s doing. I’m just asking that we think critically about the social movements that lead us to believe that health equals thinness and “conventional attractiveness.” (The only way I can express my disdain for this concept is through quotation marks, because I don’t know how to punctuate an eye-roll.) Consider that athletes, and all women for that matter, come in different shapes and sizes, and one shouldn’t be more valued than another.

What’s my excuse for not looking like Maria Kang?

I look like me.

Race, Hyphenationality, and Miss America

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’re aware of the phenomenon-slash-train-wreck that was this year’s Miss America Pageant. And if that is indeed the case, please move over. I’m sharing that rock with you.

I’m a little bit late to the party on this particular topic, and there’s all kinds of articles floating around the Interwebs about it. Check out this one to get started, or this one (and not just because it’s from my University. *GoBlue*). But for all my subterranean readers, or those international folks who are lucky enough to escape this story, here’s the run-down.

On September 15, Miss New York Nina Davuluri (also an alumnus of my university – *GoBlue again*) received the sparkly tiara dubbing her Miss America. This makes her the first Indian-American woman to win the title in the pageant’s over- ninety-year history.

And the internet is a horrible place. Really, that’s all.

Commenters have bombarded the web with vile racism since Davuluri’s crowning, with all kinds of cruel and ignorant remarks – many of them not even apparently understanding where India is. A quick brief, for those who may not know: India is in South Asia, not the Middle East. (Here’s a helpful map.) The main religion in India is Hinduism, not Islam. Oh, and also, even if she were Muslim, that does not make her a terrorist. Terrorism is an extremist ideology, not a religion. And on and on, until I lose my breath from pointing out the obvious.

I’m not breaking any new ground here by pointing out the logical fallacies behind the Internet’s recent spewing of racism around the pageant. Anyone with an ounce of common sense or access to Wikipedia can refute all the claims these remarks made. What I find more troubling here is this continued evidence of how America deals with “ethnic” and multiracial identities.

Let me say this right off the bat: I am a caucasian woman and not, personally, multiracial. My experience with this concept comes indirectly, through friends who identify as multiracial and my own experiences with life, American culture, and the Internet. Anything I say, therefore, speaks to my own interpretation as an outsider, and is in no way meant to take away the voices of the community I am discussing.

But getting to the point: America’s idea of race is reductive and not helpful.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are Nina Davuluri, or any Indian-American woman, trying to fill out a survey like this one.Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.58.11 PM

What do you say? You might imagine that “Asian” is the most geographically accurate descriptor for someone of Indian descent, but is it? In the American consciousness, “Asian,” means Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, almost exclusively.

What about people of Middle Eastern descent? Not much of a category for that either, is there? Maybe to placate the Internet crazies, we should just add a “terrorist” option, so we’re all on the same page. (Note: I am JOKING. See above.)

And what about people who identify as multiracial? If I were a person with an African-American father and a white mother, which box am I supposed to check? Am I supposed to deny one-half of my identity because American discourse doesn’t have the linguistic categories to handle me?

The easy-out answer is that last option, the “other” box. But that’s even more problematic than choosing one side or the other, in my opinion. Calling someone an “other” because of their race is the very definition of alienation and distancing. We even have a psychological concept for this, helpfully called othering. Creating a distance between your identity and the identities of others leads to an “us verses them” mindset that is helpful to no one who wants to be treated fairly, least of all those who claim (on what evidence I’m not sure) that we live in a post-racial society.

So what am I getting at with all of this? And how do surveys like the one above lead to the spectacular crap-show that was the Miss America fallout? I’m getting to that.

See, here’s how I view the situation: limiting race to five categories, one of which is “other”, limits our collective ability to see difference. We group people into broad, generalized categories based on superficial characteristics, which enables shorthand decision-making and depersonalization. Does this person look more or less stereotypically like what we imagine someone in a certain racial group to look like? Yes? That’s their race. And with that goes all the cultural assumptions we have about them based on their race.

In essence, American racial understanding does not take nuance into account. This allows for the steamrolling of multiracial identities, the conflation of distinct ethnic groups into one blurry silhouette, and, perhaps indirectly, the apparently common misperception that Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East are all the same place.

What’s the solution to this blurred consciousness? Many people might not like my answer, but here it is:

We need to talk about race more.

Now, I can already hear the nay-sayers pulling out their foghorns. “Talk about race more? Are you crazy? If you don’t talk about it, it’ll go away. The more you talk about racial differences, the worse you make it! That’s racist in itself!”

Okay. Now let’s all pull back and take a breath.

We do not live in a post-racial society. People’s lived experiences are different based on their race, ethnicity, religion, culture, heritage, what have you. Maybe the most topically obvious example of this is New York’s recent examination of the “Stop and Frisk” policy. But even beyond discrimination, a person’s race and heritage can be, and often is, an inherent part of their identity. Would you tell someone that their experience as an Indian-American does not matter, that they’re just American, that they should leave their cultural practices at home and just be like the rest of us?

Well, as a nation, we actually already tried that. It’s called “cultural assimilation.” And when we tried it with Native Americans, it’s generally assumed to be a bad thing.

Denying race, or claiming that “you don’t see it,” denies the lived experiences of people who do see race – their own – on a daily basis. Here’s a great article that explains better than I can the idea: “If You ‘Don’t See Race’, You’re Not Paying Attention.”

When you bring up race in American society, it makes people anxious. It makes all of us a little uncomfortable talking about something that’s become so taboo.

But if we don’t bring it up, and we continue to let generalizations and racial misunderstandings run wild, we’ll just continue ending up with people who lump others into broad categories, deprive them of all individual characteristics, and then discriminate against them all in expansive sweeps.

I’m not 100% behind the Miss America Pageant as an institution (you can read more about its potentially questionable aspects here). But for the purposes of today’s discussion, I throw my support behind Nina Davuluri and the conversations I hope her election will spark.

Oh, and side note? Once a Wolverine, forever a Wolverine. Go Blue, Nina.

VMAs: If You Scandalize It, They Will Come

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Ah, the VMAs. If the media wanted to make an awards show that made me feel old, cranky, and fun-hating, they couldn’t have done better. Even the Teen Choice Awards feel sophisticated in comparison with last night’s crap-tastic spectacular (don’t believe me? Watch Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech at this year’s TCAs, and then compare it with whatever the heck aired last night. Hmm.)

And yet, is this really anything different than what we expected? Let’s consider last night’s most enduring, cringe-inducing four minutes: Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Briefly. Because the point I’d like to make today is why we should only consider it to convince others to stop considering it.

It’s no secret how I feel about Robin Thicke. I’m convinced, and I’m not alone, that he is capitalizing on shock tactics and female objectification to generate buzz about a sub-par song and a perfectly average singing voice. Would anyone have listened to “Blurred Lines” if it wasn’t accompanied by the most scandalous video of the summer? Probably not. It’s catchy, but it’s not a work of musical genius. Yet here I am, blogging about it.

Now let’s pull back and think about the VMAs in a larger context. Does anyone here remember what VMA actually stands for? If you guessed Video Music Awards, you get five brownie points. The awards given out last night were for the most interesting, most award-worthy music videos.

What was the last music video you watched?

If you can’t remember, you’re probably not alone. If you want to catch videos on cable TV, unless you subscribe to some fancy channels you’re pretty much reduced to VH1 between the hours of 6 and 10 am. And considering the age demographic of people who used to watch music videos, I’m guessing very few of them are popping out of bed bright and early on a Wednesday morning to watch the latest Kanye vid.

What to do, then, to get people to flock to MTV in droves on August 25th to watch awards given out for videos they haven’t seen? Again, hmm. The dilemma leaves me scratching my head in confusion.

Except it doesn’t.

Shock tactics have been in use at least since the Romans began performing live executions in their theater performances. Want to get people to watch your show? Give them the promise of something they couldn’t see anywhere else. Give them something gratuitous to talk about. Make it not about the actual awards, but the glitz, the glamour, the meme-worthy-ness of the spectacle as a whole.

If you scandalize it, they will come.

And scandalize it they did. I’m not going to recap Miley and Robin’s performance for a few reasons: one because I was half-watching, half-playing Bejeweled Blitz at the time, two because giving it any more write-up is playing into the problem, three because if you really didn’t see it, the folks at Jezebel have already taken care of that. But what could be more buzz-worthy than the creepy-sexually-inappropriate Robin Thicke taking total and inappropriate advantage of a coked-out ex-Disney-Star while being surrounded by teddy bears?

I expect we’ll find out next year, since Miley’s already out-Kaneyed Kanye in our last edition of “VMAs did WHAT?”

I definitely feel sorry for Miley, mostly because she’s been forced to play into the virgin-whore dichotomy so clearly. You can either be a Disney star or an extra in a Robin Thicke video, and there’s no space in between for women, especially not in the entertainment industry. But all those who say she’s too young to know better and she’s being taken advantage of need to consider how old she actually is. She’s only six months younger than me, which is slightly unnerving. It’s a social game she’s playing into, and while she’s not completely to blame for the latest move in it, she’s not completely innocent either.

So what do I think should be done about all of this?

Imagine this: next year, the VMAs put on all the glitz and glamour to shock us out of our senses. We have naked tightrope walkers snorting lines of crushed glass off of hundred-dollar bills while riding a bear on a unicycle. Eminem and Kanye get into a fistfight, and Lady Gaga starts swallowing swords shaped like dildos.

The next morning, the media is silent. Facebook talks about the weather. Twitter tweets placidly about nothing in particular. The New York Times reports the latest economic crisis.

And the year after, or maybe the year after that, or maybe decades down the road after repeat after repeat of the above scenario, the VMAs are a quiet, subdued affair that actually show music videos.

But NSYNC reunions can stay. I was born in the nineties, after all.

I’ve Got 99 Problems And Today, Robin Thicke Is All Of Them

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Oh, Robin Thicke. I know the odds of you reading this are one in a million, but wherever you are, know that I’m shaking my head at you and sighing. Repeatedly.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve seen the controversy swirling around Thicke’s new music video for the song “Blurred Lines.” How it’s the most misogynistic video to emerge out of the swamp that is VH1 since the dawn of time immemorial, how “kind of rapey” it is, and my personal favorite headline on the subject, “Robin Thicke’s New Video Is Horrible, Misogynist Bullshit.”

But thanks to my awkward leave of absence from the world of American music videos, I didn’t actually get to view the video in its entirety until this morning.

And today, I’ve got 99 problems, and Robin Thicke is all of them.

Let’s not talk about how irritatingly catchy the song is, because that’s not the point. The point here is, we have four and a half minutes of three fully clothed men following at least half a dozen women dressed in white plastic and flesh-colored thongs around, whispering in their ear, rubbing their faces against their feet, and murmuring repeatedly, “you know you want it.” There may or may not be a repeated segment with one of the women twirling around a rope of sausages like an Indiana Jones whip.

The scary part? This is in the VH1 version. There’s an unrated version.

What? Is this real life?

Now, anyone who has ever even toyed with the idea of being a feminist (and for the record, anyone who can pass this simple test pretty much is a feminist, whatever you call yourself) can see what the problem with this video is. I don’t know if I need to say it, but I will, for the sake of being thorough.

Showing three-quarters-naked women in plastic wrap riding bicycles backwards and basically humping a giant stuffed dog is not art. This is soft-core porn. Not even that soft, really. It’s another excuse to take women’s clothes off and look at them like sex toys, and anyone who thinks that this is breaking any new ground in music videos is not paying attention. But it’s a shock when an artist is just so blatant about it.

The source of the other 98 problems I’m having with Robin Thicke at the moment stem from his response to accusations of misogyny, sexism, and implied rape in his video. (For the record: if you have to say “you know you want it” eighteen times in the same song, she doesn’t want it. And if you take it, that’s rape.) Let’s look at the slap in the face that Thicke seems to think is an appropriate response to these claims:

“The idea was when we made this song, we had nothing but the most respect for women… We had no idea that it would stir this much controversy. We only had the best intentions.”

“I think that’s what great art does — it’s supposed to stir conversation, it’s supposed to make us talk about what’s important and what the relationships between men and women are. If you listen to the lyrics, it says, ‘That man is not your maker.’ It’s actually a feminist movement within itself. It’s saying that women and men are equals as animals and as power. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good girl or a bad girl, you can still have a good time.”

Let’s repeat that last bit in bold italics for the sake of clarity.

“It’s actually a feminist movement within itself. It’s saying that women and men are equals as animals and as power.”

Sorry, but no. It’s actually not saying that.

What it’s saying is that women’s power comes from the ability to stimulate desire in men, and men’s power comes from being able to seize that desire. Especially if that desire comes coated in plastic and rides a bicycle in place for no particular reason.

The video’s director, Diane Martel (oh my God this video was directed by a woman), has this to say defending her “work of art” against those overly sensitive people who think this is degrading to women:

“I wanted to deal with the misogynist, funny lyrics in a way where the girls were going to overpower the men… It also forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators. I directed the girls to look into the camera, this is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position. I don’t think the video is sexist. The lyrics are ridiculous, the guys are silly as fuck. That said, I respect women who are watching out for negative images in pop culture and who find the nudity offensive, but I find [the video] meta and playful.”

You know what would put women in power? Possibly not treating them like sex objects or having them play with strands of sausages while sticking their tongues out.

The biggest problem here is this. Okay, let’s take Thicke and Martel at their words that this is supposed to be some kind of feminist statement. Hang with me here. If this is supposed to be ironic and playful and tongue-in-cheek, I literally cannot think of a worse way to go about it. Here’s what I imagine the thought process would be like in such a meeting:

“You know how women are constantly being objectified and over-sexualized in the media?”
“Yeah, you know what, I’ve noticed that.”
“You know what would be a good way to draw attention to that and flip the power dynamics set up by patriarchy?”
“…Let the women dominate the men? Or maybe do a video that’s not about someone trying to force sex out of someone else, because that not only reinforces the fact that women are only good for giving men pleasure but also helps contribute to rape culture?”
“No, silly! Make the women even more objectified and over-sexualized! People will totally tell that we’re being ironic and socially aware when we give them exactly what they’ve been told they want to the nth degree, right?”
“You’re a genius! Clearly this is why you work in Hollywood!”

I exaggerate, but only slightly.

If treating women like walking, not-talking sexual objects ripe for the taking by any man who can whisper suggestive comments in their ear for five minutes straight is a feminist movement, then I think I need to get myself a new mission in life. Fortunately, I don’t think feminism will take this bait and welcome Robin Thicke with open arms.

No matter how many times he tells us that “we know we want to.”