And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #225: Brody Dalle v Jennifer Lopez & Iggy Azalea

By | Published on Friday 26 September 2014

Brody Dalle

It’s a good thing that we’re still talking about the problem of sexism and misogyny in music. Definitely. Though it’s a bit depressing that the starting point for these conversations generally remains the same. Music videos, eh? What are they like?

The latest music video to spark off a big old hoo-hah is a remix of ‘Booty’ by Jennifer Lopez, which replaces rap farmer Pitbull with the multi-accented Iggy Azalea. The central premise of the song is that there is a woman in a club who has somehow procured a “big booty”, and that that this is something that an unnamed man would like to obtain. In the original, that man turns out to be Pitbull, who states that he would like to put the booty in his car.

With Pitbull out of the picture, the video for the new version of the track was released last week, featuring the scantily-clad Lopez and Azelea ensuring that the world knows that they are both the owners of buttocks. The video is pretty forensic in its research of this fact.

And, hey, guess what? Some people thought that wasn’t OK. Punk musician Brody Dalle was one such person. Upon seeing the video, she tweeted: “I think J-Lo and Iggy Azalea have lost their heads up each other’s big butts. I’m trying to understand what the point of their horrendous video is but I can’t find one. The song is a piece of crap that was written by waaay too many people, including a well know woman beater [Chris Brown]”.

That is, of course, her opinion. And it’s not one shared by everyone. Some people think it’s just a fun song. Others think that it’s empowering for women. And one fan tweeted Dalle to tell her that she had “inspired lots of girl hate and slut and body shaming” with her tweets on the subject.

Switching to Facebook to respond, Dalle began: “Slut shaming? Body shaming? Girl hating? Please don’t assign incorrect motives to my tweets. It is you who is implying they are ‘sluts’, not me. The definition for slut is ‘a woman who has many casual partners’. Since when did being scantily-clad come to mean having many casual partners?”

She continued: “I don’t like the word slut, I don’t use the word slut, that word is not in my vernacular. If a woman has many casual partners, it is none of my business. I have absolutely no problem with what women do with their bodies in their private lives. Women should feel [as] free as men do to sleep with whomever they want to as long as it’s consensual and with out being labeled a slut. That would be equality (a girl can dream). The trendy term ‘slut shaming’ is inadvertently calling scantily-dressed women ‘sluts’. We should all stop using it”.

She added that her real problem was “the conflicting message [the video is] sending to our impressionable young girls and boys”, saying: “How are the lyrics ‘give him what he asks for’ empowering to women? How? How is spreading your bottom apart and singing ‘give him what he asks for’ empowering at all?”

It’s probably worth noting that the lyric specifically informs women that they should “give him what he asks for” because it is his birthday. Or maybe it’s not worth noting. Let’s move on.

Continuing on the subject of empowerment, Dalle writes: “J-Lo and Iggy may feel empowered by their bodies and that’s fine, their bodies ARE powerful, beautiful and life giving. But they are so much more than just their bodies. They may feel that using their bodies is the only currency they have in order to stay popular and on the top. It has become a contest of who gets the most hits on YouTube and Vevo and who can take it the furthest, not about the quality of their songs and the messages they are sending. And why? To make lots of money and to line the pockets of the big machines, regardless of who that affects”.

Yay capitalism! Dalle added that it was “ludicrous” to suggest that she shouldn’t voice an opinion on something she strongly believes in. And of course that works both ways. So I’m sure everyone will be pleased to learn that the person whose tweets prompted Dalle’s post has now received so much abuse on Twitter for her own opinions that she’s shut down her account. Well done, everyone. You’ve totally cracked how debate works.

But, hey, let’s not focus all our depression on music. This is a world where #Gamergate not only started but continues to exist weeks later; where some newspapers focused on what Emma Watson was wearing – and as it turned out, hoax picture-leak threats against the actress – rather than the content of the inspirational equality speech she gave; and where Fox News anchors think it’s OK to refer to female fighter pilots as “boobs on the ground” – even though that doesn’t make any sense at all.